The Poetry Stones – CMT’s story from 2009 to 2014

Please go to the Photo Gallery and look at ‘Poetry Stones’ to see the granite kerbs being crafted and installed, and also the ‘Photo Archive’ to see our October 2011 Poetry Stones pictures which document early fundraising efforts.

This page has a diary of the work undertaken to install the Poetry Stones in Ottery St Mary – a 70m long run of granite kerbs engraved with Coleridge’s poem “Kubla Khan”, which was opened in 2012. The diary ends in February 2014, when the CMP decided to revive its efforts to commission a sculpture of Samuel Taylor Coleridge in Ottery St Mary.  You can follow our progress under the heading ‘The Sculptural Project’ on our home page.

Past copies of supporters newsletters are available below (these are free – fill in a comment form on the Contacts page or email to receive the News updates). Please note – some of the links in older editions are no longer active or up to date.

CMP News 2 (March 2010)
CMP News 3 (April 2010)
CMP News 4 (July 2010)
CMP News 5 (October 2010)
CMP News 6 (Feb 2011)
CMP News 7 (Jun 2011)
CMP News 8 (Aug 2011)
CMP News 9 (Jan 2012)
CMP News 10 (Mar 2012)
CMP News 11 (April 2012)
CMP News 12 (May 2012)
CMP News 13 (sept 2012)
CMP News 14 (May 2013)

20th February 2014

The next CMP meeting will be on Thursday, 20th February, 2014 at 7.30 pm at the Town Hall, Ottery St Mary.  The agenda and minutes of the last meeting have already been circulated to members.  Topics for discussion of special interest will be our revised “Coleridge Link” Otter Valley walkers guide that is now at the printers and the possibility of a sculpture of STC once again.

Follow the link on our Home Page to “Contact Us” for our email and Hon. Secretary’s address  if you are not a member and would like more details of the CMP.

10th December 2013

We have just learnt that our grant application to Ottery Town Council has been successful! Chris Wakefield is therefore now working on our revised leaflet mentioned below.

30th October 2013

Following our AGM in October, we have now submitted a grant application to Ottery Town Council for funds to cover the cost of updating and reprinting our “Coleridge Link” leaflet for distribution by the Ottery Tourist Office.

Additionally our Secretary, Chris, has submitted our brief to the Royal British Society of Sculptors outlining our ideas for a sculpture to commemorate STC.  The CMP will be inviting these sculptors to submit their drawings to us for our consideration.

16th October 2013

A reminder for Members that our next Committee Meeting is on Wednesday, 16th October, 2013 at 7.30 pm at the Town Hall, Ottery St Mary.  Members will have received an Agenda and Minutes of the last meeting a few weeks ago. Hope to see you there!

19th August 2013

Today we held a small ceremony at Ottery library when Lord Coleridge, our Patron, presented a set of the 10 Coleridge Notebooks to Jane Cordy, Library Supervisor, on behalf of the CMP.  The books are to be kept in the library as reference books on indefinite loan.

Chairman, John Pilsworth, said that he believed that this complete set of the Notebooks was the only one in East Devon for students of Coleridge to study.

Hon Secretary, Chris Wakefield gave a brief history of the Notebooks and explained that originally there were 70 small hand written notebooks that STC wrote from the mid 1790’s until the later part of his life.

Lord Coleridge explained that the original Notebooks had resided in Chanters House for many decades after STC’s death before Kathleen Coburn transcribed them into there present form, a labour that took her a half of her lifetime.

Finally, Jane Cordy said “Both the library and Devon County Council are very grateful to the CMP for their generosity and continued support.”

15th July 2013

After a long wait, our set of 10 Coleridge Notebooks arrived today.   We plan a small ceremony at Ottery Library in the near future when the CMP will hand the Notebooks to the library for safekeeping as reference books.  They will remain the property of the CMP but will be on long term loan to the library.

By co-incidence today was also the day when the Kings School community project volunteers, under the guidance of Chris Calderwood,  gave their time to clean the Poetry Stones in preparation for the summer visitors to Ottery St Mary.  We are delighted that the school is involved in our project and thank the students for their hard work.

May 2013

The CMP’s 3rd AGM will be held on Thursday, 6th June 2013, at the Town Hall, Broad Street, Ottery St Mary.  Members should have already received their notice of the meeting by email.  Items on the agenda include the future direction of the CMP and the latest eagerly awaited news of the arrival of our set of Coleridge Notebooks.

If you would like to join the CMP please follow the link at the top of the home page, “Contact Us”.

March 2013

The Coleridge Notebooks have now been ordered and delivery is expected in about 2 months time.  They will eventually be available as reference books and hopefully will be kept in Ottery St Mary library.

February 2013

At our General Meeting on Thursday, 7th February, it was agreed that the CMP should push ahead with the purchase of a set of Coleridge Notebooks at the very advantageous price of £825 as part of a new HLF bid if this was possible.  If not, it was agreed that we should funded this purchase ourselves.

If later transpired that HLF funding would not be possible in time for this purchase.

If you are interested in joining the CMP, please follow the “Contact Us” link on our Home Page.

November 2012

A CMP Committee Meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 7th, at 7.30 pm at the Ottery Council Offices, Broad St, Ottery St Mary.  All paid up members should have been notified.  Hope to see you there!

October 2012

The CMP’s 10 Coleridge exhibition banners were loaned to the King’s School to display in different departments as required.  An article about this will appeared in the Ottery Gazette of  November 1st, together with a photograph.

September 2012

Our Book of Sponsors was present  to Carol Pentecost, senior librarian, by CMP Chairman, John Pilsworth at Ottery St Mary Library on Thursday, September 20th at 11.00 am.  The Mayor, Glyn Dobson, and Chris Wakefield, CMP Hon. Secretary were in attendance. The Sponsors’ Book will be kept in the library as a reference book for members of the public to study on request.

August 2012

Our Treasurer, David Roberts, has just achieved our aim of charity status for the CMP. This will enable him to recover the tax paid by private donors under the Gift Aid scheme.  Well done David!

Our “Book of Sponsors” is now in the hands of the calligrapher, Colin Jelley,  who is currently recording the names of all those who kindly donated to our Appeal.  It will be ready for inspection in September.

July 2012

Two “firsts” for the CMP.  On July 9th, a group of students from the King’s School set to work with buckets and brushes to clean the Stones after the recent storms before the Sidmouth Poetry Readers group met for a picnic and poetry reading alongside the Stones on the Land of Canaan on July 11th.  The group from King’s,  who call themselves MAD (Make A Difference), are lead by Chris Calderwood, subject leader for Psychology and Sociology.  The CMP is very grateful to them and the School for their help and community spirit.

AGM 4th July 2012

The 2nd CMP AGM was held on 4th July at 7.30 pm in the Town Hall, Ottery St Mary. John Pilsworth was elected the CMP Chairman and Chris Wakefield became the Hon. Secretary.  David Roberts remained as the Treasurer.  Jo Moorhouse was elected Membership Secretary and Robert Neal joined the Committee.  It was agreed that the CMP would work more closely with King’s School and meet again in the autumn to consider future plans.

4th June 2012

The Poetry Stones Completion Celebration on June 4th was the climax of over two years work by the CMP.  Mr Tom Mayberry, Chairman of the Friends of Coleridge, our Guest of Honour, officially “opened the Stones”.  About 100 people witnesses the event and enjoyed a glass of “bubbly”, supplier by Christopher Piper Wines and a lovely buffet thanks to Sally from “The Bay Tree Cafe”.

30th May 2012

The Coleridge display panels in St Mary’s church are now in place for everyone to see on the nave side of the screen behind the shop.

Last week BBC Radio Devon broadcast an interview with the Hon. Secretary giving him an opportunity to explain how the idea for the Poetry Stones came about and our expectation that they will raise awareness of Coleridge and promote visitor numbers in Ottery St Mary.

The installation of the Poetry Stones and the two interpretation panels on the Land of Canaan, by M G Wale Landscapes Ltd. has now been completed in time for our Celebration Event on the Land of Canaan on June 4th at 11.30 for 12.00 noon.

Invitations to to the Celebration Event have been sent out to our supporters and donors Please bring your tickets for the hospitality marquee with you.

April 2012

The granite for the Poetry Stones was delivered to Williams and Triggs, Stone Masons, Newton Abbott, Devon, in mid April.  The Stones were engraved during the following  3 weeks ready for installation on the Land of Canaan in May.

We are delighted that Tom Mayberry, Chairman of the Friends of Coleridge, has agreed to open the Poetry Stones Completion Celebration Event that will be on Monday, June 4th, 2012 at 12.00 noon on the Land of Canaan, Ottery St Mary.  From 11.30 until 2.00 there will be a Coleridge Exhibition in a marquee on site and a Reception in a second marquee for supporters and donors to the Project.

March 2012

March saw the completion of the 10 Coleridge Memorial Project  portable exhibition banners and the 3 display panels ready for installation in St Mary’s church in May.

February 2012

There was a Coleridge Memorial Project general meeting at 7.30 pm on Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 at the Town Hall, Broad Street, Ottery St Mary.  Members were told that the delay in shipping the granite was now 8 weeks but it should be shipped from China in early March.

January 2012

Granite delayed – Launch date will now be in May 2012.  Visit again for latest.

December 2011

Our four tourist information leaflets have now been printed and will be distributed in the next month or two to TIC’s, libraries, hotels and guest houses.  They will encourage tourists to visit Ottery and to learn about Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Our new website, you will see, includes a list of all those generous individuals and organisations that have supported our Local Appeal.  Their names will eventually be included in a Sponsors Book to be kept in Ottery Library as well in our online list.

Recently we have started planning a community event to celebrate the completion of the Poetry Stones on the Land of Canaan. The provisional date for your diaries is Easter Monday afternoon, April 9th, 2012, when we hope to attract a local TV crew as well as the press and many of our supporters.

The funds raised will also enable us to purchase two interpretive display panels, to be sited near to the Poetry Stones, explaining the Kubla Khan and Coleridge’s importance in our national heritage.

October 2011  Implementation stage of our Project commenced with the writing of the 4 leaflets and the new website.

August 2011 – Heritage Lottery Fund approves poetry stones application.

July 27th 2011 – “Making It Local” approves poetry stones funding (see more below)

These awards, together with the local fundraising, means we have all we need to implement the Poetry Stones!)

August 2011

DEFRA approves MIL funding of Coleridge Memorial Project

Last week we had news that Heritage Lottery Fund has accepted our application and has awarded us the £10,000 we need to make up the balance of funds necessary to implement the poetry stones scheme. Together with local fundraising this means…….


Now we have the job of implementation – which looks to be just as demanding as raising the funds. We plan to start the process very son with a meeting of CMP in Ottery to work out the details.

Local fundraising goes over £4000

27th July

East Devon AONB “Making it Local” Project has approved CMP’s poetry stones scheme. There are one or two techinical odds and ends to follow up before the grant can be made (and of course we have to wait and see if DEFRA will continue to support MIL), but the application has been successful. The award is worth £18000. Our local fundraising effort has raised £3200 so far, so the success of the project now rests entirely with our Heritage Lottery Fund bid, the results of which we will hear in a couple of weeks time. That is worth£10,000, and we shall then be able to cover the £31,000 cost of the scheme.

July 2011

July marks the start of our local fundraising effort. The poetry stones will become a reality only with your support. Visit the Poetry Stones page again soon to see how fundraising is going.

Coleridge Sauce Booklet goes to press.

Press coverage of poetry stones generates wider interest in the project

Local fundraising goes well – £3000 achieved in first month of campaign! – Big THANKS to all donors.

Decision on MIL bid due

June 2011

Special General meeting June 14th 2011

HLF advise constitution needs small amendment to satisfy their legal requirements. We therefore need a SGM to make the changes. This has been arranged. With this in place our HLF bid is ready (or nearly ready) for submission.

May 2011

CMP AGM May 11th

The first AGM will be on Wednesday May 11th. at 7.30pm in the Town Council’s Meeting room. Members have been sent the details.

This next year will, I am confident, see some results. The idea for a new memorial to STC is the subject of almost universal acceptance, and the poetry stones idea – or something like it – althouth it materialised gradually over a number of years, was brought into clear view as a specific target by the those who responded to the public consultation of Jan / Feb 2010. The support of the town and of all those with an interest in Coleridge is essential during the next few months.


Decide after some consideration to press on with MIL bid and resubmit in May, (in the hope that they will get some funds to distrbute in the Autumn) together with a new Heritage Lottery Bid – so Hon Sec has been very busy assembling the materials for this. Also we are to start local fundraising in late May early June – based on sponsored letters and lines from the poem Kubla Khan.

We shall shortly have a sample of the stone engraved with a few words from KK, courtesy of Williams and Trigg in Newton Abbot. This will be on display in the TIC window as an encouragement to sponsors to shell out as much as they can conceivable afford!

Coleridge Sauce now awaits permissions from OUP (this takes anything up to 6 weeks so our Easter deadline will fail, but we hope that it will not be too much longer before we are in in print).

The TIC in Ottery is working hard to get together a literary event around the time of STCs birthday in October. The Heritage Society is holding its annual lunch again (with your CMP Chairman as guest speaker) and other events are in the planning stage to extend that weekend’s celebratiions

Hon Sec is also in touch with Guinness Book of Records because as far as we are aware, the engraving of KK along 70m of path will be the longest piece of engraved poetry in the world! Another first for OSM!

***March 8th***

MIL funding suspended as part of the government’s cuts to public expenditure. They may be back on stream in the Autumn and CMP will proceed with its bid, to be submitted in May rather than March. The letter from MIL is included here. The letter is to CMP’s Hon Sec and fundraiser John Pilsworth. Note to self: never write “cautiously optimistic” ever again…

Dear John,

I am afraid we had some news yesterday (Monday 7th) which will affect the application you are about to put in for Making it Local.

We received a letter from the South West Regional Development Agency informing us of a temporary suspension with immediate effect of further approvals of Local Action projects in the South West. This is as a result of DEFRA passing on reductions in regional allocations for RDPE Axes 1,3 and 4 (farming, some forestry and community-led projects). It is a national situation arising from the Comprehensive Spending Review and triggered by a Ministerial Statement issued on 28 February 2011 explaining the proposals for RDPE to be managed directly by DEFRA from July 2011.  From April 2011, DEFRA will begin a review of LAGs nationally which will result in a reallocation of money between LAGs.

Agreements with projects that have been previously approved will be honoured. Although we cannot guarantee future funding, we are anticipating that the temporary suspension will be lifted at some point during September and we will then know what our re-allocated budgets are.

Therefore, if your project is not time limited, we are still proposing to accept applications for the May 16th 2011 deadline and go through the appraisal process so that projects are ready to move forward when the suspension is lifted. We are aware that this will not be suitable for everyone but you may be in a situation where this is of some help.

In the meantime, Julie and I will be working with all projects who would welcome support to try to find alternative funding. We will also be having discussions with other organisations offering funding to direct suitable projects towards them.

The news came as a surprise to us, as I am sure it will to you, since we had previously been given advice by SWRDA to continue as normal with applications and approvals. We recognise that this will cause you inconvenience and apologise for this. I am particularly aware of how frustrating this will be for your project due to the months of preparation you have put in and the short timescale that you hoped to be working to.

Please get in touch with us if you wish to discuss this further. Please could you let us know whether you still wish to submit an application in May despite the uncertainty.

Yours sincerely,

Kate Tobin
Project Development Worker for Making it Local

March 2011

HLF and MIL have agreed to liaise over the details of our bid (although the final adjudication on any award takes place independently), so we are cautiously optimistic about funding at the moment. The new MIL bid, with further details on marketing and volunteer effort, is due for submission on March 14th, but we must by that time, be able to demonstrate we can support the cash flow demands of the project if we were granted an award. This isn’t easy – we applied for a grant because we don’t have money, so we are obliged to look for means of securing the project before we send in our next bid, which is difficult but we are working hard on it. The HLF grants operate under a different funding structure, and it looks as if it will be easier to manage our work with them, and with each funder prepared to match fund for the other, there could be a way through without massive local fundraising.

Even so we plan some local fundraising – beginning with our booklet of Coleridge Sauce – which we have now made more affordable (having had some advice from the publishing industry about our over ambitious subscription demands!). See the Publications page for more details.

February 2011

The technical report from Tourism Research Solutions is now available as a FREE download on the Publications page.

Our “Making it Local” bid has been deferred, but there is a lot in the bid which the project adjudicators liked, and we are invited to resubmit without the sculpture element, and with more details and information relating to the poetry stones, exhibition work and tourism-based interpretation material. We remain optimistic that this will be a part of the project that we can deliver in the not too distant future, but we have much to do before the next submission is made – due on 14th March 2011. There is a draft version of the poem as it might look set out on 1m long stone kerbs on the Publications page (at the bottom). Please note that this is a first draft – the typeface and the setting out are still undecided – and if you have any comments please use the comment form on The Memorial Project page.

Further contact with Your Heritage Lottery Funding has indicated continued interest from them, and we shall be working with HLF more closely in the near future.

John Pilsworth was interviewed on BBC Radio Devon on Friday 4th Feb.

January 2011

Town Council opt for an alternative project for section 106 funding – a disappointment, but the TC remains supportive of our aims. We are developing other avenues of funding with “Your Heritage” and elsewhere.

Making it Local response expected this month.

December 2010

Ottery Town Council considers support for Section 106 funding for the poetry stones idea. In particular the idea of a complete Coleridge poem (probably Kubla Khan because of its suitable length) engraved alongside the new pathway to Kings School due for construction next year.

Charity Commission reply with advice about minimum income. We are unlikely to achieve charity status until our fundraising has been under way for a while.

November 2010

New report from Tourism Research Solutions is published. Copies included in Making it Local bid (see below)

New Making It Local bid submitted on 18th November. The bid includes the sculpture and an enhanced bid for poetry stones.

October 2010

New report on tourism in Ottery – thanks to some useful contacts we have been able to secure some new research on the relationship between a new STC memorial and tourism in Ottery and East Devon. The report, from Tourism Research Solutions of Plymouth, will be available in the near future, and will form a vital element in our next bid. Research of this nature was specifically requested by the MIL adjudicators during the negotiations on our earlier bids. We very much hope that this will fill the gap in our proposals.

The renewed bid for AONB Making It Local funding is due in October (our earlier bid for research funds was deferred, but see also above). A new project outline has been requested by MIL as a prequel to the new bid and this has been submitted.

Project Outline now accepted but Making it Local full application postponed until November 18th pending additional input advised by our liaison officer

Ottery Church emerges as top option for location of the Memorial

Heritage Lottery Fund “Your Heritage” approves initial pre application.

Events Timeline, commencing 7th September 2010….

September 2010 – Patronage – The CMP has attracted support for the memorial from many quarters and we are now delighted to announce that The Right Hon. The Lord Coleridge, 5th Baron of Ottery St Mary has agreed to be our Patron. Lord Coleridge has expressed great enthusiasm for our efforts, and looks forward to a successful outcome.