The Dutch House, Rayleigh, Essex
The thatched octagonal Dutch Cottage in Rayleigh, Essex, is thought to have been built in 1621 by immigrant settlers who helped drain the land. Since 2005 it has stood empty after pensioners Ann and Derek Jolly upped sticks and left after 20 “happy years”.
Despite resembling a doll’s house, the octagonal seventeenth century home – which measures just 20ft across – has all the mod cons, including a fully fitted kitchen and shower room. The listed home, in Crown Hill, Rayleigh, is thought to be one of only a handful of Dutch Cottages left in the UK – and the only one used as a council house.It is also the only house still owned by Rochford Council after it transferred its stock to a housing association.
Tamara Burton, a spokeswoman for Rochford Council, said the house, which has already generated a lot of interest, is not restricted only to people on the housing register or waiting list and can be rented for just £75 a week.
But whoever is lucky enough to get their hands on the listed property will not be in for a quiet life – because a condition of the tenancy means the new dweller will have to show tourists around the historic abode.
Inside it is surprisingly spacious with the open-plan living space set around a central construction of the chimney.The kitchen is at the back of the cottage and there is also a shower room. The bedroom is accessed by a steep stair case and, at a squeeze, it could fit a double bed inside.
Former resident Mrs Jolly, 71, who moved out of the house with husband Derek in 2005, said it was a privilege to live in there.She said: “We loved it because we felt very close to Rayleigh’s history.
“We were talking about it all the time and we were conscious it was a privilege to be looking after one of Rayleigh’s monuments and having something beautiful to look after.”
The cottage was given to Rayleigh Urban Council in 1964 by its owner and has remained in trust ever since.A plate above the door is inscribed 1621 but surveyors, architects and historians who have studied the cottage say it could have actually been built as late as 1740.
Tours of the cottage would be made by prior arrangement, Mrs Burton said. It is opposite the King Canute Public House. Essex. TQ8090 : The Dutch Cottage, Rayleigh
The Dutch House, Canvey Island, Essex
There is another similar cottage on Canvey Island in Essex. TQ7783 : Dutch Cottage Museum, Canvey Island