On 21st October 2022 a statue to the Romantic poet and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge will be unveiled in Ottery St Mary, a town of around five thousand souls ten miles east of Exeter the county town. This is to mark the 250th anniversary of his birth. You can’t help feeling that, as he died in 1834, it has taken a little while to sort it out. Still to their credit most of the money to create it has been raised by personal donations and crowd funding with the addition of a grant from the local council.
The statue, by the sculptor Nicholas Dimbleby, has been commissioned by the Coleridge Memorial Trust and will be placed at St Mary’s Church, where once his father was the vicar. The life size monument will show Coleridge walking and carrying a stick and a notebook. It is hoped that the guest speaker on the day of unveiling will be the author of “Mariner – A voyage with Samuel Taylor Coleridge” which was written by Reverend Dr Malcolm Guite and published in 2017.
Staying in Ottery, The Chanter’s House is up for sale. According to the estate agent’s blurb it is one of the largest houses anywhere for sale in the country so that must be true. It is 22,211 square feet and will set you back a cool £5.95 million if you are interested in buying it. It still contains the impressive Great Library of 70 feet in length established by one of Coleridge’s brothers. It has 22,000 books, enough to keep Coleridge himself going for at least a week. If that is not enough history for you the dining room is reputed to be where Oliver Cromwell hosted a meeting and declared the start of the English Civil War during the seventeenth century. Oh, and there’s an indoor swimming pool which neither Coleridge or Cromwell would have seen. The whole lot is Grade Two listed and there are 10 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms for the lucky new owner to keep clean. I was tempted I have to say but sadly I have not won the Euro Lottery just yet.