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

Open Mic Night at John Clare

Come along to the Cottage with your instruments on Thursday November 27th  - full details


New Books for Christmas

The Writer's Garden by Jackie Bennett - Details.

The Majical World of John Clare by Marianna Kneller - 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.


From "November"
The ploughman hears the sudden storm begin
And hies for shelter from his naked toil
Buttoning his doublet closer to his chin
He speeds him hasty oer the elting soil
While clouds above him in wild fury boil
And winds drive heavily the beating rain
He turns his back to catch his breath awhile
Then ekes his speed and faces it again
To seek the shepherds hut beside the rushy plain
Oft stripping cottages and barns of thack
Where startld farmer garnerd up his grain
And wheat and bean and oat and barley stack
Leaving them open to the beating rain
The husbandman grieves oer his loss in vain
And sparrows mourn their night nests spoild and bare
The thackers they resume their toils again
And stubbornly the tall red ladders bare
While to oerweight the wind they hang old harrows there.