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.



Acoustic Cafe

Come along to the Cottage with your instruments on Thursday May 28th, please note the new start time of 7pm  - full details


New for 2015 one of the regular performers at the Open Mic Nights - Michael Keithson has released a CD of his music, - details.



New for 2015

The range of llocally 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 "Patty of the Vale"
Where lonesome woodlands close surrounding
Mark the spot a solitude
And nature's uncheck'd scenes abounding
Form a prospect wild and rude,
A cottage cheers the post so glooming
Hid in the hollow of the dale,
Where, in youth and beauty blooming,
Lives sweet Patty of the Vale.