The cottage after Coleridge
From 17th-century 'hovel' to Victorian pub to being saved for the nation over 100 years ago, Coleridge Cottage has a rich history full of strange and sometimes spooky stories...
The Cottage after Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his family left the Cottage at ‘Stowey’ on the 19th of December 1799, to go and live in the Lake District.
A couple of tenants lived in the Cottage immediately afterwards, including a ‘grave’ minister called Parson Cave, and an elderly lady, Miss Newton. Not long after, still early in the 1800s, the Cottage was refurbished. It was at this point the casement windows were removed, and the sash windows you see today were added.
Moore’s Coleridge Cottage Inn
In 1861 the cottage became a carpenter’s workshop, lived in by John Moore, who later raised a mortgage to convert the cottage to an inn. More rooms were added, the roof was raised, the thatch replaced with tiles, and the garden and orchard were divided and sold. John Moore called it ‘Moore’s Coleridge Cottage Inn’, clearly aware of the connection with Samuel Taylor Coleridge over sixty years before.
Saved for the nation
In July 1893 a committee was formed by a group who wished to ‘save’ Coleridge Cottage from its fate as a public house. They raised money to lease the cottage for £15 a year, with an option to purchase it for £600 when the lease expired in 1908. Led by Professor William Knight, the Cottage was acquired by the National Trust as an inalienable asset in August 1909. For 100 years it was lived in by custodians, who managed the Cottage and opened a limited number of rooms. In 2011, a big restoration project took place, recovering the Georgian features in the original rooms, and returning the Cottage to what it may have looked like when Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived here.
The Cottage today
Coleridge Cottage is a house of many faces. Bigger than it looks from the outside, its outer shell holds traces of its many lives as a 17th century “hovel”, Victorian pub, and 20th century home. Despite its many transformations, the restoration project in 2011 recovered the features of the Cottage that Coleridge and his family would have recognised in the late 1700s. These include the original fireplace in front of which Coleridge wrote his poetry, and the 16-feet deep well, from which the family would have drawn their water.
Find out more
On the first Tuesday of every month, the ‘Cottage Uncovered’ guided tours reveal more about what happened to the Cottage after Coleridge left, and some strange and spooky stories about the Cottage’s many ghosts…