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Hindle's Of Rishton (1)

Hindle's Of Rishton (2)



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The Hindles, or Hindleys, were a numerous and important family in Rishton during the 16th century, and had been settled in the village from early times, for the name is included in a list of freeholders written during the 14th century. The main stock had long resided in Cowhill , but one branch of this family had settled in Tottleworth during the early part of the 16th century. At first both branches were farmers, but at a later date some members became dealers in linen cloth, which were then made in the homes of local farmer tenants by the family, when the day's work out in the field was finished.

In A.D. 1569 a Christopher Hindle, a chapman, or dealer in cloth, sold several pieces of linen cloth to the executors of Robert Nowell, of Gray's Inn, for charitable distribution. About the same time other members of the family, - John, Jenkin, William, and Robert - also in the same business sold cloths to these same executors of Robert Nowell.

The Christian name Christopher appears to have been the favourite one for male members of this family. The Christopher Hindle mentioned above was buried in the churchyard at Great Harwood on the 30th September, 1597. Another Christopher married Jane Hodgson in 1563, and a Christopher Hindle de Cowell was buried in Blackburn Church on February 24th, 1610.

But the most important Christopher Hindle was baptised at Harwood Church on March 10th, 1592. After leaving university, he was instituted to the Vicarage of Ribchester on February 5th, 1617, on the presentation of the Bishop of Chester. During the Civil War, between Charles I, and Parliament, Vicar Hindle was a staunch supporter of the King, and when the Parliamentary forces were in power in this district, Vicar Hindle paid dearly for his devotion to the King's cause.

Hindle's greatest opponent in Ribchester was a William Ingham, who became vicar himself when Hindle was finally deprived of his living in 1649. George Ogden, Vicar of Ribchester after Rev. W. Ingham, has left us much valuable information of the sufferings of Vicar Hindle during this eventful period. He tells us that "Ingham was an inferior, ignorant man and a religious knave," and in a few well-chosen sentences he describes the despicable means adopted by Ingham to obtain his own ends.

"Ignorant Ingham ingratiating himself with some fiery rebellious zealots in this parish procured a certificate and some thirty pounds in money, making them believe he would only be Minister of Longridg Chapell in the Parish of Ribchester, and away goes Ingham to London and procures some authority to be vicar or minister of Ribchester, and to eject Mr. Hindle. Thus he (Mr. Hindle) was forced to quit his place. But Mr. Christopher Hindle was a man whose ffame (fame) will never die till vertue and learning shall become so useless as not to be regarded"

Vicar Ogden also tells us "that ye said Mr. Hindley in Cromwell's time was summoned to appear before an Assembly of Divines at Whalley. Mr. Hindle did appear with a Hebrew Bible, and other books, and by his Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, he confuted and confounded them all with their English oratory. They found his courage and his Learning very great"

Vicar Hindle was deprived of his living in 1647, but he steadfastly refused to leave, even when he received no payment for his services. In 1649 the following scene took place:-

"When Ingham had got into the pulpit one Sunday morning to eject Mr. Hindle by the help of his wicked accomplishes, Mr. Hindle, standing upon ye highest Pulpit Step, preached a sermon, many of Cromwell's soldiers being present in the church, to this effect :-

"My dear Friends and Parishioners:
"First to begin with that which should be most dear unto a nation, our Holy Mother, ye Church and ye Establishment of Religion in its purity and lustre, who is not sensible how far ye Ark of God, namely our Religion, ye glory of our English Israel, and ye Christian world, has been profaned by Sacrilegious hands ? Whilst ye name of Gospel, and Reformation, has been used as a stalking horse to cloak ye blackest designs ye sun ever look't upon; inasmuch that the Church of England may complain and cry out as once ye Church of Israel did (Esa. xxiv. 16), 'My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me; the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously, yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.' "

Throughout the sermon, Vicar Hindle, who had been a keen supporter of the murdered king, Charles I., denounced, in fiery language, Cromwell, his soldiers, and Cromwell's supporters among the members of the congregation. He refers to the execution of Charles as "Scarlet Sin of Murthur," and informs his congregation that the blood of Charles was "of more value then ten thousand of the best of this subjects." He presses home the fact that Crowell's supporters in the congregation are just as guilty of murder as the executioner who obeyed the order of Crowell, and finishes his sermon with :- "I would to God that it was in the Power of my Prayers, to clear those who sit at Westminster of this deep guilt; and of some of you of your assistance to them in contracting it; and that we may not incur ye divine wrath as ye People of Israel did, when they sinned themselves out of Blessing of a King.

His sermon being finished, Vicar Hindle prepared to descend the pulpit steps in order to leave the Church, but one of Ingham's helpers, who had remained in the pulpit with Ingham and others during the time occupied by the Vicar in delivering his sermon, stepped out and pushed Vicar Hindle " with his hand upon ye shoulder to cast him upon his face, and said: 'There, ye Vicar ! Is this man fit to preach, and is drunk ?' - but it was a very false and lying slander thrown upon ye gentleman, with ye mouth of envy and deadly hatred.

(The pulpit at Ribchester was placed there in Vicar Hindle's time. It is dated 1636 C.H.)

After Vicar Hindle had left the church he was attacked " by hot Oliverians and knock't off his horse, and as ye Vicar related with his own mouth, had burst his head, and but for ye wisdom of God had taken his life."

It was already been mentioned that the Hindles were landed gentry living in Cowhill , and after his expulsion from Ribchester in 1649, Vicar Hindle came to live with his brother John, a farmer, at Cowhill Fold, where the Vicar also held land. We are also told that he " came and preach't at Ribchester and at Cowell (Cowhill), and he went every Sunday from Cowell, about seven miles to Ribchester, to preach there" : but no one in Ribchester dare give him a meal, so that he was compelled to take with him " a piece of bread and cheese, or a dried herring or two in his pockett."

It is only right to bear in mind that Mr. Ogden, whose notes have been quoted from extensively above, was himself a staunch Royalist and also that his information was obtained chiefly from Vicar Hindle's sympathisers at Ribchester. But this Rishton worthy's zeal, courage, and devotion to his Church and religion are amply proved.

Thus ends the story of one of Rishton's little known, yet important men,who gave his life for his Church and hid king. He died at Cowhill in August, 1657, and was buried at Church Kirk, were the parish register records :-

August 29, 1657: Christopher Hindle, Minister of God's word, of Cowell. Buried.

Vicar Hindle had five children - Andrew Hindle, son of C. Hindle, Vicar of Ribchester, baptised January 25th, 1623; Rhoda, baptised February 14th, 1624; Elizabeth, baptised January 25th, 1627; Anne, baptised March 7th, 1630; and Jane, baptised at Blackburn, April 28th, 1633.

Christopher Hindle, nephew of Vicar Hindle, married an Ellen Collinson in April 1654. They had two daughters, Margaret and Elizabeth. After the death of Ellen his wife, Christopher married Anne Halliwell, and had three sons, Christopher, Henry, and John. The youngest son, John, after his marriage, went to live at Height Farm, recently occupied by Mr. George Clarke, of Close Nook. John also had a son John, whose son Christopher married on 30th October, 1715, Elizabeth, the third daughter of Robert Peele, of Peele Fold, and sister of William Peele, whose great-grandson was the great statesman, Sir Robert Peel.

It is not known when the Hindles left Cowhill , but one branch settled at West White House Farm (now Education Office, High Street), and other branches settled in the village itself. There are numerous Hindles, and descendants of Hindles, in the village, and, doubtless, many are descended from the Hindles of Cowhill and Tottleworth. So mixed are these families that it is impossible to trace their descent.


This text has been extracted from a book titled "History of Rishton Parish Church and School. Jubilee Year 1927", and was published by Geo. Toulin & Sons, Ltd., "The Times" Printing Works Northgate, Blackburn. The text was by Carlton Noble, art and history of architecture, Blakey Moor Central School Blackburn.

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