A Victorian travel writer, William Howitt came to Mitton, more than 150 years ago, he described it as “one of the most perfect nooks of the world, one of the places that stand as they stood ages ago” such words have never been nearer than the truth, for the appearance of the picturesque village in Mitton, has hardly changed in the last few hundred years.
Mitton lies in Lancashire in that surprising wedge between the Ribble and the Hodder, and it is from that fact that it derived its name, Midtown, which through the centuries evolved to the present name - Mitton
The Three Fishes, has for all its existence of some 400 years always been a public house and named The Three Fishes. The inn was supposedly named according to the arms of Abbott Paslew, last Abbott of Whalley Abbey, the Paslew arms are “three fishes pendant” which appears as a carved stonework, said to be from the ruins of the abbey, over the pub entrance.
All round Whalley you will find the arms of the abbots of Whalley, and everywhere that Whalley Abbey had influence one finds the pendant referred to as The Three Fishes. If the three fish represent the three rivers which meet within the parish of Whalley – Hodder, Calder and Ribble, it is fitting maybe that the inn at Mitton should carry the name of The Three Fishes.
“the Ribble, the Hodder, the Calder, the rain – all flow into Mitton demeane”
The Three Fishes Inn was a place of refreshment on the old road between the 16th century bridge at Lower Hodder and the ferry at Mitton. Folk came from long distances to worship at All Hallows church and the inn served their needs; travellers were glad to rest and refresh themselves on the way to Whalley, Preston, Clitheroe or Ribchester.
It was at The Three Fishes that the ancient Court Leet of Mitton took place. This last relic of the feudal times came to an end about 60 years ago, but in the olden days, practically the whole of local government was conducted at the Court Leet.
It is reported that in the late 16th and early 17th century the Three Fishes would be a hiding place for criminals and that at times some of the Pendle Witches were kept here until they were taken up to Lancaster.