A ‘Good Samaritan’ for Barnard Castle
For his work in 1849 Dugard was confirmed as an Honorary Canon of Durham Cathedral. He oversaw the creation of a new ‘detached graveyard’ with cemetery chapel on Victoria Road and the building of a new vicarage in 1852. When the builders went bankrupt, Dugard funded the project himself: the doorway of the ‘Old Vicarage’ on Newgate bears his family motto, a play on the French origins of his surname – “Ce que Dieu garde est bien garde” – “That which God keeps is well kept”.
Dugard’s work increasingly took a toll on his health and he retired in late 1861 to Colwall, on the west Malvern Hills. He died in 1865, aged 67. Although Dugard often felt himself a failure and often met resistance to his ideas, his dedicated vocation and ministry was of great benefit to Barnard Castle.
In 1866 Mr J. J. Bailey, a schoolmaster who had followed George Dugard to Barnard Castle from his previous parish in Manchester, arranged for a memorial cross in the Churchyard to those who died of cholera; and in 1870 parishioners funded a new window in St Mary’s, dedicated to Dugard, illustrating his concern for children’s education and his devotion – a ‘Good Samaritan’, kind and courteous to all – in serving the town during the cholera epidemic.
“Witness the plague of’49, when death
Stalk’d forth in Autumn gray to reap his shocks.
Unripe or ripe, it mattered not to him;
Then from their homes, thro’ fear fled rich and poor;
Yea those who should have stayed to nurse the sick,
Were scared or gave no help to fellow men;
But he, the pastor of the suffering flock
Feared not the grim, the all-devouring, for
At evening, morn, noon he sallied forth
Assisted by a little faithful band;
To feed, to warm, to clothe, or succor give,
To widows, babes, yea all who needed help
Unharm’d the Pastor, Curate, went
Through lanes and alleys where the plague was worst,
Giving, receiving blessings everywhere.
‘Dieu garde – God guards’, yea all were guarded well…”
(Written by JJ Bailey, pupil-teacher for the Jubilee of Barnard Castle National Schools in Sept 1864)