The Ware Society History

People settled in Ware thousands of years before the Romans came. Ware became an important Roman settlement, later it was a thriving Saxon and Medieval town and later still it became the premier malting centre of England. Much of this history has survived in the fascinating buildings of the town - St Mary's Church, Ware Priory, Place House, the old Maltings, the Gazebos and nearly all of the buildings in the High Street which are timber-framed behind their later brick facades. But Ware is not just buildings. It has a special sense of community and is one of the friendliest towns in this part of England.

The Ware Society was established in 1965 with the objectives of:

  • Promoting high standards of planning and architecture within the town.
  • Raising awareness of the geography, history, natural history and architecture of the town and its environs.
  • Preservation, protection, development and improvement of buildings and areas of historic or public interest.

Over the years we have fought to preserve the town. We campaigned successfully against the Relief Road (an "urban motorway" which would have cut the town in two), against demolition of the railway station, against disposal of The Priory and against massive development along the riverside overshadowing the gazebos. We initiated and partly funded restoration of the gazebos and of John Scott's 18th century grotto and continue to provide stewarding to facilitate public access. We brought the Bluecoat Boy statues back to Ware, were co-founders of the Ware Museum and have carried out many small-scale improvements to the town.

One of our regular events is the biennial Town Award Scheme. The scheme, which was inaugurated in 1979, seeks nominations from amongst members of the Society for building developments, restorations, landscaping or gardening schemes completed in the preceding two years that they feel have enhanced the appearance or amenity of the town. The Society then presents an award plaque to the winning developer or designer as judged by a panel of adjudicators. The awards are always appreciated by the recipients and attract local publicity both for them and the Society

The Society meets monthly at The Priory in Ware where matters of interest are discussed and visiting speakers talk on a varied range of topics. Present areas of activity include a garden enhancement project at Scott’s Grotto, support of the local museum’s bid to host the return, on loan, of ‘The Great Bed’ to Ware, working with the local authority on plans to develop the old Quaker Burial Ground, (following provision by the Society of an information board) and support for a project to restore a water course in the grounds of Ware Priory. These activities are of course in addition to our regular work of monitoring and commenting on planning applications affecting the town and liaising on development proposals.

Publications include a series of Reminiscences of Ware’s Past, The Bluecoat Children in Ware 1564 – 1761, and A Walk About Ware Guide. In addition we produce a Newsletter three times per year keeping members updated on activities and matters of interest.