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.



Calico Exhibtion

The exhibition of embroidery and needlework in the Dovecote is now on until October 26th.

Acoustic Cafe

Come along to the Cottage with your instruments on Thursday October 22nd,  - 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 August 2015

New for August 2015 a new book has been launched - The Artful Hare, which is now being sold in the shop - 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.


From October
The cotter journying wi his noisev swine
Along the wood side where the brambles twine
Shaking from dinted cups the acorns brown
And from the hedges red awes dashing down
And nutters rustling in the yellow woods
Scaring from their snug lairs the pheasant broods
And squirrels secret toils oer winter dreams
Picking the brown nuts from the yellow beams
And hunters from the thickets avenue
In scarlet jackets startling on the view
Skiming a moment oer the russet plain
Then hiding in the colord woods again
The ploping guns sharp momentary shock
Which eccho bustles from her cave to mock
The sticking groups in many a ragged set
Brushing the woods their harmless loads to get
And gipseys camps in some snug shelterd nook
Where old lane hedges like the pasture brook
Run crooking as they will by wood and dell
In such lone spots these wild wood roamers dwell
On commons where no farmers claims appear
Nor tyrant justice rides to interfere
Such the abodes neath hedge or spreading oak