© Rodney Burton via wikimedia commons
- Tucked away between Stamford and Peterborough lies the village of Helpston, the birthplace and home of John Clare (1793-1864). He is widely regarded as one of the greatest English poets, and lived in the village for his first forty years. John Clare spent most of his life in this area of England, working in the local fields, as a potwash in the Bluebell Inn next door, in the gardens of Burghley House, briefly in the militia in Oundle, in the lime kilns north of Stamford, moving further afield only later to take up residence in asylums in Epping Forest and Northampton. Clare wrote much of his most memorable work while living in Helpston, and the Trust intends to take sections of the cottage back to its appearance in Clare's time, at the beginning of the 19th century. The John Clare Trust purchased Clare Cottage in 2007, preserving it for future generations. We're developing the cottage into an environmental and educational centre of excellence, writers' retreat, and visitor centre. In addition to enriching people's knowledge of the lyrical and scientific wonder of the countryside, the centre will set the creative benchmark for education and environment training. The Trust will be active locally, regionally and nationally.