Clare Ancient House Museum

Clare Ancient House Museum from the north
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Clare Ancient House is a Grade 1 Listed Building, dating in part to the 14th and, in part, the 15th century. It may have served as a shop at the beginning, and has certainly since then been a bakery, a workhouse, a poultry shop and a dwelling for the Church sexton. It is most famous for its 17th-century decorative pargeting, of which it is a well known example. The Museum it now houses aims to interpret the history of Clare through its artefacts, its photographs and special exhibitions.

The special exhibition for 2013-14 was about Elizabeth de Burgh, The First Lady of Clare. The last member of the de Clare family to live in and expand Clare Castle, Elizabeth is probably best known as the foundress of Clare College Cambridge. Her influence on the town of Clare, her patronage of many religious institutions, from Clare Priory to Walsingham pilgrimage hostels for the Franciscans, and her learning were all explored, as well as what it meant to the small town of Clare to have such an important and wealthy resident. An informative booklet is still available for £2.

For 2015 and 2016 the principal exhibition is on the history of education in Clare, with two booklets, one on the private schools of Clare, and the other containing reminiscences of 20th-century schooling in Clare.

Also, as part of Clare's 2015 Magna Carta Festival, there is a smaller exhibition on Clare's two rebel barons, members of the Committee of 25, appointed to see that King John upheld his promises in Magna Carta. Richard de Clare, Earl of Hertford died in 1217; his son Gilbert, Earl of Hertford and of Gloucester, in 1230.

Venue Type:

Museum, Historic house or home

Opening hours

April (or Easter if earlier) to end September, and half-terms
Thurs Fri Sun 14.00-17.00, Sat and Bank Holidays 11.30-17.00

Closed: October to beginning of April

Admission charges

Adults and over 16s: £1.00
Children under 16: Free
Friends: Free

Getting there

Next door to Clare Parish Church, one of the famous 'wool churches'

Additional info

CD-roms on the historic buildings and people of Clare, including some local genealogical information.

The East wing is leased by the building's owner, Clare Town Council, to the Landmark Trust, for holiday lets.

Largely Victorian and early 20th-century domestic and agricultural artefacts for Clare and environs. Photographs of local buildings, people and events. Historical issues are explored in explanatory panels around the walls, and through pamphlets available for purchase.

Collection details

Social History, Personalities, Costume and Textiles, Archives, Architecture, Archaeology, Agriculture

Getting there

Next door to Clare Parish Church, one of the famous 'wool churches'

Clare Ancient House Museum
26 High Street
C010 8NY


Museum website


general information



01787 277572

Publicity Officer

01787 277249

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.