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.



Souper Mondays

New for Winter 2015, starting Monday November 2nd, come to the Cafe for a special meal deal. full details.

New Greetings Cards

We are now stocking a large selection of greetings cards by local artist Sally Hammerton. - details.

Calendar for 2016

New Calendar for 2016 created by Carry Ackroyd, now on sale in the Cottage shop. - details.

Acoustic Cafe

Come along to the Cottage with your instruments on Thursday November 26th,  - full details


Jazz in the Cottage

Friday December 11th - Sara Hawkes will performing Jazz standards in the Cottage, accompanied by Ivan Garford on piano - tickets £5 from the Cottage. There will be a licenced bar - details


New for 2015

The range of locally made crafts has been increased in the shop as we continue to develop our store and support local artists. Details.

We also have a stock of folk music by the local group Pennyless. 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.


Langley Bush
O Langley Bush! the shepherd's sacred shade,
Thy hollow trunk oft gain'd a look from me;
Full many a journey o'er the heath I've made,
For such-like curious things I love to see.
What truth the story of the swain allows,
That tells of honours which thy young days knew,
Of "Langley Court" being kept beneath thy boughs
I cannot tell--thus much I know is true,
That thou art reverenc'd: even the rude clan
Of lawless gipsies, driven from stage to stage,
Pilfering the hedges of the husbandman,
Spare thee, as sacred, in thy withering age.
Both swains and gipsies seem to love thy name,
Thy spot's a favourite with the sooty crew,
And soon thou must depend on gipsy-fame,
Thy mouldering trunk is nearly rotten through.
My last doubts murmur on the zephyr's swell,
My last look lingers on thy boughs with pain;
To thy declining age I bid farewel,
Like old companions, ne'er to meet again.