Highgate

This page is one of those to enable the Friends to share activities and opinions from different places where Coleridge lived and worked. Do please email us (tsackett@btinternet.com) with information about forthcoming events and articles which you might wish to share. As time goes on we will build a picture of the impact and influences these special places had on Coleridge’s life and thought. So do please send us material to start the ball rolling.

1816 Moves into Moreton House, Highgate on 15 April, and lives there with the Gillmans who accept him as a house patient

1823 Moves with the Gillmans in autumn to The Grove, Highgate. ChristabelKubla Khanand The Pains of Sleeppublished in a volume by John Murray. The first of three projected Lay Sermons published.

1817 The second Lay SermonBiographia Literaria, and Sibylline Leaves published.

1818 Treatise on Method published; further literary lectures; prepares a revised edition of The Friend; lectures on the history of philosophy, and gives his last series of lectures on literature (ending March 1819).

1819 Meets Keats in Millfield Lane, Highgate in April. Hartley Coleridge is elected a Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford.

1820 Hartley loses his Fellowship.

1825 Publishes Aids to Reflection, and lectures to the Royal Society of Literature On the Prometheus of Aeschylus.

1828 Publishes his Poetical Works (3 vols.); a second edition follows in 1829; goes on a European tour with Wordsworth and Wordsworth's daughter Dora.

1830 Publishes On the Constitution of the Church and State.

1834 Coleridge dies, 25 July.

An information sheet about Coleridge's life in Highgate

Click here to view 

A Celebration of Coleridge in Highgate - a short account by Justin Shepherd

st michaels church small

Reclaim the Crypt
Saturday 2 June 2018, St Michael’s Church, Highgate

This day was an unusual mixture of Coleridge family reunion, memorial service and celebration. The idea evolved considerably over time and the Friends of Coleridge were delighted to be able to help in this process. Drew Clode, the organiser, deserves warm congratulations for his energy and commitment in bringing this day to successful fruition It is hoped that the event will provide the impetus to help raise the money to preserve the five coffins and enhance the entombment of ST Coleridge, his wife, his daughter, his nephew, who was also his son-in–law, and Herbert Coleridge, his grandson.

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The Rev Kunle Ayodeji, Vicar of St Michael’s,welcomed the many people present. Most of the three front pews on either side of the aisle were filled with Coleridge family members. This was a highly impressive turn out and is clear evidence of great pride in the family name. Richard Coleridge, the poet’s great-great-great-great grandson spoke about the honour and the responsibility of carrying the name. Later in the day Rosemary Coleridge-Middleton, the poet’s great-great-great granddaughter also spoke listing the many connections to the family tree with entertaining enthusiasm, anecdotes, and sense of responsibility for upholding the name. Sir Paul Coleridge, formerly a High Court Judge and distinguished family lawyer, gave an urbane and fluent televised greeting, congratulating the initiative and hoping “Reclaim the Crypt” would be successful.

I encouraged those present to support the Friends of Coleridge and then introduced Rev Dr Malcolm Guite, poet and Chaplain of Girton College Cambridge. He gave the first of the two plenary lectures and chose Coleridge: A Life in the Church as his topic. He focused on Coleridge’s lifelong devotion to prayer, and gave a powerful Christian reading of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. He quoted memorably from the Marginalia and Biographia Literaria and read his own poem about visiting the Church and being transfixed by the tombstone’s invocation to “Stop, Christian”.

The short service which followed enhanced the Christian context of Coleridge’s work and featured the impressive choir and organist of St Michael’s, who later performed music specially written for the re-interment as well as other pieces performed at the 1961 ceremony.

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Coleridge’s verse was not omitted. Lance Person gave a dramatic reading of Frost at Midnight andKubla Khan, while the Friends’ own Ian Enters read from some of the late, less familiar works and briefly related them to those of Keats, Shelley and Hopkins. The Friends’ newly appointed Patron, Prof Seamus Perry once more generously gave of his time and talent. His deft and entertaining plenary on Coleridge in Highgate conveyed a portrait of the poet as talker, drawing upon his own research into contemporary accounts of meetings with Coleridge, including a memorable anecdote about Coleridge exchanging metaphysical pleasantries with local boys, amongst whom he was, apparently, something of a favourite.

The tour of Highgate in the afternoon included a guided visit to both the crypt under St Michael’s, where Coleridge now lies, and the site of his original tomb, which was in ground now occupied by Highgate School buildings. Both were interesting and made concrete the need to improve the current arrangements. The Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution put on a special display of Coleridge related material. And in St Michael’s itself there was a temporary small exhibition, including fascinating original letters, and portraits. Boards, beautifully designed by Terence Sackett and written by Ian Enters, described Coleridge’s life in Highgate, the Church, and in Literature.

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The day was constantly interesting and engaging and it was very well organised, including an excellent buffet lunch. All enjoyed the event and the walking through Highgate itself in a magnificently, bright, warm summer’s dayenhanced the experience. There was plenty of warmth left in the sun when several of the Friends met up to discuss the day in The Flask, one of Highgate’s great institutions.

Photographs kindly supplied by courtesy of Kim Gray (www.ktbweddingphotography.com)

The Coleridge Legacy - Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Intellectual Legacy in Britain and America, 1834–1934
A lecture by Dr Philip Aherne

On 25 February 2019 Dr Philip Aherne gave an outline of a book he has recently published on Coleridge's latter days in Highgate, and the spread of his influence in the United States throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Dr Aherne, who teaches English at Highgate School, began his talk with a consideration of Coleridge's biography, outlining why he moved to Highgate and explaining that the initial impetus for moving in with the Gillmans was to seek relief from his opium dependency (which they considered to have been successful).

He then moved on to lay out the programme of education apparent in Coleridge's later works before considering his fame as a talker. Dr Aherne also examined how aphorism played a vital role in shaping Coleridge’s philosophy - a philosophy centred on a process or method of thinking as much as any particular creed.

After a brief consideration of Coleridge's intellectual relationship to Locke and Kant - and the respect for him displayed by the English philosopher John Stuart Mill - the talk was brought to a close with an assessment of how young American thinkers were very receptive to his intellectual method.

Hard cover and e-edition copies of Dr Aherne's book The Coleridge Legacy - Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Intellectual Legacy in Britain and America, 1834–1934 are available at https://amzn.to/2H9xBoz and https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783319958576

From Drew Clode on behalf of St Michael's Church, Highgate

The Gillmans of Highgate, with letters from Samuel Taylor Coleridge, &c., Being a chapter from the History of the Gillman family,

by Alexander William Gillman, 1895 edition

To read online, click here
Grove Highgate
The Grove, Highgate
Highgate room
Coleridge's room in the Gillman's House, The Grove, Highgate

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