The Sculpture Project

Maquettes for the Memorial Sculpture

[posted February, 2018]

Our sculptor for the Memorial Sculpture Project Nicholas Dimbleby has provided two maquettes as initial designs and these are shown below to give an idea of where we are at the moment:

The first maquette.  This proved useful in promoting discussion and propelled the decision making on the location to a fruitful conclusion, even though a new design was eventually requested.

The second maquette. It was felt that the figure did not adequately evoke Coleridge’s dynamism and energy. Throughout his life, in spite of periods of deep intellectual inertia and depression, Coleridge would often walk long distances out of preference, or economy, or simply because it was convenient and immediate.



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[Cont. from Home page]:

Associating the memorial with the church

The reasons for focusing on St Mary’s are many, but chief among them has to be the role of Coleridge’s father as the incumbent from 1760-1781, and Samuel Taylor’s childhood associations with the church and its surroundings. On account of Coleridge’s introspective nature he spent much of his frequently lonely childhood in the churchyard of St Mary’s reading, moping or occasionally absorbed in gothic re-enactments of stories he had read.  There is also the matter of Coleridge’s religious beliefs which could be said to have spanned most of the options from radical reformer and nonconformist preacher to thoroughly establishment, high church Anglican. What is beyond doubt is the contribution that Coleridge made to our modern view of the world: through his literary efforts to usher in the Romantic revival in the arts, his insightful educational thoughts, and his lifelong pursuit of theological questions.

The sculpture and how it might look in-situ [see mock-up on Home page]

After consulting the membership, we appointed Nicholas Dimbleby as our sculptor and in 2016 commissioned a maquette as a study for the final work.  We plan from this a life size figure cast in bronze that will stand on a low plinth with a bronze plaque on the front face.  It will be inscribed with several lines from Coleridge’s poem ‘Frost at Midnight’ that refers to the church tower beneath which the sculpture will be situated,

‘With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt
Of my sweet birth-place, and the old church-tower,
Whose bells, the poor man’s only music, rang
From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day’

Costs and fundraising

We anticipate that the entire project will cost in the region of £100,000 and plan to start our major fundraising in the spring of 2018.  We have commissioned a limited edition of Coleridge Commemorative Medals as part of our fundraising campaign that are now on sale. Further details are on our Fundraising page.

Previous News

A meeting of the CMT was held on on Wednesday, 20th September 2017 at “The Loft”, Ottery St Mary at 7.30 pm.  Details of our Coleridge Weekend programme, October 20th – 22nd, were finalised and further progress was made with our fundraising campaign. .  

The CMT meeting on August 16th, 2017 was held at “the Loft” beside the Vicarage, Ottery St Mary.  We discussed the details of our Coleridge Weekend and Fundraising Campaign ideas to raise £100,000 for a bronze life size sculpture of Samuel Taylor Coleridge in St Mary’s churchyard.

The date of the launch of our Fundraising Campaign will be Friday, 20th October at 7.00 pm at St Mary’s church when Dr Sandra Tuppen, Lead Curator, Modern Archives and Manuscripts 1601-1850 from The British Library will be giving a presentation.

On Saturday 21st October, on STC’s birthday, the annual Coleridge Lunch will be held at the “Tumbling Weir Hotel, Ottery St Mary.

AGM on May 24th  We decided that the launch date for our fundraising campaign will be October 20th, 2017 at St Mary’s church in Ottery.  We talked about our fundraising strategy and decided that Coleridge memorial medals will be commissioned and offered for sale at £10 each.  At the other extreme, a bronze copy of our maquette will be given as a gift in return for very large donations.  It was also agreed that Universities and other institutions with Coleridge manuscripts or notebooks should be invited to support our fundraising campaign. A list of these organisations will be compiled soon.

May 2017

Our Facebook postings are becoming more regular and we would encourage you to follow  us (see Facebook – Coleridge Memorial Trust).  Also the CMT made the front page of the Ottery Herald on May 5th with an update on the progress of our STC memorial project.

March 30th 2017

At the CMT meeting on March 30th, the Chairman reported on the site meeting with the Diocesan Advisory Committee and the Church Governors arranged to discuss our proposed application for a Faculty to approve the location of our sculptural memorial in the churchyard of St Mary’s.  The DAC were broadly supportive of our aims and the Faculty will be submitted in due course.  The main topics for discussion were the launch date for our fundraising campaign that will probably be in September and various fundraising ideas.  More details later.

Richard Coleridge (GGGG grandson of STC) and CMT Chairman, John Pilsworth, met with Alison Argent-Wenz, Head of Coleridge House at the Kings School, to discuss how the students might be involved in our fundraising campaign.  A photo of the group is now on our Facebook page.

The background to our project

The Sculpture Project has been revived as a result of the continuing interest in a high profile commemorative structure in Ottery St Mary to act as a focus for friends and admirers to connect in a more personal way with the poet in his home town. This page has a diary to record our progress. Details of fundraising activities will be posted here too.

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.    

Please scroll further down the page for a log of CMT news from 2014 – 2016

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)
CMT News 15 (March 2014)
CMT News 16 (Nov 2014)
CMT News 17 (September 2016)

December 2016

Since our October meeting we have established links with the Kings School, Ottery St Mary, where Coleridge was a pupil while his father John was the Master.  More news on this later.


October 2016

At the meeting of the CMT held on Wednesday, 19th October the main point of discussion was the new maquette that our sculptor, Nicholas Dimbleby, had produced for us.  The maquette was very favourable endorsed and will form the centre piece of our fundraising campaign to commence in the spring of 2017.   Our aim is to have our sculptural memorial in situ in St Mary’s churchyard to celebrate the 250th anniversary of STC’s birth in 1772 in Ottery St Mary by 2022.

The meeting also agreed to co-op Javaria Saeed to the Committee as our IT and Media Advisor.  The meeting thanked Javaria for her kind offer to take on this task.

Members will receive the Minutes of this meeting together with the Agenda for our next meeting in February by email as usual.

July 2016

The result of our ballot on the form of our sculptural memorial to STC was inconclusive.  This was not the result we had hoped for!

The child STC option was not popular and has now been eliminated as a possibility but the bulk of the votes were fairly evenly divided between the young adult STC and the child STC with his father John Coleridge.

In order to come to a conclusion we have asked our sculptural advisor, Nicholas Dimbleby, to advise us on the cost of the two possibilities and also his thoughts on the suitability of both options when considering their placement in the partially enclosed area in from of our agreed site near the Vicar’s door.  This will also allow further time for refection.

June 16th 2016

Our AGM was held on June 16th at the St Mary’s Church room (called “The Loft”) and all last years officers and committee were reelected to serve again for another year.  The next step in our quest for a sculptural memorial will be to decide whether a single figure of STC as a young adult, or STC as a child, or STC as a child alongside his father John would be the more appropriate.  The meeting agreed that a ballot on this question should be put before the membership by email.  The result will be announced on this website in due course and will be followed by a request to Nicholas Dimbleby (our sculptor) to make a resin maquette for our fundraising campaign.

February 2016

A meeting of the CMT was held on Thursday, February 4th at 7.30 pm at the Town Hall in Ottery St Mary.  The meeting discussed a number of ways of raising the considerable sum required for a sculptural memorial to STC.  Lord and Lady Coleridge suggested a number of organisations that we might approach and that we arrange for a 250th Anniversary medal to be cast to celebrate STC’c birth in Ottery in 1772.   Further ideas would be developed for our next meeting in June.

December 2015

Arthur Passey suggested that the best location for our sculpture was between the South Tower and the Vicar’s door.  The CMT thanked him and agreed with this site which was confirmed by the Governors of St Mary’s Church.

October 2015

Since our last meeting our secretary had researched several possible location for our sculptural memorial in the town in case it is not possible to find an acceptable one in St Mary’s churchyard.   At our meeting on 13th  October the members present debated the merits of these locations.

July 14th 2015

A team of 14 students from the King’s School, lead by Chris Calderwood, carried out their annual Poetry Stones cleaning as part of their Service in the Community Program.  The CMT is most grateful to the School for their commitment and support.

June 25th 2015

Our AGM was held on June 25th at the Town Hall in Ottery St Mary.  The minutes will be circulated to members in due course but meantime we can report that the main topic for discussion that evening was the future of the proposed Coleridge sculpture.  Sadly it has not been possible to reach agreement with the Governors on a mutually acceptable location for the memorial in the church yard of St Mary’s church.  Consequentially the meeting debated and approved a resolution to actively seek an alternative location in the town. It was agreed that the Management Committee would investigate and produce a paper on this subject in time for our next meeting in mid-October.

February 12th 2015

There was a meeting of the CMT on Thursday, February 12th at 7.30 pm in the Town Hall,  in Ottery St Mary at which the Chairman and Hon Secretary updated those present with the details of the progress in the quest for a location for our STC sculpture.  Briefly the Church Governors thought that St Mary’s churchyard would be a a good site for the sculpture but the exact location could not be agreed until the full Governors meeting in mid-April.

January 15th 2015

CMT Chairman and Secretary were invited to the full St Mary’s Governors meeting to explain our plans for a sculpture memorial to STC.  The Governors indicated that they were happy for a memorial to be placed somewhere in the churchyard, the final location to be decided later.

September 18th 2014

A meeting with some of the St Mary’s Church Governors last week has lead us to formally pose the question of St Mary’s (in Ottery) churchyard as a potential suitable site for the sculpture.

September 2014

The CMT had 3 mentions in the local Press in September.  On 1st September there was a report in the Ottery Gazette on the appointment of Nicholas Dimbleby as our sculptural adviser and our hopes for the future followed by one in the Ottery Herald on 12th and another in the Pulmans Weekly on 30th September.

July 9th 2014
At our AGM on July 9th, 2014,a resolution was passed appointing Nicholas Dimbleby of Clyst Hydon, Devon as our sculptor to take our project forward. You can see examples of his work at We will be asking him to explore further possibilities and expect that we shall move much closer to the final form of the sculpture by the time of our next meeting on Wednesday October 8th.
From 29th August 2014, the name of the CMP will be “the Coleridge Memorial Trust” (CMT) because we feel the the word “Trust” better reflects our long term presence and will be beneficial in our major fundraising aims for a sculptural memorial to STC. This change has now been ratified by the Charity Commission.

March 31st 2014

The number of sculptors interested has grown to thirteen (April 29th) and the liaison work has now begun in earnest. There is still a way to go before the end of May which is the deadline for expressing an interest in the project. Members will shortly have the chance to look at a number of portfolios and then to examine in detail what sort of work wold be best suited to the project’s aims.

There is no better or more exciting time to become a member of CMP. At the July AGM we will look for a slight change of name to Coleridge Memorial Trust to reflect our charitable status and to confer a more weathered complexion to our organisation. There will also be a proposal to raise subscriptions from the current £5 to £10, with the caveat that existing members who joined less than 6 months prior to the change will not be required to renew until June 2015.

If you have any ideas or comments on this project or want to keep in touch, please email and ask to be added to the supporters list for emailed news updates.

Also keep an eye on the website for news of progress.

March 5th 2014

The Coleridge Link walking leaflet was reprinted in February this year and continues to be popular with visitors and residents alike. The February meeting of CMP heard about a revival of the sculpture aspect of the memorial project, with an encouraging response to a new briefing document sent to the Royal Society of British Sculptors in December last year. Half a dozen expressions of interest were received and a dialog has begun with these parties to establish a direction for development of the project.