SOMERSET

Ralph Allen’s undecorated grotto and landscaped grounds ( from the 1720s) owed much to poet Alexander Pope, a friend who was indulging his own ideas at Twickenham. The small limestone grotto overlooks the lower temple ( now destroyed ) and distant Palladian bridge. It is high to the south-west and cut in a bank by a rivulet. The floor is of animal bones and it is believed Pope’s dog Bounce is buried at the centre. In poor condition today, some reconstruction has been considered.

18th Century Grotto. Spa Hotel Bath (previously Vellore House, 1836).
Shell Grotto designed by Josiah Lane. 

Main house c.1780, in Bath. An 18th Century Garden with late 19th Century additions by Henry Tugwell. The Grotto sits within a large rockery with sunken pools. Ammonites sit heraldically above each doorway. Main chamber has 3 Gothic windows – and reached by steps framed with rusticated wooden columns. Site being restored by present owner Sir David Lees.

1820 - now the American Museum. The grotto is set into an artificial mound and contains a water feature with shell symbolism

The natural cave complex sits in a picturesque garden developed by Bishop Henry Law in the 1830's. The lower grotto is an exedra with 3 openings and an altar. The upper grotto is a pebble temple set within mature wood land with a romantic round tower. Located near Banwell Caves.

The shell grotto was built by Mike and decorated by Ginny Otterill in 2009. Sited in an old quarry the grotto has a water feature. Tropical, native shells and mosaic designs include a 2 dimensional dragon fly and unusual flowering wisteria motifs. Located in Willsbridge, Bitton. 

The thatched shell aviary was created in 1838 by members of the Speke family as part of a Picturesque landscape. Restored in 2017 by Holywell Glass and Humphries and Jones Architects.

The main house is now a hotel. The shell house was decorated by Christiana Balch in 1780 after her Grand Tour of Europe. Exotic and native shells cover walls and imitation stalactites. She inherited the estate in 1814. There is evidence of a rusticated Hermitage by a raised Ladies' Walk. Both features are in a perilous condition. Located in Westquantockhead.

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12 Bathwick Street, Bath, UK, BA2 6NY  

Tel: 07984990199

E: margaret_hull@hotmail.co.uk

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