The Setting

Freemasons at Wiswell is set in the beautiful countryside of the Ribble Valley, nestled in the medieval village of Wiswell, just south of Clitheroe. The inn itself was once three small cottages, one of which was a 'freemason's lodge'.

The name Wiswell is commonly spoken as 'wizel'. The true pronunciation is more like 'wize-well', consistent with the original spellings of "Wyswell" or "Wiswall". There are several theories about origins of the name. It is said to come from Old Molly's Well, a local landmark later to become known as Wise Woman's Well (Wise Well). Alternatively, it is thought by some that 'Wis' was the name or part of the name of a pre-Christian chieftain and the hamlet was developed because of a well which provided essential water, hence Wis-well.


Wiswell was not always the affluent area it is today. It is believed that it was the residence of many of the servants of the Old Abbey in Whalley and, later, a stop-off point on the way from Yorkshire to West Lancashire. The Vicarage House in Wiswell is of medieval origin and one of the finest sections of Roman road to be seen in Lancashire lies between Lamb Roe and Wiswell. The town also had a preaching cross and this can still be seen to the right of the road into the town. The shaft of the cross is modern but the site is ancient. Wiswell Farm, on the outskirts of the village, was constructed on the site of Old Wiswell Hall, which was the birthplace of John Paslew. He went on to become the 25th and last of the Abbots of Whalley.

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