Exhibitions in the Museum tell the history of the town, of the Lords and Ladies who once lived in Clare, and of the ordinary people who lived and worked here. In 2007 our exhibit featured the Clare Reliquary Cross, a famous medieval artifact which was found in the grounds of Clare Castle, and now belongs to the Royal Collection; it is housed in the British Museum. In 2008-09 we focused on the history of Clare Common with its remains of an Iron Age fort and the medieval farm of Erbury Manor.
The new exhibition in 2017 is ‘The Story of Clare’, presenting various topics about the distinctiveness of this very small town, from its early medieval beginnings, to its height while the rich Norman family the de Clares owned it and built its castle, to its modern life–its educational institutions, its use of the Common, its most notable residents over time, and the everyday 20th-century life of one of its citizens, who just happened to donate many artefacts.
For the 2016 season, we covered the History of Education in Clare, prepared by retired Middle School Head Teacher Tom Shaw. For the 2015 Magna Carta in Clare Festival, the Museum also provided information on the two de Clare earls who were part of the Committee of 25, enforcers of Magna Carta in the 13th century, together with a facsimile, on parchment, of one of the 4 surviving copies of Magna Carta 1215.
For 2014: Bricks from the Stoke Road kiln. Archaeologists from Suffolk County Council’s Archaeological Service excavated the site before the developer Charles Church could begin building a new estate. Their interesting findings were represented in the Museum by a plan of the site and photographs of the kiln, together with several of the bricks from the kiln.
For 2013 and 2014, the exhibition was ‘The First Lady of Clare: Elizabeth de Burgh (1295-1360), a Celebration of her Contributions to the Town’. We also celebrated the 200th birthday in 2013 of the early cast iron bridge on the Ashen Road, sometimes known as the Clare Priory Bridge.
Our 2011-12 exhibition was on the theme of ‘Clare during the Agricultural Depression 1870-1895’.
‘Clare Digs 2011’ was a small exhibit in 2012 with some of the finds from the archaeological test-pit digging that was undertaken in Clare in April and May 2011. This was held over in 2013 because of the 2013 archaeological digs in Clare Castle, undertaken as part of the Managing a Masterpiece programme.
For 2010 our exhibition explored how the churches of Clare adjusted to the religious and political upheavals that happened over the centuries.
See the News & Events page for more information.
The Clare War Memorial. Alison Krohn, a resident of Clare, spent over 10 years studying the histories of Clare people who were killed in action in both World Wars. The details she gathered include their family backgrounds, where they lost their lives and where they are buried. To view these findings, visit the Museum and ask to view our data base.
Rolling display of Museum photographs. A selection of the Museum’s photographs is on display. It features 300 views, buildings and events in Clare’s history.
Publications about Clare available from the Museum; out of our season, available from Harris & Harris Books, High Street, Clare.
David Hatton, Clare Suffolk, 2007, 96 pp. £10.00 + p&p £1.50 now issued as CD rom.
Walter Perry, The Common at Clare 1870, 2002, 47 pp. £3.50 + p&p
Deborah Ridley, A Clare View: Ten Sketches £1.00 + p&p
David Ridley, Clare: Annals of the Borough 1550-1700, n.d., 32 pp. £2.00 + p&p
David Ridley, Clare: Annals of the Borough 1605-1610 The Land War, n.d., 16 pp. £2.00 + p&p
David Ridley, Clare: Annals of the Borough 1700-1800, n.d. £2.00 + p&p
David Ridley, Clare: Annals of the Borough 1800-1850, n.d. 32 pp. £2.00 + p&p
David Ridley, Clare Baptist Church, the First 200 Years, n.d. £2.00 + p&p
Peggy Smith, The Clare Reliquary, 2007, 6 pp. £1.00 + p&p
Jan McNelly & Tom Shaw, Clare during the Agricultural Depression 1870-1895, 2011. £4.00 + p&p
Anne Davies & Peggy Smith, The 2011 Clare Digs, 2012. £1.00 + p&p
Peggy Smith, The First Lady of Clare, Elizabeth de Burgh (1295-1360): A Celebration of her Contributions to the Town, 2013 £3.00 + p&p
Thomas Shaw, Reminiscences about the Education of Clare People, 2015 £2.00 + p&p
Peggy Smith, The Magna Carta de Clares: an exhibition at Clare Ancient House Museum as part of the Clare Magna Carta Festival 2015. £1.00 + p&p
Thomas Shaw, A History of Clare Private Schools, 2016 £2.00 + p&p
Peggy Smith, The Market in Clare: Historical Notes, 2017. £2.50 + p&p
Peggy Smith, Twentieth-Century Clare: Doris Gregory’s Collection, 2017. £2.00 + p&p
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