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)