John Clare Cottage,
12 Woodgate, Helpston,
The John Clare Trust purchased 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 also has a shop and cafe where you can get refreshments.
The village of Helpston contains a number of historic buildings that were in use during Clare's time, it is also the centre of the surrounding countryside where John Clare walked as a youth.
John Clare spent most of his life in this area of England, working in the local fields, as a potboy at the Blue Bell Inn which is next to the Cottage, in the gardens of Burghley House, briefly in the militia in Oundle, and at the lime kilns north of Stamford. His first volume of poems was published in 1820 when he achieved his fame. He moved to live in Northborough before being committed to asylums in Epping Forest and Northampton where he died in 1864. He is buried in the graveyard of St. Botolph's Church Helpston next to his parents.
Full details of the Cottage can be found at www.clarecottage.org