The colour of the soil became more pronounced as we went forward, till the road itself became a veritable way of roses.  Who can describe the beauty of the hedgerows, fragrant with privet and honeysuckle, and filled with angelica, meadowsweet, and rue, wild roses, red sorrel, and gay with pink campion?  After four miles of this beauty we turned sharply to the right, and soon found ourselves entering the village of Nether Stowey, went by the little church with its quaint angular turret, the great retaining wall of the court-house and its parapet of yew, with quaint Queen Anne pleasure house high uplifted at the angle.  This court-house in old days was the seat of Alfred the Spaniard, and the families of de Chandos and Audley, and its high wall, it is believed, was built for protection against the Parliamentarians.  Tradition has it that in time of civil war many of the local gentry sent their valuables to be guarded by this great wall.  We went by some fine Scotch firs into the village—a village of the dead so far as human life was concerned, for nothing was stirring in the street.  We passed the clock tower, which now takes the place of the old market cross, and pulled up at the unpretentious little house, that a few years ago ceased to be a public house of call, under the title of “The Coleridge Cottage Inn,” and which has become a national monument to the genius of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. (pp. 91-92)

This cottage was first obtained on lease for a term of fifteen years, with option of purchase for £600 at the end of the lease, through the energy of a local committee of which Mr. Greswell, the Rector of Doddington, Mr. Ernest Coleridge, Mr. Dykes Campbell, and Mr. St. Barbe Goldsmith were lessees.  In 1906, Professor Knight visited Nether Stowey, and determined that what had been done for Wordsworth at Grasmere, should be done for Samuel Taylor Coleridge at Nether Stowey. (p. 92)

He re-organized the scheme and formed a committee, consisting of the Earl of Crewe, the Right Hon. Sir James Bryce, the Right Hon. Sir Edward Fry, Canon Beeching, Canon Rawnsley, Mr. G. W. Prothero, Mr. J. H. Etherington Smith, the Rev. W. Greswell, and Mr. Ernest Hartley Coleridge, and with the help of Mr. Frederick Harrison, and with a contribution of £200, given to the fund by Mr. Carnegie, and of £50 granted by the National Trust, he was enabled to purchase the property in 1908, and to transfer it to the National Trust in the following year. (pp. 92-93)

It has been restored with admirable care.  The outside, covered with cream-coloured rough-cast, is already becoming draped with creepers.  A well-designed tablet of sandstone as an inset in the wall, which was placed there as early as 1893, and became incentive to the leasing of the cottage, bears within a sculptured laurel wreath the words:


We entered the house, and were welcomed by the present tenants, who showed us on the right hand a room which was the living-room of those days, and is now a picture gallery of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his friends.  The bookcase is filled with the biographies of the poet.  The table, chairs and couch were those of his time.  We could not help feeling how entirely analogous to the Town End cottage at Grasmere was this lowly dwelling, where plain living and high thinking went so well together, and where, as Richard Reynell tells us, Coleridge’s life was “happy without superfluities.”  In this little six-roomed house, four at the front and two at the back—for the other rooms are a later addition—Coleridge not only dwelt, but entertained his friends.  How often in this simple parlour had William and Dorothy Wordsworth held high discourse with the philosopher?  What pleasant converse had Charles Lloyd and Thomas Poole and Charles Lamb with him in those halcyon days of Coleridge’s early married life, when, as he himself writes, he found “Nature looking at him with a thousand looks of beauty, and speaking to him in a thousand melodies of love.” (pp. 93-94)

We lingered some time in the little room, which contains so many portraits of the poet, and wondered why it was there was no picture of his wife or either of his two sons, Hartley and Derwent.  Then passing upstairs we saw the little rough oaken-floored attic bedroom of the poet, that took our thoughts back again to the humble bedchamber of Wordsworth at the Town End cottage.  Thence into the tiny room opposite, that heard Sarah Coleridge’s earliest cry, and descending, entered the drawing room of the tenant of to-day, in which, as Coleridge has left on record, he waited so anxiously to hear of the birth of that darling child of his heart, who grew up to be such an accomplished and beautiful woman. (pp. 94-95)

(A Nation’s Heritage, pp. 90-99)