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Frank Rimington

Frank Charles Rimington

Frank Charles Rimington (1905-1991) was born into a working class family in Long Eaton, Derbyshire. On leaving school at 16 he was apprenticed to the Nottingham firm Boots the Chemist. He studied in his spare time and eventually obtained a degree in pharmacy from Nottingham University.

He remained with Boots for the rest of his working life as a manager and dispensing chemist. He took over the shop in Scarborough in the mid 1930’s and remained there until his retirement aged 60. For several years following this he did locum pharmacy work.  He was a physically big man with a booming voice and was a well-known and popular figure in Scarborough.

For some years after settling in Scarborough Frank was an active member of the local Naturalist Society, becoming something of an expert on lichens and fungi. However, his interests gradually moved into the areas of archaeology and local history and in 1947 he was a founder member and first Chairman of the Scarborough and District Archaeological Society (as it was first named). He later held the offices of secretary, chairman (again) and editor.

The Society  showed its appreciation of those contributions by the conferment of Life Membership upon him and by his election as a Vice-President. In addition to his work as an officer of the Society, he was very active as an archaeologist and made a remarkable contribution not only to the work of the Society but also to our knowledge of the archaeology and history of this area.  Only some of the excavations which he directed can be mentioned here.

The deserted medieval village of Osgodby was first excavated in 1956, when the site still was largely deserted.  Modern housing development has since turned Osgodby into a suburb of Scarborough and one of the new roads is called ‘Rimington Way’ to commemorate his work in excavating the site of the former village and researching its history.  Another deserted medieval village was Hatterboard, which was merely a name in the historical records, its site uncertain, until Frank Rimington located it in fields to the west of Scalby Road.

Subsequently he worked at Ayton Castle, investigating the surviving building and excavating some of the surrounding earthworks, and later at Allerston, where he excavated the site of the medieval manor house between the main road and the church.  He was also much involved in work on Levisham Moor, a complex site where excavations and surveys were carried out over a period of many years.

In addition to these major excavations there were a number of smaller ones, for example the fulling mill at East Ayton.

Because much of his work involved mediaeval sites, excavations had to be accompanied by historical research.  After he ceased to be actively engaged in digging he continued to pursue his interest in local history, two major undertakings being his investigation of the deer parks of north-east Yorkshire and his work on the history of Ravenscar and Staintondale.
Frank Rimington was a popular speaker and gave many lectures not only on archaeology and local history but also on his travels - and he had travelled widely both in Britain and abroad. He was very conscientious in publishing the results of his work in the Society’s Transactions, its Research Reports and elsewhere and also contributed many articles to the Scarborough Mercury. 

Frank died in 1991 aged 87 after a number of years of failing health. He never lost his interest in local history and archaeology.

Adapted from an article by David Futty which was published in Transactions 29, 1992 with addition material by Christopher Hall and Gillian Rimington





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