Duckworth, Francis

Composer

b Rimington, nr Clitheroe, Lancs 1862, d Colne, Lancs 1941. He grew up next door to the Wesleyan Chapel, the musical and social centre of the village where (in the absence of an organ) 4 of the extended family played in the orchestra. The area was then a lead-mining district, suffering the confusing indignities of boundary changes as the bureaucrats alternated between E Lancs and W Yorks. As a boy, hearing an uncle sing ‘Jesus shall reign…’, Francis is said to have resolved to compose a new tune for such mighty words. Left motherless at 12 years old, he had to leave the village school and contribute his labour to the family grocery business. Eventually he followed his older brothers to nearby Colne, where he settled as a wholesale grocer. There he was organist of Albert Road Methodist chapel for nearly 50 years, some 40 of these as a widower, as his young wife had died in 1901. Apart from the business, music became his life; one highlight was a journey to London to buy an organ for the church. Back at home he composed RIMINGTON in 1904, which was one of his 18 tunes published in the Rimington Hymnal; he also became a Trustee of the Companion Tune Book Trust. At the site of the former chapel at Rimington a plaque was placed to honour him as the tune’s composer who ‘spent his childhood in the adjoining shop and worshipped in this building which was formerly the Methodist chapel’. The opening bars are engraved on his tombstone in the churchyard of St Mary’s Gisburn. No.927.

Tunes and arrangements by Duckworth, Francis

Tune Name
Rimington