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Phyllis Baxter

The CMT is saddened to hear of the passing of Phyllis Baxter and our thoughts go out to her family.

Phyllis was the greatest supporter and advertiser of all that mattered to and in Ottery St Mary, be it the town’s history to its ongoing traditions to current events and to anything and everything associated with it. She was a prolific and energetic chronicler of all of this and could be seen at most events and occasions – indoors and outside – taking photographs and posting these as celebration on her own Facebook page as well as that of the Ottery Tourist Information Centre which she managed so diligently and lovingly.

As a hugely valued and keen member of the Coleridge Memorial Trust, Phyllis will be greatly missed. Her many, many photographs of CMT events can be found throughout postings on this site.

Announcing Changes

Thoughts on the sad passing of Lady Pamela Coleridge will rightly linger for some time to come, but this will also be balanced by those celebratory memories of her warmth as a person and energetic, insightful contributions to the work of the Coleridge Memorial Trust.

And it is in this latter positive spirit we announce changes to the CMT leadership and our continued plans for the future, not least the Sculpture Memorial Project.

John Pilsworth, Chair, and Chris Wakefield, Honorary Secretary, have stepped down from their roles although they will remain to support and advise the work of the CMT as continuing members.

From its founding in 2009, Chris was then the Chair and John the Honorary Secretary, both overseeing all work of the CMT, but especially the Kubla Khan Poetry Stones at The Land of Canaan, completed in 2012. At this point, these stalwarts of the Project and then Trust swapped roles and continued their tireless leadership, Chris producing, among other preparations, the Faculty Report application to site the Samuel Taylor Coleridge memorial sculpture at St Mary’s Church in Ottery, now secured, and John leading in addition to all of our work the fundraising for the Sculpture Project including securing Nicholas Dimbleby as sculptor and organising the launch in October, 2017 at St Mary’s Church, Ottery St Mary.

It is with grateful and heartfelt thanks we recognise them for this passionate and informed contribution to celebrating the life and work of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, especially in the place of his birth.  It is a legacy of voluntary commitment and extremely hard graft for which both can be proud and which the town can also regard with great pride [not that we are letting them go completely!].

We are delighted to now announce the replacements in these roles – Javeria Coleridge becoming the Chair and Richard Coleridge the Honorary Secretary. Both are already leading, active members of the Coleridge Memorial Trust and now take on the imminent and significant task of raising the £100,000 needed to secure the completion of the Sculpture Memorial Project. And they have hit the ground running, securing a donation of £10,000 to the fund! The contributor receives one of the specially commissioned maquettes of Samuel Taylor Coleridge for this most generous donation, as would others from the limited editions remaining. We offer again our grateful thanks to this new development in the work of the CMT.

With the deep condolences of the Coleridge Memorial Trust:

Lady Pamela Coleridge died peacefully on 12th August, 2018. Much-loved wife of Bill and mother of Vanessa and Kate, Tania, James and Sophie.

Her funeral is to be at St Mary’s Church, Ottery St Mary, 2pm on Wednesday, 29th August, 2018

The Sculpture Project

The Friends of Coleridge annual conference was held at Jesus College on 7th August where members of the Coleridge Memorial Trust gave a presentation on the Coleridge Sculpture Project.

Left to right in photo:
Justin Shepherd (Chairman FOC), Richard Coleridge, Sam Coleridge and Javeria Coleridge (CMT)

[for full information on The Sculpture Project, click on the link in the main menu bar]








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.

REVISED DATE AND TIME Coleridge Memorial Trust AGM

Thursday, June 5TH at 6.30 pm at ‘The Loft’ by the Vicarage, OSM

The Sculpture Project and Fundraising 2018

The Coleridge Memorial Trust met onThursday, 15th February, to finalise its fundraising appeal and approach.

An important report has been in the process of being completed and thus we haven’t presented much ‘new’ information on our progress. This will hopefully be posted here soon!

A reminder that the Coleridge Commemorative coin is still available to purchase and details of this are available on this site under the ‘Fundraising’ heading.

A reminder that the most recent information, as well as other interesting details about the work of the CMT, are available on the Coleridge Facebook page:

Report on the Coleridge Weekend [posted 26th November here]

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
Free admission

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
Free admission

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)

Memorial Coins

The Coleridge Memorial Trust and its patrons have produced a beautiful commemorative coin to mark the beginning of a fundraising effort for the planned sculpture in the Parish Churchyard. Each is 50mm (2″) in diameter and finely worked with a portrait of Coleridge in silver and aquamarine on one face and the Ancient Mariner’s ship on the other. Just 250 copies have been struck in recognition of the 250th anniversary of Coleridge’s birthday in 2022. It is the CMT’s hope that the funding will be complete and the sculpture in place by the time the anniversary celebrations take place.

The coin comes in a protective, snap-shut plastic cover contained in a royal blue presentation case. With the approach of Christmas, this may be the very gift you’ve been looking for: a timeless, Ottery St Mary keepsake that is highly collectible.

To purchase a single coin, please use pPaypal buttons below. For p&p of more than one coin purchase, please enquire here:

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