Let’s celebrate Grotto Day!
Saturday 25 July, 12pm onwards
Join us to mark the traditional feast day of St James, with a host of free activities for children and adults alike.
The Legend of St James
The legend is that James once saved drowning man, who emerged from the water covered in scallops. Ever since, the scallop shell has been associated with the saint, and pilgrims returning from Compostela often carried shells so that everyone would know where they had been.
This association between St James and shells led to the building of shell-covered ‘shrines’. The custom on Grotto Day was for children to build grottoes (or ‘grotters’) of shells, pebbles, fragments of broken pottery, in fact, whatever they could find. These would be placed in the street and children would recite a rhyme that went something like:
Please remember the Grotto.
It's only once a year.
Father's gone to sea.
Mother's gone to bring him back,
So please remember me.
We are continuing this tradition with free shell panel making for children. Meanwhile, Sandwich storyteller and honorary King of Fools Tony Cooper will be making a welcome return to the Grotto after his spine-chilling performances at our Halloween event. And Grotto historian Gretchen Cornwall will be offering guided tours.
The Day’s activities:
12pm on – Shell Panel making for children with artist Jan Cooper
12-1pm – Storytelling in the Grotto with Tony Cooper
1pm on – Guided tours with
Free refreshments for Friends and, of course, free entry. Please remember to bring your membership card!