Scott’s Grotto

This grotto was built in the 1760s in Ware, Hertfordshire, by John Scott, a local Quaker and poet. It consists of many narrow passages connecting to small rooms all beautifully decorated with shells, quartz, mica and flint. It was constructed by digging into a steep chalk hillside in Scott’s garden. At its deepest part it is 10 metres below the ground and some 20 metres from the entrance, although the passages are almost level. The map, in the first image, shows an entrance hall and 6 chambers linked by narrow passages, less that one metre wide, with ventilation passages only 0.5m wide. English Heritage describe the grotto as ‘one of the finest in England’. It’s a great place to explore. An octagonal summerhouse was built over the deepest part of the grotto and this is where Scott wrote much of his poetry.

The floor plan of Scott’s Grotto

The names of the chambers were invented by Andrews when he drew the Grotto plan, not Scott’s names, which are not known.

The flint Entrance (a new addition for security and protection).
Typical decoration of a room and passage.
A ventilation shaft.
Roof decoration with ormers shells and flint.
Ventilation shaft.
Another ventilation shaft.
Part of a room decorated in ormers shells and black flint.
Ceiling decorated with shells and flint.
Part of the Council Chamber showing decorated niches.
Part of the dome of the Council Chamber.
Scott’s summerhouse above the deepest part of the grotto.
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