About the Friends

About us composite photos

The Friends of Coleridge, founded in 1986 by David Miall and Rosemary Cawthray, exists to foster interest in the life and works of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his circle, and to support Coleridge Cottage in Nether Stowey, Somerset, through co-operation with the National Trust. We pursue our aims by publishing the Coleridge Bulletin, sent out to members twice a year; by hosting a biennial Summer Conference and an annual Autumn Study Weekend, in the area surrounding the Quantock Hills, which inspired some of Coleridge's greatest poetry.

Membership is open to all. Our members all share an interest in or admiration for Samuel Taylor Coleridge. For details of how to subscribe please go to the Join us membership page. We also welcome any enquiries.


Shirley Watters

Shirley Watters

Shirley Watters, long-serving Hon. Secretary and devoted friend of The Friends, died on Monday evening the 19th September 2017, at home, peacefully, surrounded by her family.

She and her husband, Reggie, revitalised the Friends when its future looked bleak, and Shirley herself continued to look after the interests of the Friends for many years after Reggie died, only finally stepping down from the Committee a couple of years ago.

She was loved by all, and The Friends of Coleridge has been very fortunate in being able to count on her unwavering support.

The Friends’ debt to Shirley is immense and reaches back more than twenty years to the day when she and her husband Reggie first came to live in Nether Stowey. For many who value Coleridge, the house at 11 Castle Street quickly became a focus, both in the form of the wonderful Coleridge Bookshop and also as the setting in which Reggie as Chairman and Shirley as Honorary Secretary helped the Friends enter a new and livelier phase.

In countless ways Shirley was at the heart of the Friends’ work and activity, and had been the key person in maintaining strong and fruitful links with other organisations such as the Charles Lamb Society.

The Friends will always be grateful for Shirley’s unfailing kindness and encouragement, and for her unshakeable belief that more should be done to make Coleridge Cottage a worthy memorial to STC. Its transformation owes much to Shirley’s persistence. Coleridge could not have wished for a better ambassador in Nether Stowey and beyond.

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