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

The John Clare Trust now owns the Exeter Arms public house in Church Lane, behind the Church. You are advised to park here rather than in Woodgate. This is a five minute walk away from the Cottage.




Latest news


Dream Not of Love
A CD of folk music collected by John Clare is now available on a CD in stock at the Cottage, more details


The Shepherds Calendar
The OUP are reprintimg John Clare's Shepherds Calendar in commeration of the 150 years since Clare died. Now in stock. - see details.


Open Mic Night at John Clare
Come along to the Cottage with your instruments on Thursday October 30th  - full details



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 Busy Village
The barn door is open and ready to winnow,
The woodman is resting  and getting his dinner
And calls to the maiden with little to say
Who takes the hot dinner and hurries away;
The hens in the dust and the hogs in the dirt,
The mower is busy and stript in his shirt,
The waggon is empty and ready to start,
The ploughman is merry and drinking his quart;
The men are at work and the schoolboy at play;
The maids in the meadow a making the hay;
The ducks are a feeding and running about,
The hogs are a noising and try to get out;
The dog's at his bone and the ass at his tether
And cows in the pasture all feeding together.