‘The rooms speak for themselves’: Anna’s Postcard from Coleridge Cottage, Nether Stowey, Somerset

Anna visits Coleridge's cottage September 2013

Anna visits Coleridge’s cottage September 2013

Why I went…

I travelled to Somerset to visit the place where many of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s most famous poems were written and to work as a volunteer Room Guide at his very cottage in Nether Stowey (now owned by The National Trust). This was his home for the Lyrical Ballads years, and Wordsworth also lived close by.

What I got out of the experience…

The cottage is beautiful. Perhaps most inspiring is the set-up of the fireside, complete with real wood fire, the spot in which Coleridge probably composed ‘Frost at Midnight’. There is a chair with a baby’s basket placed at the side. One can imagine the child Hartley Coleridge slumbering beside his father in this very room as STC composed some of his most famous verses. A lack of a large collection of manuscripts or relics makes this particular literary house very unassuming and modest, and therefore the rooms speak for themselves. The cottage has been expanded since Coleridge’s time, but the original spaces remain. There is a lime-tree bower in the garden, and my favourite feature of the curating was the listening points, where recordings of the poems are played. The Quantock Hills around Nether Stowey are idyllic, and I hope to return to walk ‘The Coleridge Way’.
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