Our Address:

Old Hall Farm
Old Hall Lane
Tolleshunt D’Arcy

Contact Us:

Tel: 01621 869278

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'I just wanted to say thank you so much for a wonderful break this

weekend. The cottage was absolutely lovely, so clean and well equipped. We fell in love with the area, and will definately be back.'


1The house now known as Old Hall dates back to the 17th century and for most of its history has served as a public house, originally known as the Crooked Billet and then The Ship Ahoy (or The ‘hoy).  It served the bustling trade that came into the Ship Ahoy Quay in the form of barges laden with various cargoes such as coal from Newcastle and flint from Kent.

It was well known as a hang-out for smugglers and the story of the murder of six customs men in the 18th century, found with their throats cut in a boat moored in the creek, adds a certain atmosphere, especially on dark windswept evenings.   

A brick works located adjacent to the Quay was the intended recipient of some of the raw product coming into the quay but much found its way onto the so-called ‘Crab and Winkle’ railway line which stretched from Tollesbury to Kelvedon and which passed by at the end of Old Hall Lane.     

In 1917 the building ceased being a pub and since that time has been a private house and Shooting Lodge for the Guisnes Court Estate.  

In the 1950s the original warehouse which sat on the sea wall burned down and any remnants of the quay structures can only be seen at low tide and are slowly disappearing into the mud.

In 1984 Old Hall was acquired by the current owners and the adjoining marshes were bought by the RSPB and which are now a successful bird reserve offering wetland habitats for a number of rare species and its international significance is recognised by its designation as an Ramsar site in 1995.

Its attractive setting especially when viewed from Tollesbury or from the open water at the mouth of the Blackwater Estuary has brought a certain amount of attention over the years.  In S Baring Gould’s novel Mehalah, the house is believed to have been the inspiration for the ‘Red Hall’ home to the heroine’s landlord.   Most recently the marsh close by was used by the BBC for the filming of Great Expectations.   

The newly built cottages sit on the site of the old farm cow sheds and match the original building’s footprint and height.