Coleridge crypt in Highgate Church opening on June 11th


The Coleridge Trust
St Michael's Church, South Grove, London N6 6BJ

The gates to St Michael’s Church crypt in Highgate North London will be flung open on Saturday June 11th, so that for the first time members of the public can visit its hidden 17th-century wine cellar where the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge lies buried.

The event, to coincide with the village’s famous Fair in the Square, will be to help draw attention to the sorry state in which the coffins of the author of 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' and four members of his family lie.

They were re-interred in St Michael’s in June 1961. All five Coleridges had lain at rest in a family tomb sunk beneath the chapel of Highgate school. Coleridge himself had been originally buried there in 1834, his family joining him throughout the rest of the 19th century.

The Coleridge Trust has been formed to help refurbish the area within the vault and wine cellar and to create a space worthy of the poet and his talented family. There are also plans to create an education centre there dedicated to the poet and his role in the wider Romantic Movement in English poetry as well as nurturing the poetry of contemporary, more diverse, forms of poetic expression.

TCT Chair Alan West said: “The Coleridges were moved in 1961 from a crumbling mausoleum under Highgate School Chapel; dumped in a wine cellar; bricked up, and forgotten about. They were moved, if you like, from a tip to a tip and it’s very much up to our Trust, with others’ help, to create for them a lasting burial place worthy of their stature in British as well as world literature.

“We hope by opening the cellar and vault up to the public, we can focus attention on the need to put right what has been a long-term wrong.”

He went on to express his deep gratitude to the Rev. Kunle Ayodeji for the help and support he and members of the St Michael’s congregation have given to the project.

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