The Llandrinio Connection

The John Clare Bicentenary Celebrations
1793 - 1864
and its Llandrinio Connections

On the front cover of the 'Llandrinio Bridge' are the words "By, for and of the People of Llandrinio" and, although the John Clare Bicentenary Celebrations took place as far afield as Peterborough and Lincoln, there are close links tying it with local Llandrinio families.

John Clare was born on the 13th July 1793 at Helpstone near Peterborough.  His reputation as a poet has increased many fold during the last sixty years or so and it seems fitting that the man who remained a poor countryman all his life and is well known as the "Northamptonshire Peasant Poet" is now remembered with a plaque in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey.

The Poet's son, also called John Clare, moved to this area in the 1800's and found work on the Cambrian Railways and later became Foreman of the Bridge Carpenters being responsible for the bridge over the Barmouth Estuary.  He married in St. Agatha's Church, Llanynynech and lived for many years in Four Crosses, establishing a large family in this area.  He is buried in Llandysilio Church Yard.

It is now thought that George Clare from Rhos Common (formerly of Nursery Stores) is the oldest member of the family carrying the name in direct line - his is the great-grandson of the famous poet.

The Bicentenary Festival, organised by the flourishing John Clare Society took place from the 9th to the 10th July, but the highlight of it for the Landrinio branch of the family was on the Sunday afternoon of July 11th when a Commorative Evensong was held in Peterborough Cathedral, and the Reverent Richard Jones, B.E.M., from Rhos Common, who is a great-great-grandson of John Clare, was invited to preach at this service.

To stand in the pulpit of an enormous Cathedral and preach to a congregation who had travelled from America, Canada and even Japan for these Bicentenary Celebrations was no doubt a daunting task, yet there was the comforting knowledge that the family from Llandrinio had made a grand effort to be there too.  George & Jean, Glad, Peggy, Rosemary & Brian, Lossie from Pentre, Doreen (nee Clare) & Brian from Shrewsbury and their children Roger and Janet.  How satisfying to know that the "People of Llandrinio" were represented at this important Festival and that through them the links with the "Northamptonshire Peasant Poet" and the Landrinio area will be kept alive

Jean M Clare &
Judith Corfield

A comment - if any readers ever do have occasion to travel to this part of the country - there are some very pretty villages with thatched cottages and Burghley House (of the Horse Trials) near Stamford is well worth a visit.

I am—yet what I am none cares or knows
My friends forsake me like a memory lost
I am the self-consumer of my woes— 
They rise and vanish in oblivions host
Like shadows in loves frenzied stifled throes 
And yet I am, and live—like vapours tost

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