It is almost unheard of for a provincial, self-educated countryman to be remembered with respect and affection for over 200 years. Tom Poole, however, is immortal world-wide for his friendships with literary men of his time, and for his loyal friendship with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In fact, without his support Coleridge and Wordsworth might never have written ‘Lyrical Ballads’. He is also immortal in Nether Stowey for his philanthropy and business acumen.
Terence Sackett of the Friends of Coleridge has written and designed an interpretation panel on Tom Poole for Nether Stowey Library – the land for the library building was given to the community by Poole for the founding of one of the very first free schools in England.
The panel measures over 4 ft by 4ft, and covers Tom Poole’s friendship with Coleridge and other literary figures of the day, his Castle Street and St Mary Street houses, his tannery business, his charitable work on behalf of the poor, and the founding of the Female Friendly Society, the Quantock Savings Bank, and the village school.
The printing of the panel was generously funded by the Friends of Nether Stowey Library. A substantial number of Stowey people gathered in the library for the official unveiling on Saturday 30th May. Everyone was delighted that the present Tom Poole came and said a few words about his ancestor. Tom Mayberry of the Friends of Coleridge gave a short insightful talk on Tom Poole’s life and legacy.
Terence is grateful to David Worthy for generously allowing the use of photographs from his extensive Quantock collection.
Click here to see a PDF of the panel.