On a rainy morning, Mrs Too and Ben set out with friends, from Ottery St Mary, where Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born, to visit Watchet, the situs of a moving statue depicting the ancient mariner, and to Nether Stowey where S.T. Coleridge’s cottage home and garden from 1797 to 1800 are located. Two of those friends with us were brother Coleridges, nephews by eight greats, of Samuel Taylor himself. They being Coleridges, we were warmly received, though apparently no more so than other visitors. A caring and knowledgeable docent led us through the cottage expounding at every turn with a patter obviously drawn from a passion rather than from mere memory. His commentary, along with numerous placards on the walls, turned what had been the subject of many college reading assignments and mid-terms, into a soulful, inspired poet, author, husband, and father.
The cottage interior leaves a well formed impression of home life in the late 18th century, while the lush and randomly planted garden is an apparent forerunner of the modern English garden. The notorious lime bower is there, though whether still there or recreated is unclear. Although we had other plans for lunch, there is an adorable tea room on the premises offering teas and tempting cakes.
The time spent here is well spent. You will enjoy it and find it memorable indeed.
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