Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

John Clare Monument (Helpston)

The John Clare Monument takes the form of an obelisk in the little village of Helpston, once in Northamptonshire but now in Cambridgeshire.

John Clare, the peasant poet, was born in Helpston in 1793, and wrote fine poetry which still speaks to us today of the countryside which he loved and which even then was vanishing.

After being taken up by publishers and booksellers in Stamford, he was briefly lionised by London society, before their interest fluttered on to other things.

Clare was unable to stand the rejection, and spent four years in the asylum at High Beech in Epping Forest. He absconded from there and walked the 80 miles home, believing he would be reunited with his childhood sweeheart, although he was in fact married to another.

He spent the last 23 years of his life at the Northampton Asylum, where he died in 1864. He is buried at Helpston.

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