It's certainly not everyday that you get the chance to see an octagonal house! So make sure when visiting Rayleigh that you stop off and see the Dutch Cottage.
The Dutch Cottage is an octagonal building on Crown Hill and is thought to date from the 18th century.
It takes its name from the association of this type of house with the 17th century Dutch immigrants who constructed many of the sea walls of the south Essex coast.
The octagonal structure is rare but serves a useful purpose. It is strong and relatively easy to thatch and the occupant benefits from a view in all directions and in a time when superstition was common there are no corners where evil spirits can lurk!
The history of the cottage is one that is surrounded in controversy. To many people the plate above the door inscribed '1621' is solid evidence that it was erected in that year. However surveyors, architects and historians who have studied the building are of the opinion that it was not built until the eighteenth century, probably around 1740. Thus, the story of the cottage is one of mystery, as no one knows when, why or for whom the cottage was built.
For those who would like a tour inside the Dutch Cottage it is open by appointment with the owner on Wednesday afternoons. Please see the map below for help with directions.
How to get there
Car: From the A127 take the A129, which will take you straight to the High Street.
Train: Rayleigh has a railway station that is only five minutes walk away from the High Street. A mainline service runs between Southend and London.
Bus: There is a bus stop within 150m (164yds) of the Cottage, which is serviced by bus numbers 7 and 8.
The Cottage is a historical, Grade II listed, building and so for disabled: unfortunately parts of it cannot be accessed by wheelchair users, for example the first floor. However the ground floor of the building is accessible by ramp.
The Cottage does not have its own parking however a public car park is situated just 200m away at Bellingham Lane. There is not a designated drop off point.
The Cottage has a residential style unisex toilet; although available to visitors, this has not been adapted for public convenience.
Nearby related sites
This Grade II listed building is located, a short distance away from the Cottage, in Bellingham Lane, Rayleigh. It is open, free of charge, to the public between April and September on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays. Saturday and Sunday opening will be from 1pm to 4pm and Wednesday opening will be from 10am to 1pm.
Adjacent to the Windmill is the sensory garden which is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm Saturday and 1 -4 pm Sunday.
This motte and bailey mound is what remains of the Domesday castle erected by Sweyn of Essex, dating from the period following the Norman invasion of 1066. History display boards are located within the adjacent Windmill.
The Mill Arts & Events Centre
Tel: 01702 888722
The Cottage is maintained under a charitable trust, which pays for its maintenance and upkeep.
If you would like to support the trust in its work to renovate and repair the listed Dutch Cottage, to maintain and preserve the grounds and help with the ongoing maintenance of the premises, then you will be delighted to hear that we now able to take donations made by cheque (made payable to 'Rochford District Council Dutch Cottage Trust') and presented to the Reception at Rayleigh Civic Suite either by post or by hand.