Hymn gave Francis world fame

LEGEND: Francis Duckworth, a musical giant. (s)
LEGEND: Francis Duckworth, a musical giant. (s)
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This week our column pens tributes to a world famous composer whose hymn “In the Rimington”, coupled with Dr Watts lyrics “Jesus Shall Reign”, is played throughout the English-speaking world.

Francis Duckworth, seen here, was born on Christmas Day, 1852, in Rimington, his brothers being the entrepreneurial duo Caleb and Joshua Duckworth.

The multi-talented triumvirate would become highly successful in Colne, with Francis opening a grocery store at number 33 Market Street in November, 1889,

Later, Francis would open a wholesale grocers’ warehouse in 1895 down Spring Lane, while also composing many outstanding hymn tunes. His specially-built home at Alkincoates Villas, built in 1909, was named Swanside after his hymn tune and in 1930 Colne’s latest street was named Rimington Avenue after the now-famed composition.

On August 16th, 1941, Francis, aged 78, died at his home and he was mourned throughout the whole area.

Francis Duckworth had played the organ at Albert Road’s Methodist Church in Colne from his early years until 1929.

Back in the 1950s when I attended Albert Road Methodist Church I remember an ancient wooden chair about which our Sunday school teachers would always say “That’s where Francis Duckworth sat”.