top of page

Francis Duckworth (1862-1941)

Francis was a local Methodist who composed the internationally famous hymn tune ‘Rimington’, traditionally sung to the words of ‘Jesus shall reign where’er the sun’.


He was born in Rimington on Christmas day 1862. He moved to Stopper Lane at the age of 5 where his parents kept the grocery store and post office next door to the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. He grew up surrounded by music becoming organist first at Stopper Lane and then at Albert Road chapel in Colne after moving to the town with his 2 older brothers to find work following the death of his mother when he was 12 and his surviving younger siblings only 4, 6 and 7. (There had been at least 11 children born in 18 years). Following a short period of work in Burnley he returned to Colne and became a successful wholesale grocer and remained in the town for the rest of his life.

He was widowed in 1901 and music became his life. Purchase of an organ from London inspired his work in composition of hymn tunes and Rimington was performed for the first time in Colne Whitsuntide processions of 1904. He later produced a book of 18 hymn tunes, the Rimington Hymnal, dedicated to his daughter who died in 1917. (His son, Francis, died in 1942 on war service). The tune ‘Rimington’ was most famously sung by the Lancashire Fusiliers on Mount of Olives, on the Sunday following General Allenby's capture of Jerusalem in December 1917.

He completed over 50 years as a Methodist Organist and on his resignation made a donation of £50 to the Methodist Church for the blessings he received in these roles.

He is buried in the churchyard at St Mary’s, Gisburn and his grave is engraved with the opening lines of the hymn tune Rimington. A plaque to his memory was placed above the door of the Stopper Lane chapel (and is now on the site of the chapel?) honouring him as ‘the composer who spent his childhood in the adjoining shop and worshipped in this building.’


Further reading:

Francis Duckworth.jpg
bottom of page