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
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.
If you would like to book an appointment to view the Dutch
Cottage you can use our online form in the related links below.
Location: 33 Crown Hill
Essex SS6 7HA
The Cottage is situated within the town centre of Rayleigh. This
is a pedestrian area and the Cottage itself is on a road with a
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
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
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.
Rochford District Council
Reception, Civic Suite
Tel: 01702 318150
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.