THE first home inside a 400-year-old building that has been lovingly restored has been sold.

Elizabeth Cottage, on Billericay High Street, can be traced back to the 17th century, but the building’s legacy lives on with the first owners of part of the renovation set to move in soon.

With the first flat sold at £220,000, developer John Dawson’ hard work over the past few years has paid off at last.

Mr Dawson, who was responsible for turning the crumbling building into modern homes, experienced “delay after delay” during the project.


The 62-year-old said: “The feedback has been really great, especially after the struggles we had.

“There’s been delays in getting supplies delivered, just as we were starting on that part of the project. There were shortages of materials too.

“We’re not ones to give up though, so the positive feedback we’re getting makes it all worthwhile.”

Mr Dawson was given a photograph of the iconic cottage as it looked in the early 20th century, from which he based the transformation.

He ensured bars on the front windows were replicas of what they would have looked like in its heyday.

While Elizabeth Cottage, previously considered an ‘eyesore’, is not heritage listed, it remains at the heart of Billericay’s history.

Vin Harrop, a historian from the town, lauded Mr Dawson for his and the teams work since the restoration began in 2018.

He said: “John deserves a medal, he really does. He’s shown great ingenuity.

“It looks great, and it really fits in well with the high street and the area.

“It’s nice to have a positive thing to say about the high street for once.

“I don’t think anyone else could have done a better job.

“Now that the building is ready for occupation, I shall be writing to Billericay Town Council inviting them to honour him with an award for his work.”

Seven luxury flats will be sold inside the cottage.