Cottage Inn 1890

Cottage Inn 1890

Interior

Interior

 

The cottage was constructed in the 17th century as two attached buildings. One contained a parlour, kitchen and service room on the ground floor and three corresponding bed chambers above, and an adjoining byre or barn. The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge rented the cottage for three years from 1797. As well as writing poetry he was a literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. It was while he was living in Nether Stowey that Coleridge wrote This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, part of Christabel, and Frost at Midnight. While writing Kubla Khan; or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment, Coleridge was said to have been interrupted by the arrival of a "Person from Porlock". It is unclear whether this really happened or was part of a dream but has become a literary allusion for unwanted intruders who disrupt inspired creativity. During Coleridge's time at the house William Wordsworth visited him and subsequently rented Alfoxton Park, a little over 3 miles (4.8 km) away. There are references to the cottage in several of Coleridge's poems, including To The Rev G Coleridge (lines 52–61), This Lime Tree Bower My Prison; Frost at Midnight; and Fears in Solitude (lines 221–226)

 

The cottage was refurbished in 1800 and run as an inn. Further major work took place in the second half of the 19th century when rooms were added at the back of the building and the roof was raised. In 1893 a committee of Coleridge's admirers took a lease on the property for 15 years at £15 per annum, however by 1896 an appeal had been launched to try to raise more money for the lease or eventual purchase, with the threat that it could be removed to America. They installed the commemorative plaque on the wall which was unveiled on 9 June 1893. By 1908 the campaign, chaired by the Earl of Lytton, had gained public support including that of archbichops of Canterbury and York, and raised the funds needed to purchase the property. Having served for many years as 'Moore's Coleridge Cottage Inn', the building was acquired for the nation in 1908, and the following year it was handed over to the National Trust.

 

The oldest parts of the cottage are now presented as the Coleridge family might have known them, with the original inglenook fireplace in the parlour uncovered and working once more.] The garden was opened to visitors for the first time, complete with an 18th century vegetable plot, a wildflower area and representations of Coleridge's animals. It is possible to listen to poetry at audio posts around the garden and the well is operational once more and can be seen in the small courtyard behind the cottage. A number of mementos of Coleridge are on display including his inkstand, locks of his hair and correspondence in his handwriting. Assistance dogs are welcome throughout the site. Dogs are allowed in the garden, which can be accessed to the side without going through the cottage. A water bowl is available in the garden and can be topped up on request. There is no step free access to the property and corridors are narrow. They regret that this site is therefore not suitable for wheelchair users (although they can access the garden). There is an induction loop in the Reading room.

 

Location : 35 Lime Street, Nether Stowey, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA5 1NQ

Transport: Bridgewater(National Rail) then bus (14, 15). Bus Routes : 14, 15, 16 and 24 stop close by.

Opening Times : Thursday to Monday 11:00 - 17:00

Tickets : Adults £5.80;  Children £2.90

Tel: 01278 732662