On This Day in Trinity House History – 10 December


Trinity House and the Royal Navy

Trinity House Court Minute:

“Trinity House submits a scheme for manning the Navy Royal.”

A description of the various duties of the Elder Brethren around this time can be found in Trinity House of Deptford Strond by C R B Barrett in 1893:

“What at this time were the duties of the Corporation? They had the charge and expense of laying buoys and erecting beacons, the responsibility for the naval stores at Deptford, and the care of the shipbuilding yard there. Ships for the Royal Navy, to be either built or purchased, were laid down on their designs, or were, in the second case, accepted or rejected on their certificate. Provisions, cordage, ordnance, and ammunition, both for royal and merchant vessels, all passed through the hands of the Trinity House. Pilots, as of old, received their certificates from the House at Deptford. Masters were recommended for the royal ships by them, and in times when enlistment was slow, to the Master, Wardens, and Assistants was, committed the unpleasant duty of pressing both masters and seamen for the King’s ships. The right to appoint certain foreign consuls lay with the Guild, the consuls at Leghorn and Genoa being instances in point. Acting as hydrographers to the navy, all questions regarding the limits and boundaries of seas and channels were referred to them. Causes in the Admiralty Court were partly adjudicated by the members, certain Elder Brethren acting (as they still act) as, assessors. Arbitrations on matters in dispute between owners, captains and seamen were of frequent occurrence; being cases specially referred to the professional skill of the Brethren. No fleet left our shores without its number, armament, and equipment being subject to a careful survey by and the opinion of the Brethren. To all of these multifarious duties we have to add the intricate questions involved in the suppression of piracy, the investigation of Iosses by sea, and the redemption of captives. Finally, the charitable work of the Corporation had to be considered; the Bedefolk, the outside pensioners, and the casual poor all needed attention. Who, then, were the men who performed these manifold duties?”

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