To Nature

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Outside the Unitarian Chapel, with Chris Goacher, minister, and Jackie Woodward, secretary.
Closer view of the poem.

This site was chosen because Beth was a friend of the chapel and its members, and the congregation asked for inclusion in the poetry trail. The chosen poem is ‘To Nature’ by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834), a Unitarian for much of his life who considered entering the Ministry. Coleridge was a friend of Josiah Wedgewood, Charles Lamb, and the three Strutt brothers of the cotton mills in Belper and Derby. One of the major figures of English Romanticism, Samuel Taylor Coleridge created works of remarkable diversity and imaginative genius. The period of his creative friendship with William Wordsworth inspired some of Coleridge’s best-known poems, from the nightmarish vision of the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ and the opium-inspired ‘Kubla Khan’ to the sombre passion of ‘Dejection’.

Belper Unitarian chapel

Belper Unitarian chapel was built in 1788 by local mill owner, Jedediah Strutt, and enlarged with side wings in about 1800. The interior has steeply tiered box pews rising towards each side and there is a small rear gallery with access only from an exterior cantilevered stone staircase. Among the family monuments is one to Jedediah Strutt, 1797, “Founder of this Chapel”. There is also a late 18th century octagonal pulpit. Entered from outside is a “catacomb” in which are interred several members of the Strutt family. It is a grade ll*listed building.

This plaque has been supported by a grant from the Herbert Strutt charity.