Dove Cottage was built in the early 17th Century and for over 170 years was an inn called the ‘Dove and Olive’. It closed in 1793, and in 1799 Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved in. In 1802 after her marriage to William, Mary Hutchinson arrived. Their three oldest children were born at Dove Cottage – John in 1803, Dora in 1804 and Thomas in 1806. William’s friend Thomas De Quincey also lived here, moving in after the Wordsworths left.
The Wordsworths had many visitors to Dove Cottage – Walter Scott, Thomas De Quincey, Charles and Mary Lamb, Robert Southey, Mary’s sister Sara Hutchinson and most of all Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Wordsworth’s growing family and the many visitors meant that Dove Cottage became too small, and in May 1808 they moved to Allan Bank in Grasmere.