Reverend Donald Hinton arrived in the village in October 1977 when he took over as the vicar of Beckindale from William Hockley and moved into the vicarage. Hinton was not keen on small talk, and often made excuses to leave small talk chats, but was a very good listener when people had a problem. His son Clive turned up in early 1978. Hinton married Matt Skilbeck and Dolly Acaster in 1978 and soon became a good friend of the Sugdens. In 1978, he helped in the investigations into a dead body which was found underneath The Woolpack when the boilerman was doing maintenance. Hinton and Mr Moeketski found the skeleton was of a woman who was the ancestor of Sam Pearson. In 1979, Hinton went to Greece for 2 months and returned when his son had been released from prison. In 1986, Hinton had to identify the dead body of murder victim Harry Mowlam. He then asked Derek Warner to do some electrics for him. However, Derek did a shoddy job, so Hinton said he'd hire someone else. Derek then held Hinton hostage at the vicarage when he wanted money to get away, as he was wanted by police for Harry Mowlam's killing. In the end, Hinton persuaded Derek to give himself up to police. In November 1987, Lionel Weiss, a rabbi and a friend of Hinton, came to stay with him. Hinton served the parish until 1989 when he retired.

Hinton returned in October 1993 as a special guest at Annie Sugden's wedding to Leonard Kempinski. This was his final visit to Beckindale. He has not been seen or heard from since.

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