On This Day in Trinity House History – 14 July

1685

Samuel Pepys is elected Master (again) of Trinity House

Trinity Monday: Samuel Pepys is elected Master for the second time, under the terms of James II’s Royal Charter.

Samuel Pepys FRS MP JP (23 February 1633 – 26 May 1703) was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament (for Harwich) who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man. Although Pepys had no maritime experience, he rose by patronage, hard work and his talent for administration, to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under both King Charles II and subsequently King James II. His influence and reforms at the Admiralty were important in the early professionalisation of the Royal Navy.


1843

Elder Brethren Drowned on Duty

A Committee of Elder Brethren attempted to land at Trevose Head Lighthouse in a boat from the Vestal. The weather was too bad to permit of landing; on returning to the Vestal, owing to some confusion, the boat was run down by the steamer, resulting in the deaths of Captain Richard Drew and Captain Jenkin Jones, whose bodies were recovered.

The following excerpt of an Elder Brother’s diary is reproduced here from our recently-published history Light Upon The Waters:

“Early on Monday we weighed anchor and steamed out of Penzance Roads, round the Land’s End… towards Trevose Head. It was a brilliant morning, little or no wind, but rather a heavy ground swell. At 9 o’clock we lowered the cutter, Captain Drew (chairman) proposing to land and inspect the outer Quay’s Rock to which Probyn and I urgently dissented, seeing it would be attended with danger.

Drew replied ‘Let us attempt it, at all events,’ and perceiving his obstinacy and apprehending some accident, I advised Captain Jones, who was a very stout man, to remain on board, as four of us were quite sufficient to do the needful, should we succeed in landing, which was very doubtful. This he would not listen to and on approaching the rock we found it impracticable to land, so Drew ordered the boat to return. By this time the steamer was very near the rock, and as we were also close to it, had we struck we must all have perished.

At this moment the steamer struck the cutter midway between the five Elder Brethren and the seamen [rowing], the latter were fortunate in laying hold of different parts about the [Vestal’s] figurehead and got safely on board. We were carried under the steamer’s bows and poor Jones and Drew were drowned. Captains Probyn and Maddan were soon all right, but I was with great difficulty brought to, owing to my long immersion in the water, which completely exhausted me.

Although my health did not suffer from this accident, it caused the total loss of my right eye, the nerves having completely given way.

It was a sad sight to see the two dear fellows cold in death, who but an hour before had been in high health and spirits, and there was not a dry eye on board when the last sad duties were performed.”

After landing the bodies at Bristol, Captain Alexander Weynton joined the ship and the voyage continued.


 

1852

Bishop Rock stone-laying ceremony

Bishop Rock Lighthouse: The first stone (one of the fifth course) was laid in a ceremony attended by the Master the Duke of Wellington and the Deputy Master Captain Sir John Henry Pelly. The lowest stone was afterwards laid in the chasm of the rock, at one foot below the level of low water spring tide on 30 July 1852. The stone work of the tower was finished 28 August 1857, without loss of life or serious accident.

Bishop Rock Lighthouse internal plaque

Bishop Rock Lighthouse internal plaque

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