Rayleigh Dutch Cottage33 Crown Hill Rayleigh Essex SS6 7HA, Rayleigh, Essex, SS6 7HA
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.