This can be found to the right by the first tree as you approach the church from the car park. Christopher Duckworth must have known the moors and valleys of Rossendale better than anyone in the late 1700s for he had “followed a gang of pack horses for upwards of half a century”, until his death in 1800.
Pack horse trails were the main way of transporting goods in the early 18th century, as the main roads were few and difficult underfoot. Packs of “gals” (Galloway ponies) moved in a long, straggling string travelling at about 2 miles per hour but often keeping going for eight to ten hours a day. The animals were usually gaunt, lean and scraggy, browsing for food anywhere they could along the way. Often a long pack was only accompanied by one person.
Christopher began his travels as a boy of ten, working first for Richard Lonsdale and then for his son, Daniel. Richard was a corn chandler. Christopher’s gravestone lies next to that of the Lonsdale family and in a way seems much more interesting than theirs as it contains the following epitaph and poetic tribute:
Underneath This stone are depofited the Remains of Chriftopher Duck-Worth: who (in the Capacity of Servant to Mr Richard Lonfdale and his Son Mr Daniel Lonfdale of Hafling-den) followed a Gang of Pack Horfes upwards of half a Cen-tury and died on the 18th Day of June 1800. Aged 66 Years.
Fifty fix Years he inoffenfive mov’d
Loving his Horfes by his Horfes lov’d
In faithful Servitude the Roads along
And feldom faid, and feldom did he wrong
His faithful Services have due Regard,
His Mafster’s Honor and high Heavens Reward
Where long prov’d Worth & Honefty combine
To illume his Spirits with a Ray divine.
A grateful Mafter whom he lov’d and fear’d
With tearful Eye this Stone memorial rear’d
Reader repofe in Chrift the Lord thy Truft
Like honeft Chriftopher Be true and juft
To read this, remember that the letter “f” sometimes replaced the letter “s” when this inscription was carved.
This gravestone was probably erected by Daniel Lonsdale, in memory of Christopher Duckworth, as Daniel’s father, Richard had died four years before the death of Christopher.
Hylton and Sylvia Craig.