COLERIDGE POETRY WALK – Sunday 13 MAY 2018
Meet at the Land of Canaan Car Park at 2.30 pm
I pass, like night, from land to land;
I have strange power of speech…
The statue of Samuel Taylor Coleridge commissioned by the Coleridge Memorial Trust for the poet’s 250th-year celebration will show him as a walker. He thought nothing of a 20-mile walk and was probably the first writer to describe fell-walking. And he liked to compose while walking.
Modern walkers and Coleridge fans will be able on Sunday 13 May to wander on in gladness on a 2-mile walk in the poet’s footsteps. All are welcome – we meet at the Land of Canaan car park (free) at 2.30 pm (walking boots – brollies if wet), then walk to key sites associated with his poetry and its development. At each stop there will be a brief introduction and a reading from one of Coleridge’s poems, including those set in Ottery.
Local writer and academic, Robert Crick, will be Coleridge for the afternoon – he was described by Lord Coleridge at an evening performance in St Mary’s Church a few years ago as “the best Coleridge I have heard”. And walkers will be accompanied by some of Ottery’s very own pixies from Ottery Primary School who will also perform lines from “Songs of the Pixies” at Pixies’ Parlour.
The walk and readings will end at the site proposed for the Memorial Statue in St Mary’s Churchyard, which was the poet’s magic playground as a child.
The event is free and all are welcome but donations towards the commemorative sculpture will be gratefully received. Please see the Coleridge Memorial Trust’s website ‘Fundraising’ for more information and for other payment options for donations.
The celebration of STC’s birthday and Coleridge Memorial Statue fundraising launch at St Mary’s Church, Ottery St Mary, was a wonderful success. With the great support of helpers, superb speakers and an appreciative audience, it could not, in this writer’s opinion, have gone any better.
Warmly compered by Javeria Coleridge and anchored throughout by Chair of the Coleridge Memorial Trust, John Pilsworth, the evening’s programme was filled with thoughtfulness for, deep knowledge about and an affinity with the life and work of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Having sustained an injury earlier that day, our quest speaker Dr Sandra Tuppen from The British Library was unable to attend.
Replacing her opening talk, and at short notice [from the afternoon event of the day!], Ian Enters, Trustee of the Friends of Coleridge, gave an eloquent, informed and wholly engaging talk ‘Working on Coleridge in Calne’. Speaking to a theme of ‘beginnings and ends’, Ian was immediately empathetic to this Ottery St Mary celebration of the town’s famous son, and he gave an insightful appreciation of STC’s ‘The Lime-tree Bower my Prison’ among other absorbing observations.
Nicholas Dimbleby, memorial statue sculptor, spoke entertainingly and instructively about the process of preparing for and beginning to work on a memorial statue. His appreciation of the placing of the statue at St Mary’s Church as well as a personal engagement with STC’s poetry conveyed a deep affinity for the poet honoured to complement his professional crafting of the artefact.
Oscar Pearson, BBC Channel Islands and former student at King’s School where STC also attended in his youth, delivered an illustrated talk on the early life of Samuel in Ottery and the work of the Coleridge Memorial Trust, this latter an appreciative and supportive account of its aims and aspirations, from the existing Poetry Stones to its plans for the memorial statue. Oscar also finished the evening with a wonderful reading of ‘Kubla Khan’, a celebration of the very best poetry in the beautiful and historically significant setting of St Mary’s Church.
John Pilsworth, Chair of CMT, outlined the Trust’s fundraising plans, highlighting the huge success of the Poetry Stones, both in the financial achievement of completing that project and its celebrating significance, as well as an honest, and surely accurate reference to the failure of previous generations to provide a more general memorial presence honouring in the town this birthplace of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In his adamant assertion that this generation would deliver, the evening had its definitive positive and purposeful start to the fundraising campaign.
No doubt, glorious pictures will follow from Phyllis, Ottery’s most prominent and active photography archivist and celebrator of all that matters in this wonderful town.
[Photos can be found on the CMT Facebook page and its Twitter page]
Coleridge Weekend Programme, October 20th – 22nd, 2017
Friday 20th October – Afternoon, 3.00pm – at St Mary’s Church
An edited reading of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Mr Laurie Palmer in period costume.
Poetry readings by The King’s School students.
Friday 20th October – Evening, 7.00pm – at St Mary’s Church
Coleridge Memorial Trust Chairman Mr John Pilsworth: Welcome
Presentation by Dr Sandra Tuppen, Lead Curator, Modern Archives and Manuscripts 1601-1850 from The British Library entitled Samuel Taylor Coleridge manuscripts at the British Library
Talk by CMT sculptor Mr Nicholas Dimbleby on the Samuel Taylor Coleridge sculptural memorial.
~ Interval with refreshments: soft drinks, wine ~
Presentation by Mr Oscar Pearson [BBC Channel Islands] on the Coleridge Memorial Trust’s achievements and aims with colour photos.
Chairman’s outline of the CMT fundraising plans.
Reading of Kubla Khan and other Coleridge poems.
~ Exhibition all weekend in the Dorset Aisle – STC banners, maquette etc. ~
Saturday 21st October
9.30 – 10.30am
Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Birthday Celebration peel of bells by the Bellringers of St Mary’s Church, Ottery, in honour of the town’s most famous son. Sponsored by Otter Vale Probus Club.
12.30 for 1.00pm
Coleridge Anniversary Lunch at the Tumbling Weir Hotel, organised by Mr Robert Neal – Ottery St Mary Heritage Society.
Guest speaker: Mr Justin Sheppard, Chair of the Coleridge Society (The Friends of Coleridge) – talk titled Coleridge and Kubla Khan
Short guided walk [at own risk] and talk – led by Mr Sam Coleridge to Pixies Parlour. Meet on the bridge between the Land of Canaan car park and The Tumbling Weir Hotel on the Mill Stream. £10 contribution a head for fundraising; children under 12 years old free. Dogs welcome if on lead.
Sunday Morning, 22nd October
10.00 am – 4.00pm approx.
Coleridge Link – strenuous 9 mile walk [at own risk] led by Mr Sam Coleridge. Meet on the bridge over the Mill Stream between the Land of Canaan car park and The Tumbling Weir Hotel. £10 contribution a head for fundraising. Dogs welcome if on lead. Bring water, suitable walking shoes and clothes.
A photo by Phyllis Baxter taken recently in St Mary’s churchyard of (from left to right) , Chris Wakefield (CMT Hon. Secretary), Richard Coleridge (GGGG grandson of Samuel Taylor Coleridge), Lord Bill Coleridge, Lady Pam Coleridge, John Pilsworth (CMT Chair)