Essex Rose Tea House
How wonderful to take a stroll through parts of the countryside which are little changed from the times when English painter John Constable lived here and painted his favourite scenes.
The 16th Century Essex Rose Tea House is open seven days a week, every week of the year except over the Christmas period. Traditional table service, historic quiet and comfortable surroundings and good value home-made food guarantee that you’ll be made welcome, enjoy your visit, and want to return soon.
The tea house serves a range of sandwiches, jacket potatoes, cooked lunches, hot and cold snacks, and home-baked cakes. When you next visit us, try the special: cream tea served with ‘Tiptree’ strawberry conserve and Rodda’s clotted cream.
Dedham: The English painter John Constable is ranked alongside Turner as one of our greatest landscape artists. It is recorded that Constable eschewed the artistic conventions of his compatriots and developed his own techniques of rendering the landscape in a more realistic manner. Constable was born in East Bergholt in the Stour valley and grew up in and around Dedham. The Stour valley and Dedham Vale in particular are famed for their ‘big skies’, wide open countryside with gentle contours and little to distract from nature. Today, this whole area is protected as an area of outstanding natural beauty and much of the meadowland and river is owned by the National Trust. Working extensively in the open air, Constable did sometimes resort to the studio where he produced his famed ‘six-footers’, huge landscapes replicated from more rudimentary oil sketches.
A short stroll from the Essex Rose takes one to Dedham Mill (now a collection of expensive apartments), across the fields to Flatford lock and the site of Constable’s most famous painting – ‘the haywain’. Take a photo from the exact spot where Constable painted this latter scene and ponder what that cart was actually doing in the middle of the mill pond – cooling its wheels perhaps?
The Essex Rose Tea House. Around five hundred years old, listed and mentioned frequently in historic surveys and reports, The Essex Rose at Dedham is a fine timber-framed building looking out across Royal Square and towards the church. The church itself is interesting and rather grand. Sometimes it has an original Constable on display, straight ahead of you as you enter the building.
The Essex Rose has served many diverse purposes over the centuries but it first found fame as a tea house more than half a century ago when Miss Loe began to cater for the tourists that were flocking to the area.
One cannot mention The Essex Rose without also speaking of Del Bower. Del, a wonderful, larger-than-life character made the Essex Rose into something very special. Not only was it emphatically his tea house, it was also his home for many years. Del and his wife Peg still live nearby and are often to be found enjoying a pot of Assam tea and a scone in the Essex Rose.
Visit the Essex Rose. From the A12 between Colchester and Ipswich, take any one of three exits (we prefer the middle one) and head towards Dedham, just a couple of minutes’ drive. Park in the nearby car park off Mill Lane or in the centre of the village if you can find a space. Be warned, there is a time limit for street parking and very occasionally a traffic warden arrives to enforce it. Local lore maintains that parking on the gravel area on Royal Square has no such restriction.
The Essex Rose is the timber-framed pink building right on the square, across the road from the Marlborough pub. Limited wheelchair access is available. Coach parties and larger groups welcome, please ring ahead to book for groups of 8 or more.