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.



Poetry Workshop

Poetry workshop with local poet Pete Cox, together with a cream tea. Full details

Souper Mondays

New for Winter 2016,  come to the Cafe for a special meal deal. full details.

Fused Glass

We are now stocking a selection of fused glass ornaments by Val Lansen. - details.


Acoustic Cafe

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


Jazz in the Cottage

Friday April 1st - by popular demand Sara Hawkes is returning to perform jazz standards with Ivan Garford. Tickets £5 from the Cottage. There will be a licenced bar - 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.


A Spring Morning
The sun looks oer the willows & pursues
His travels oer a blue expanse of skye
Oft met by playing clouds in light limbd hues
Like visions of the fancy passing bye
Field heaths & commons stretch beneath his eye
As green as meadows — little birds revive
As from a trance with chittring noise & song
Each ground wi bleating sheep is all alive
& clowns wi pleasure guide their ploughs along
Ravens resume their journeys to the fen
& puddocks hover oer each village yard
while chickens hasten to the clucking hen
Imprisond in a pen upon the sward
To raise a new springcherishd brood agen