16 August 2009

John Clare, Helpston (Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire), and Working-Class Literature

I was delighted to discover, by casual Googling, that the house where the poet
John Clare (1793-1864) was born, in Helpston, Cambridgeshire (formerly Northamptonshire), has now been turned into a museum called Clare Cottage.
This sign greets the visitor to Helpston village.
This museum was opened on 3 August 2009, the cottage has been wonderfully preserved, and the street-facing side carries the following plaque, which was unveiled by Edward Blunden:

Visitors to Clare's cottage are provided with audio wands to guide them through the cottage (as well as through the village), although photography is not permitted.
Very close to the village sign is the memorial to John Clare:
Around the monument are quotations from Clare's poetry:
Clare died in Northampton and his coffin was brought back to Helpston, where it was taken to the Exeter Arms before he was buried in the church nearby.This memorial stone is in the south porch of St Botolph's Church in Helpston.
The north-facing side of John Clare's grave.
The south-facing side of John Clare's grave.
My other John Clare post:

John Clare, Mary Joyce, and Glinton


Rebecca said...

how strange, that while googling my own name (egotistical I know, I was testing something) I find my own home village, as my middle name is Clare, after John. thank you for a reminder of home :)

Dr Tony Shaw said...

Don't we all Google our own names, Rebecca? :-) Thanks for the comment, and apologies for my own belated one.