THE FORMER home of artist and poet William Blake has been bought by enthusiasts after a fundraising campaign.

Blake wrote the words to the hymn Jerusalem at the Grade II listed thatched cottage where he lived from 1800 to 1803 in Felpham, near Bognor.

The coastal property came on to the market in 2013 with an asking price of £650,000 after being privately owned by one family since 1928.

Backed by stars, including Stephen Fry, Russell Brand and the best-selling author and Blake Society president Philip Pullman, the society launched a bid to save it for the nation.

And this week, after raising more than £500,000, the trust finally obtained the keys after buying the cottage for £495,000.

Tim Heath, chairman of the Blake Society, said plans "grounded in economics" are now being worked on for the future of the 17th century cottage.

He said: "One idea is to let it out to people who would love to stay in William Blake's cottage, to sleep in Blake's bed.

"It could be a place where people come to think about what they could be doing with their lives. It wouldn't be exclusive.

"Part of the year it could be let out to people who would pay a premium to inhale Blake, and that would subsidise others like artists and musicians looking for respite and refuge.

“And finally the cottage would have an element of public access."

The cottage has now been conveyed to the Blake Cottage Trust, set up by the Blake Society, with the aim of restoring and renovating it to continue the legacy of the radical thinker.

Jane Parsons, whose family owned the Felpham property before it was sold, said: "My mother, in her time there, became a real Blake expert.

"She had a lot of Blake professors staying there from all over the world and hosted some fascinating Blake scholars.

"She always wanted it to be bought by the Blake Society, she never wanted it to go into private hands unless it was to a Blake devotee.

"Like most old buildings, it has a very distinctive atmosphere, and I hope it is taken back, as far as is possible, to how it was in Blake's day."