Trinity House Gets a New Royal Charter from James I
A new Charter of Incorporation is issued by James I, making the first proper mention of Elder Brethren and Younger Brethren.
At the start of the 17th century the duties of Trinity House had gradually accumulated, and now included survey duties afloat, inspection of naval stores, examining and licensing pilots, placing and maintaining beacons and buoys and administering the Ballastage Office, as well as the considerable ongoing charitable works. This ever-expanding range was formally recognised when the 1604 charter of King James I increased the small band of governing officials from 13 to 31 by the addition of 18 deputised Elder Brethren. The remaining members of the Corporation then became known as Younger Brethren.
The Royal Trinity House Volunteer Artillery is formed to defend the Thames
An invasion by Napoleon being feared, the Elder Brethren undertook the defence of the Thames.
The Royal Trinity House Volunteer Artillery was formed, a body of 1,200 men was enrolled, the officers being Colonel William Pitt (Master), Lt. Colonel Joseph Cotton (Deputy Master), the Elder Brethren were Captains, and some of the Younger Brethren were Lieutenants. A flotilla of frigates was moored in the Lower Hope: Daedalus, Unite, Vestal, Modeste, Retribution, Quebec, Iris, Solebay, Heroine, Resource and Royal Charlotte.
The volunteers appear to have been a curious assortment; they are described on the Muster Sheets as “Seamen Landsmen, Volunteers, Pilots, Lascars, Harbour Volunteer Marines, River Fencibles, Greenwich Pensioners, Trinity House Pensioners, East India Company Pensioners.”
The flotilla was removed in October 1805 when the danger was considered passed.