We know that the house had been built by 1839, because it is visible in a tithe map published at that time. For the first 80 years or so it was known as ‘Place Fell House’. Confusingly, the neighbouring older house that is now known as ‘Wordsworth’s Cottage’ was at that time called ‘Broad How’. On the tithe map, the whole estate (Place Fell House, Broad How and the barn that is now known as ‘Rooking Ghyll Barn) are described as ‘Broad How’.
In the tithe map Elizabeth Wilson is shown as owner and occupier of the Broad How estate, her husband William having died in 1836. It is clear from the 1841 census that the house was originally called Place Fell House, and Elizabeth is listed as head of the household. The house has nine occupants. Elizabeth Wilson was the head of the household, and the owner of Place Fell House, for at least the next 30 years. In 1851 she was living there with her step-daughter, Margaret. By 1861 Margaret seems to have moved out and she is living there on her own with one servant. She is still there, on her own with one servant, in 1871, this time describing herself as a retired hotel keeper.
Elizabeth died on the 1st July 1873, aged 85. Her grave can be found in St Patrick’s churchyard (South West, row 7,monument 3, grave 305), with the inscription just decipherable: ‘In memory of Elizabeth Wilson, Place Fell House, Patterdale, died July 1st 1873, aged 85 years.’