It is more than likely that milling corn in Rimington was never a full time occupation here, but fitted in with all the other aspects of a farmer's life, done as and when the farming cycle required. Sometimes also at prearranged times for local farmers who wanted small quantities of grain milling for their own domestic use, and when the local shops ordered a bulk quantity.
Other local townships (Note 1 below) had their own corn mills too e.g. Downham, Grindleton and Gisburn. All seeking extra business if tenants weren't compelled to only patronise their own landlord's mill. A 13th century Rimington indenture (Appendix 1 below) shows the then mill owner had a relaxed attitude towards his tenants: ‘And if it shall please the said Walter and his heirs to grind at the mill of Rimington, they shall grind at five per cent; but if they do not wish to, let them grind where they please’.
But there must have been sufficient arable land and business in Rimington in the first place to have warranted a corn mill being erected and equipped here; a weir constructed on Rimington Beck, plus a goit (Note 2) approximately 650 metres long leading to a large pond and dam, all dug out to ensure a sufficient supply of water power to turn the waterwheel for the corn milling. Strangely there wasn't just one corn mill in Rimington – not a place to do things by halves, think 2 schools and 2 chapels. There was another corn mill in the village at Howgill. (Note 3) In his book ‘Industrial Heritage A Guide to The Industrial Archaeology of the Ribble Valley’, Mike Rothwell describes the Howgill site as 'obscure.' A good description.
Both mills were working in 1539 when another Indenture was drawn up whereby Henry Pudsay leased the ‘ij Corne mylnes... in the lordshippe of Remyngton…’ to John Jakes and John Hog for a term of 21 years.. (Who was to run which mill wasn't stated. Appendix 2 below.)
Neither John Jakes nor John Hog were actually described as a miller. The first miller identified as such is Thomas Bank (Note 4) . He's described as a ‘Miller’ in the Gisburn Parish Register of March 1756 when he married local girl Julian Wilkinson. He is described as 'of Rimington' in the record of the baptism of his first child, Julian, later that same year. He was the youngest son of William Bank.
William was also 'of Rimington' and for a short while 'of Howgill'. None of the known records state he was ever a miller but rather a yeoman. He first appears in the parish register on the baptism of his eldest son William in 1715. He was also of some social standing being one of two constables (Note 5) for the township on at least one one-year term in 1720. There is no evidence to suggest he was born and brought up in the area.
It is possible he was also a miller who learnt his trade elsewhere, or became a miller's apprentice at one of the two mills. He married Sarah Wilkinson daughter of John Wilkinson, Husbandman, of Rimington c1710. He is recorded as 'of Rimington' at the baptisms of four of his children, and 'of Howgill' at two of them, in 1723 and 1725. (The eldest two's records are missing.) Mike Rothwell states that Howgill Mill appears to become disused in the eighteenth century. Perhaps it was William who was the last miller to mill there and moved to Rimington Mill when the opportunity arose, economic factors of some description forcing the landlord to close Howgill Mill for good. William died in 1753.
As stated above William was a constable of the village. His corn miller son Thomas was also an occasional byelawman (Note 6) in his adulthood. The Rimington Accounts book show he was a byelawman in 1758, and from 1783 was one of a team of three or four adults on a 5yr cycle rota as byelawmen in the village. He passed away March 1804.
Thomas and Julian had 11 children though 3 died young. It was their 9th child Thomas who was the first to become the next miller. Later his eldest brother William became the miller. These brothers appear to have spent most of their lives living and working at Bridge End (Note 7), either at the mill or on the farm. (The plan of the 1848 Rimington Tithe Award shows an occupied property on the land just above the mill, on the south side of the lane below ‘Ainhams’, now just a field, as well as the occupied property across the lane – Bridge End Farm.)
Thomas was described as ‘Miller’ in the Rimington return of the Craven Muster Roll compiled in 1803 because of the threat of invasion by Napoleon and his army. He was also entered under Class One which identifies him as being unmarried. He married Martha Hague in 1809 and was described as ‘Farmer’ in the marriage register. He appears to have quit being the miller by 1816. That year his oldest brother William was recorded ‘Miller’ on the property's annual tax assessment return, and again in the 1821 edition of Baines' Directory of West Yorkshire.
Thomas and Martha had two children, Thomas and Mary, but sadly Martha died in 1813 four years into their marriage. Thomas never remarried. He continued being a farmer. He was also a byelawman like his father, fitting in the 5yr duty cycle where his father had been, until 1828. He died in 1844 by which time he was living at his son-in-law's home Field House, Mylah.
Before becoming the miller his brother William was described as ‘Labourer’ in the above-named Craven Muster Roll, and ‘Weaver’ in the register at his probable marriage to Betty Briggs at Gisburn in 1799. (Both stated ages are older than they should be in the record , hence the uncertainty.) They had no children. William died in 1850. He left a will leaving fourteen equal shares between his and Betty's siblings, nieces and nephews. He described himself as ‘Farme’r in his will which was witnessed by Stephen Dean and William Banks. His worldly goods came to the value of less than £200.
It would be expected that witness William Banks, with such a surname would be a close relative. He was not. But he was the current miller at Rimington and had been for several years before the former William died.
He was the illegitimate son of Susan Bank of Grindleton, born in 1812. She was the daughter of Henry Bank, Miller, of Grindleton. (Note 8) William no doubt watched his grandfather milling the corn when he was growing up. Come 1841 he was 29 and manservant to William Moon, cornmiller of Gisburn. He married Alice Hartley at Downham in 1844. The church records show he was now a miller by trade and living at Rimington.
William & Alice had seven children. In 1851 he was miller and farmer of 57 acres, employing 3 servants including John Hartley, also a miller. (In 1846 16 of these acres were described as ‘of arable cultivation’.) By 1871 William was just the farmer and his eldest surviving son, William Junr was the miller, aged 20. Also helping in the businesses were 17 year old twins Mary & Joseph (Mary the elder by 30 minutes) and 10 year-old brother Henry. There was also a 3 year old granddaughter, Alice living with the family. William Senior Died Oct 1872 and described himself ‘Cornmiller’ when he made his will.
By the time the next census was taken in 1881 there was no miller present in Rimington. William Junior had moved to Skipton to be miller for William & George Mattock Millers and Corn Dealers of High Mills and High Street. His brother Henry had left Rimington and was a gamekeeper for a Westmorland estate before returning later with his wife, Elizabeth and young family to live at Newby Farm (Yew Tree Farm) where six more children were born, and later at Bridge End Farm for a time. (His interest in gamekeeping stemmed from his grandfather, Stephen Hartley who was also a gamekeeper.) Their brother Joseph (Joe) never married and remained at Bridge End up until his death in 1910.
So it appears corn milling ceased in Rimington between 1871 and 1881. The mill was certainly in disuse by May 1901. On 23rd of that month the local land agent wrote to his landlord's estate office at Bramhope. He had come upon J. Banks at the old mill carting away good stone, which was promised to someone else, and considered eight cart loads had already been taken.
1. A manor or civil parish.
2. A water channel.
3. Why were there were two corn mills in Rimington? One possibility is that in the very early days of the township there were two landlords each holding sizeable acreage in the township, and both had to have a corn mill. Or perhaps Howgill was a manor in its own right at one time, so had its own mill – Manor Farm is in Howgill and quite close to the site of the mill.
4. The Bank surname is spelled Bank or Banks depending on the document involved.
5. An officer appointed by the manor or parish with a range of duties including collecting local and national rates and taxes, upkeep of the stocks or other means of punishment.
6. A later term for constable. In Rimington it also involved monitoring the stock on Rimington moor. See the file: Rimington Moor – Rules and Regulations.
7. The person usually stated they lived at Bridge End, but Rimington Bridgend, Rimington Mill, Rimington Bridge are also recorded.
8. There surely is a family connection between the Bank corn millers of Rimington and those of Grindleton. It just hasn't been discovered yet.

More information about the two corn mill sites can be found in the Industrial Archaeology section of the website.

Other notable Banks of Rimington

The Thomas Banks who was grocer of Stopper Lane, farmer and property speculator (see Stopper Lane Deeds) was a grandson of the above Thomas and Julian Bank. Harry Banks who lost his life so close to the end of the Great War, and is remembered on the plaque inside the village's war memorial Rimington Memorial Institute, was the only son of former gamekeeper Henry & Elizabeth Banks of Bridge End. (They had eight daughters.)

Brian Stott – January 2021 

Appendix 1 - Early 13th Century Indenture

Know all, etc., that I, Adam son of Hugh de Leley, have granted to Philipp de Cukewald, for his homage and service, and for five marks of silver which he has given me, half a carucate of land in Rimington, which Philipp has reclaimed out [of] the waste, in which he dwells. And besides the third part of Hocroft which is next the west, namely, to hold and have to Philipp and his heirs, of me and my heirs, for life of Dionisia his spouse, doing therefore, for us, as much foreign service as pertains to half a carucate of land in a fee in which twelve carucates of land make a knight's fee. And after the death of the said Dionisia, the said Philipp and his heirs shall render to me and my heirs yearly twelve pence for the said half carrucate, and six pence for the third part of Hocroft, viz., nine pence at Pentecost and nine pence at Martinmas, and the aforesaid foreign service. And if it shall please Philipp and his heirs to grind my mill of Rimington, they shall grind at five per cent; but, if they do not wish to, let them grind where they please. And I, Adam, will warrant, etc.
Witnesses:- Henry de Perci of Giseburne, Hugh de Calton, John d'hauton and his sons, Hugh de Neuton and his sons, Symon de Kirkebi, Helias de Rimington and his sons, William son of Baldewin and his sons, Walter de Gasegile, Adam de Neubi, William de Midhope, Adam de Westbi.

Appendix 2 – 1539 Indenture

Two Corne milnes in Remyngton
February 9th 1539
[Transcribed in Old English with the 2021 interpretation beneath each line.]

Thys Indenture made the ixth day of Februarie in the xxxty yere of the reigne of our
This Indenture made the 9th day of February in the 30th year of the reign of our
Soveran liege lord Henre the Eght by the grace of God kyng of England and of Fraunce
Sovereign Liege Lord Henry the Eighth by the grace of God King of England and of France
defender of the fayth lorde of Yrlond and in Erth supreme hed of the Churche of England
Defender of the Faith Lord of Ireland and in Earth Supreme Head of the Church of England
Betwix Henry Pudsay of Barforth in the Countie of Yorke Squyer opon the one partie and
Between Henry Pudsay of Barforth in the County of York Squire upon the one part and
John Jakes and John Hog on the other partie Wittenessith that the sayd Henre Pudsay
John Jakes and John Hog on the other part Witness that the said Henry Pudsay
Squyer hath grauntyd dismysed and leten to Ferme unto the Forsayd John Jakes and
Squire has granted, demised and let to term unto the aforesaid John Jakes and
John Hog and to theyre assigns ij Corne mylnes wt all thynges that to thaym perteneth
John Hog and to their assignees 2 Corn mills with all things that to them pertaining
in the lordshippe of Remyngton in the said Countie. To have and to holde the said ij
in the lordship of Remington in the said County. To have and to hold the said 2
corne mylnes wt all and singular thynges to thaym belongyng unto the Forsayd John
corn mills with each and every things to them belonging unto the aforesaid John
Jakes and John Hog and to thayre assignes from the date of this Indenture unto the Ende
Jakes and John Hog and to their assignees from the date of this Indenture unto the End
and terme of xxtyi yeres next foloyng be fully complete and rouuen Yeldyng and payng
and term of 21 years next following be fully complete and run(?) Yielding and paying
therfor yerely to the sayd Henre Pudsay to hys heyres or assignes iiij markes of gud
therefore yearly to the said Henry Pudsay to his heirs or assignees 4 marks of good
usuall money of Englond at ij Termes of the yere tht is to say at Candelmesse and Saint
usual money of England at 2 Times of the year that is to say at Candlemass and Saint
Laurence day by egall portions or Wtin xij dayes next ensuyng ayther of the sayd termes
Laurence Day by equal portions or within 12 days next ensuing either of the said terms
And if hyt shall happen the Forsayd Rent of iiij markes to be unpayd any yere terms.
And if it shall happen the aforesaid Rent of 4 marks do be unpaid any year terms
duryng the sayd terme at awther of the sayd tymes tht hit ought to be payd at by the
during the said term at either of the said times that it ought to be paid at by the
space of xij dayes as is aforesayd Then hyt shall be leafull unto the sayd Henre Pudsay
space of 12 days as is aforesaid Then it shall be lawful unto the said Henry Pudsay
hys heyres and assignes to distreyne the Goodes and catalles of the sayd John Jakes
his heirs and assignees to distrain [seize] the Goods and chattels of the said John Jakes
and John Hog and thayre assignes Whereso ever thei shall fynde thaym or the goodes of
and John Hog and their assignees Wheresoever they shall find them or the goods of
any of them and the distresses then to holde and reteyne unto them selffe unto they be
any of them and the distraints then to hold and retain unto them self unto they be
fully content and payed the Forsayd Rent Wt arrerages if any be and for defawte of
fully content and paid the aforesaid Rent with arrears if any be and for default of
sufficient distresses to entre and have agayn the same in thayre olde state this Indenture
sufficient distraints to enter and have again the same in their old state this Indenture
to the contrarie not Wtstandyng and hit is agreyd tht the sayd John and John and thayr
the contrary notwithstanding and it is agreed that the said John and John and their
assignes shall reparell and upholde the sayd ij Corne mylnes Wt all tht to them perteneth
assignees shall maintain and uphold the said 2 Corn mills With all that to them pertaining
tenandeable on thayre propre costes duryng all the sayd terme and shall leyfe thaym
chargeable on their proper [own] costs during all the said term and shall leave them
sufficiently repareldes at the terme ende at the syght of the iiij howselokers of the sayd
sufficiently maintained at the term end at the inspection of the 4 surveyors(?) of the said
lordshippe and the sayd Henre Pudsay is agreyd and graunteth tht he hys heyres and
lordship and the said Henry Pudsay is agreed and grants that he, his heirs and
assigns on thayre costes shall bryng and fynde the greate Tymber and Yrne to the sayd
assignees on their costs shall bring and find the great Timber and Iron to the said
mylnes duryng the sayd terme. In witnesse wherof the parties above sayd to these
mills during the said term. In witness whereof the parties above said to these
presentes enterchaungably ayther partie to other hath sett thayre Sealles the day and
present interchangeably either party to the other have set their Seals the day and
yere above Wryten.
year above Written
(Signed) John Jakes