Welcome to John Clare Cottage

Tucked away between Stamford and Peterborough lies the village of Helpston, the home of John Clare (1793-1864). Widely regarded as one of the greatest of the English poets, John Clare lived in the village for his first forty years from 1793 until 1832.

The John Clare Trust purchased John Clare Cottage in 2005, preserving it for future generations. The Cottage has been restored, using traditional building methods, to create a centre where people can learn about John Clare, his works, how rural people lived in the early 19th century and also gain an understanding of the environment.

The Cottage contains examples of his work together with information about his life. Some of the rooms have been returned to the style that would have been found in cottages in the early 19th century in rural England. The gardens have been redesigned and planted with varieties which would have been seen in Clare’s time.

The Cottage shop is the perfect place to buy a memento of your visit - we specialise in John Clare books and local art and craft items. Why not relax in our lovely cafe and try one of our homemade soups, daily specials, or one of our selection of Clare's cakes. 

All cakes and light bites on our menu are made on the premises.

Variations in Visiting Arrangements

John Clare Cottage is used for many events and educational visits, you are advised to check when planning your visit to the Cottage to ensure that it is open to the public and there are no large groups which would detract from your visit. Details of advanced bookings can be found here >>>> 

Special Notice for Visitors
Friday 19th October- the Cottage and Cafe will be closing early at 2:30 pm



Acoustic Cafe

The next Acoustic Cafe will be on Thursday October 18th. Please note that this has been brought forward 1 week due to school half term   - full details

Art in the Cottage

Dovecote: The conservation charity Froglife will be displaying their ‘Mapestry’. This beautiful 12-panel tapestry depicts the River Nene, its wildlife, culture and heritage throughout the year. It was made by over 1000 local people, with the help of professional textile artist Liliane Taylor, during Froglife’s River Nene Dragon Finder project.

Froglife is a national wildlife charity committed to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles – frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards – and saving the habitats they depend on. Find out more at: www.froglife.org

Clare Cafe: Exhibition of Landscapes and Wildlife by Northampton artist Jamie Poole.
The landscapes, seascapes and diverse wildlife of the British Isles are a constant source of inspiration for Jamie's artwork. He enjoys chance encounters with animals and birds such as otters, red kites, deer, hares and foxes. 
The beautiful and illuminating words of poets such John Clare have fused his experiences with rich imagery that has driven his work over recent years.

I Am John Clare

This is a new solo performance of the story of John Clare on October 11th - full details here.

Please Support the Trust

The John Clare Trust is an independent charity . Please support us to help maintain the facilities and develop educational programs.



The thistledown's flying, though the winds are all still,
On the green grass now lying, now mounting the hill,
The spring from the fountain now boils like a pot;
Through stones past the counting it bubbles red-hot.
The ground parched and cracked is like overbaked bread,
The greensward all wracked is, bents dried up and dead.
The fallow fields glitter like water indeed,
And gossamers twitter, flung from weed unto weed.
Hill-tops like hot iron glitter bright in the sun,
And the rivers we're eying burn to gold as they run;
Burning hot is the ground, liquid gold is the air;
Whoever looks round sees Eternity there.