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.



Clare  Cottage Calendar

The new calendar for 2017 has been released and is available in the Cottage shop - details

New collection of Clare's Works

We are pleased  to stock the latest collection of John Clare's works, edited by Roger Rowe.

Acoustic Cafe

Come along to the Cottage with your instruments on Thursday November 17th  - full details



Jazz in the Cottage

We are pleased to annouce that Sara Hawkes is returning to thr Cottage for another eveinng of Jazz and Bossa Nova. Unfortunately the concert has been cancellde. It is planned to hold it in early 2017..

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 Northborough Sonnets 

The ploughman hurrys up by crow of cock
& dries his wetshod shoes by burning block
& eats his crust & skambles oer the straw
That hasty breakdast left no time to knaw
He chucks the boy upon the foremost horse
The hind one hangs & drags along by force
&l lobs along the balk with heavy tread
Till angry boy bawls loud & cuts its head
& drives along the horses jerks & walks
The singing ploughman earnest laughs & talks
& turns the furrow down that drag & slip
The boy shucks up & whoops & cracks his whip
& drags on dreary through the clogging soil
Till morning wears away & ends the toil