National Poetry Day – Coleridge & Watchet

Today we celebrate National Poetry Day! And we couldn’t do that without giving a specific mention to none other than Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Watchet and Coleridge are connected by his longest major poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, written in 1797-98.

Watchet harbour became the inspiration for this epic poem as he walked over the Quantock Hills from his home in Nether Stowey, along with his friends William and Dorothy Wordsworth, and came upon Watchet. It has been said that looking down at the town from St. Decuman’s Church gave him the inspiration for his poem.

The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill
Below the lighthouse top.

A seven-foot high effigy of the mariner was designed and created by sculptor Alan B. Herriot, of Penicuik, Scotland, cast by Powderhall Fine Art Foundries in Edinburgh and unveiled by Dr. Katherine Wyndham in 2003. When you’re visiting be sure to see this statue on the Esplanade.

Why not pop into the Visitor Centre on Harbour Road to pick up a copy of Contains Art’s edition of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (£12) and take it to the Esplanade with you!