John Clare, the poet, was born in Helpston on 13th July 1793 and became one of our leading environmental poets.
Despite having had little education he went on to write over 3500 poems. His poems are very descriptive of the wildlife, the people and the way the people lived in the rural 19th century villages. The works were created by a man who lived and worked in that environment and was able to relate to his surroundings.
His first book of poems, 'Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery' was published to great acclaim in 1820, he went on to have three more books printed.
He left Helpston in 1832 to go to Northborough, from where he went into High Beech mental asylum in Epping in 1837.
He walked home, back to Northborough in 1841, taking 4 days. Later in 1841 he was sent to Northampton General Lunatic Asylum, now St Andrews, in Northampton. This is where he died in 1864.
His body was brought back to Helpston, where he is buried in the churchyard.