Lancashire TelegraphTourist guide to Rimington (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Tourist guide to Rimington

Lancashire Telegraph: TIMELY REMINDER: The sundial at Martin Top with its message TIMELY REMINDER: The sundial at Martin Top with its message

THIS delightful village has over the years had a variety of names.

It was probably in existence by Anglo-Saxon times and was listed in the Domesday Book as called Renistone.

When postcards were first being sent by post it was often called Rimmington with two ms.

For a village, Rimington has a very impressive and upmarket dress shop to which clients travel miles.

Next door is the Black Bull pub, once a coaching inn but now a fine example of a themed pub.

Close to the bar is a museum tracing the history of 20th century transport including transatlantic liners, steam trains and aeroplanes.

Rimington earns its living these days mostly from farming and is surrounded by some fascinating hamlets, including Stopper Lane, Howgill, Middop Newby and Martin Top.

In Elizabethan times Squire Pudsay, who lived at Bolton Hall in Bolton-by-Bowland, had a silver mine close to Stopper Lane and there was also lead mining nearby.

In the 16th century all silver coins had to be declared and a toll paid to the monarch.

Pudsay decided not to declare his mine but when the authorities came to arrest him he ran away to London.

There he begged mercy from the Queen and some say she pardoned him because Pudsay was her grandson.

Others are more cynical and point out that Pudsay gave the mine to the Queen!

Nobody is quite sure what happened to the silver mine but lead mining was an important industry in the Stopper Lane area until well into the 19th century.

Why is Rimington world famous? This is because a man called Francis Duckworth was born on Christmas Day in the village and was a talented musician from Victorian times to his death in the 1940s.

He loved conducting brass bands and wrote many hymn tunes which he named after local villages, such as Downham.

His tune Rimington is sung all over the north with the words "Jesus shall reign where'er the sun".

Rimington does not have a parish church but it is very close to the equally attractive settlement of Gisburn.

Francis Duckworth's grave is in St Mary's churchyard there.

A few bars of his most famous tune are inscribed on his gravestone.

Duckworth did not have an easy life. When he was five he moved with his family to Stopper Lane, where they ran the village shop.

This was next door to a Wesleyan Chapel, which is now a private residence.

The family were all devout Christians, especially his uncle Joe, whose favourite phrase was "Jesus Shall Reign Where'er the Sun," from which in 1904 he penned the words to his most famous hymn tune.

Francis's mother died when he was only 12 and to begin with he worked for his brother, who was a printer.

In 1899 he opened his own grocer's shop in Colne.

He was by that time well known as a musician and one of the best organists in the district.

The moment the Rimington tune was first heard it proved irresistible and soon spread all over the world.

In the Whitsuntide processions at Colne a massed choir of 20,000 voices raised their voices in praise of Rimington.

A plaque in the village records both the man and his tune and this village willingly gives its name to the Christian world.

Visitors should not miss seeing the chapel at Martin Top, which dates to the 18th century and is in a splendid state of repair.

There is a fine sundial on the wall which warns us all that time flies away very quickly and should not be wasted.

The walk from Rimington to Downham passes Downham Mill, now a private residence, but which still has a damp area which was once the mill pond.

Nearby are some small limestone hills called Drumlins.

These tell us that this area was once covered in a shallow sea which was full of molluscs.

Millions of years ago global warming increased the temperature and the seas evaporated.

The molluscs were all compressed together to make up what we now know as limestone.

There are plenty of excellent walks and strolls around Rimington, most routes offering spectacular views of Pendle Hill.

Another network of paths lead down to Gisburn or on to Downham and Twiston, which are also beautiful and historically interesting settlements.

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