15 remarkable drinks-related discoveries

Remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge rediscovered in wine cellar 

In one of the slightly more bizarre drinks discoveries, the remains of celebrated poet, critic and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge were rediscovered in a former wine cellar in north London last year. As the years went by, the wine cellar had become incorporated into the crypt of a nearby church.

Part of the crypt was once the wine cellar of the now demolished mansion Ashhurst House, and the crypt remains half-full of rubble from the demolition. The church, which was built in 1831, now plans to clear the rubble from the crypt and restore it.

According to a report in The Guardian the remains of Coleridge as well as those of his wife Sara, his daughter, also called Sara, his son-in-law and grandson were all rediscovered in the crypt of St Michael’s church in Highgate.

“It has been said that you could see it as appropriate [that Coleridge’s coffin was left in an old wine cellar], but it is not in a very fitting state for him, and the family would support the plans to improve it,” said Richard Coleridge, the poet’s great-great-great-grandson, a police officer based in Newham.

“From a safety point of view it would be quite impossible to bring members of the public down here. But we hope that the whole crypt can be cleared as a space for meetings and other uses, which would also allow access to Coleridge’s cellar. I don’t think we would open up a view of the coffins, but we could place a suitable inscription on the wall,” vicar Kunle Ayodeji told The Guardian.

Coleridge’s body was originally buried in a vault in Highgate churchyard on 2 August 1834. The vault fell into disrepair after it became incorporated into the new chapel for Highgate School, and Coleridge’s body was moved in 1961 and reinterred in St Michael’s Church.

Over the years, however, the exact location of his coffin, and those of his family, was forgotten. It was not until a recent excavation which revealed the entrance to the wine vault that Coleridge’s lead coffin was rediscovered.

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