Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who was the youngest of ten children of the respected vicar Reverend John Coleridge, was born on 21 October 1772 in the rural town of Ottery St Mary in Devonshire. He was an English lyrical poet, critic and philosopher who, together with his friend William Wordsworth, started the Romantic Movement in England and became one of the Lake Poets. Although much associated with the Lake District, he spent only a few years here.
William Wordsworth first met Samuel in 1795 in Bristol. However, it wasn’t until 1799, after a walking tour across the Lakes, that Samuel decided to live here. He was delighted to rent Greta Hall in Keswick as it had fantastic views over the countryside and it was only 15 miles from the Wordsworths at Grasmere. Fortunately, the house was large enough to accommodate both his family and that of his brother-in-law, Robert Southey, who moved there in 1803.
Samuel’s days here were not especially happy, however, he was able to continue to work on his poems and he still wrote for the Morning Post. He also had some notable walks, which included a nine day tour and the ascent of Scafell Pike. He also climbed Helvellyn by moonlight. However, these achievements were overshadowed by marital problems which were due to his increased use of opium.
With the hope of increasing his health he went to Malta in 1804, this unfortunately marked the end of his life at Greta Hall. He also sought comfort with the Wordsworth in Dove Cottage at Grasmere and even pursued a relationship with Sara, who was the sister of Wordsworth’s wife. Sadly, his friendship with William and Dorothy broke down in 1810 and he retreated to London. However, in 1830 he achieved some sort of reconciliation with his wife, who had moved close to where he lived until his death in 1834.