Coleridge and Watchet
Watchet harbour became the inspiration for the epic poem The Ancient Mariner by the romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In 1797 he walked over the Quantock Hills from his home in Nether Stowey, along with his friends William and Dorothy Wordsworth, and came upon Watchet. It has been said that looking down at the town from St. Decuman’s Church gave him the inspiration for his poem.
“The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill
Below the lighthouse top.”
As part of the Watchet Regeneration Programme, the Watchet Market House Museum Society decided to commemorate this important link between Coleridge and the town by commissioning a statue as an attraction for local people and visitors alike. A seven-foot-high effigy of the mariner was designed and created by sculptor Alan B. Herriot, of Penicuik, Scotland, cast by Powderhall Fine Art Foundries in Edinburgh and unveiled by Dr. Katherine Wyndham in 2003.
The statue can be admired as it stands overlooking the marina on Watchet Esplanade, and postcards depicting the Mariner can be bought within the Museum.
The Ancient Mariner statue. Dr. Katherine Wyndham & sculptor Alan Herriot.