Cinque Ports Pilots – Part II

The final part in a fascinating history of the Cinque Port Pilots, which Trinity House became responsible for in 1854.

The Dover Historian

Duke of Wellington, the champion of the Cinque Ports Pilots. Dover Harbour Board. Duke of Wellington, the champion of the Cinque Ports Pilots. Dover Harbour Board.

On 14 September 1852 the Cinque Ports Pilots champion, the Lord Warden (1829-1852), Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), died –  see Cinque Ports Pilots Part I. The government lost no time, having rationalised pilotage, to do the same with the Admiralty Court. The Lord Wardens Bench, on which for centuries the Lord Wardens had sat while presiding over the Court, stayed in what became old St. James’ Church until World War II (1939-1945). For safekeeping it was moved to St. Marys Church and then to the Museum, where it still be seen.

Although the Cinque Ports Pilots had become part of Trinity House, their licenses covered the area from Dungeness (west of Dover) to London Bridge and vice-versa. Albeit there were other changes, for instance, to become a Trinity House pilot the applicant could be no older than…

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Cinque Ports Pilots Part I

The first part in a fascinating history of the Cinque Port Pilots, which Trinity House became responsible for in 1854.

The Dover Historian

Cinque Port ship c13th century Cinque Port ship c13th century

The fraternity of Pilots belonging to the Cinque Ports has probably been in existence since before William I (1066-1087) conquered England in 1066. The main prerequisites to become a pilot, at that time and for centuries after, was to be a Freeman as well as having a thorough knowledge of seas, coasts and ports of the dangerous Dover Strait. The punishment metered out to a Dover pilot who lost a ship he was in charge of but survived, in those days, was to be thrown to his death off Western Heights!

In the Middle Ages there were three Societies of Pilots in England besides the ones appertaining to the Cinque Ports, these were at Deptford, Hull and Newcastle and were known as Trinity Houses. The Deptford Trinity House – chartered in 1514 – was in charge of providing sea-markers and signals that overtime developed into having…

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No.54 The Dudgeon

“In their Quincentenary week we take another look at the work of Trinity House, this time examining lightvessels as warning lights, wreck markers, and wrecks in themselves.

This week in 1736 the Dudgeon lightvessel first went on station, the second lightship after the Nore in the Thames Estuary in 1732. Demand from the east coast coal trade between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and London led to the marking of the Dudgeon, a dangerous shoal off the Norfolk coast.”

Wreck of the Week

In their Quincentenary week we take another look at the work of Trinity House, this time examining lightvessels as warning lights, wreck markers, and wrecks in themselves.

This week in 1736 the Dudgeon lightvessel first went on station, the second lightship after the Nore in the Thames Estuary in 1732. Demand from the east coast coal trade between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and London led to the marking of the Dudgeon, a dangerous shoal off the Norfolk coast.

Such early lightvessels proved their worth both as hazard markers and as reference points for locating wrecks. In 1785 the Mayflower of Scarborough ‘foundered nigh the Dodgen light’ and in 1824 the captain of a passing ship reported that he: ‘in passing the Dudgeon Float . . . bearing about NNW 8 miles, saw a sunken brig, with her royal masts shewing, painted white, and two vanes flying.’ He ‘supposed her to be from the northward, but not a collier.’

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No.53: The Quincentenary of Trinity House

Many thanks to English Heritage’s Wreck of the Week blog!

“We look today at the first mention of Trinity House in the wreck records of English Heritage. Since its earliest days, Trinity House has been concerned with the safety of mariners in all respects, including responsibility for licensing ship pilots as guides into harbour…”

Wreck of the Week

Trinity House, the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, will celebrate its 500th anniversary on Tuesday 20th May, commemorating the granting of a Royal Charter by Henry VIII on 20th May 1514.

We look today at the first mention of Trinity House in the wreck records of English Heritage. Since its earliest days, Trinity House has been concerned with the safety of mariners in all respects, including responsibility for licensing ship pilots as guides into harbour.

In the 16th century pilots with intimate knowledge of the Thames Estuary were required to assist ships to pick their way between the parallel diagonal sandbanks that bar the way to the Thames: the Maplin, the Barrow, the Sunk, the Long Sand, and the Kentish Knock. (Between them they have accounted for nearly 600 recorded wrecks.) Over the centuries many a ship has gone aground in navigating a previously safe channel between these banks.

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London Slant: Flashing lights and City buoys at Trinity House

“Yesterday was a quite an occasion: a rare Open Day to celebrate 500 years since Trinity House’s foundation in 1514…”

London Slant

“Excuse me, what is a lighthouse?” I overheard a foreign visitor enquire.

Trinity House, London A fanfare welcome to Trinity House.

It was easy to point to an answer since there were two right there: either side of the door. While some of London’s grand old buildings illuminate their entrances with coach lamps, and others blazing torchères, Trinity House offers the beams of twin model lighthouses. You’d expect no less of the flagship headquarters of an organisation in charge of the safety of shipping since it was granted a charter by King Henry VIII.

Trinity House One of the twin lighthouses that illuminate the entrance at Trinity House

Yesterday was a quite an occasion: a rare Open Day to celebrate 500 years since Trinity House’s foundation in 1514. Since then the corporation has set up beacons all around Britain. It now operates some 600 lighthouses and lightships—the former mainly on the rocky west coast and the latter largely off the lower-lying and…

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Happy 500th birthday to Trinity House

To mark tomorrow’s big 500th anniversary, the blog of the History of Parliament’s House of Commons looks at Aaron Chapman (1771-1850), a nineteenth-century MP and Elder Brother of the Trinity House, described as being of ‘pleasing and unassuming manners and exterior, accompanied with sound sense and judgment’…

The Victorian Commons

This week sees the 500th anniversary of the presentation of a royal charter (on 20 May 1514) to ‘the Master Wardens and Assistants of the Guild Fraternity or Brotherhood of the Most Glorious and Undivided Trinity and of Saint Clement in the Parish of Deptford Strond in the County of Kent’, now usually known by its shorter title as Trinity House. This body has long held responsibilities for lighthouses and also for pilotage.

To mark this anniversary, our blog looks at a nineteenth-century MP who had a strong connection to Trinity House, serving as one of the elder brethren who governed its affairs. Aaron Chapman (1771-1850), described as being of ‘pleasing and unassuming manners and exterior, accompanied with sound sense and judgment’, was elected as the first MP for the newly enfranchised borough of Whitby in 1832. He represented this port as a Conservative until 1847, when he retired from…

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UK lighthouse rental: Anvil Point, Dorset – Telegraph

UK lighthouse rental: Anvil Point, Dorset – Telegraph

A lovely article describing a stay at one of our former keepers’ cottages:

“…It makes you think of “Casablanca”, in which the fitful beam of a lighthouse, a famous continuity nightmare, so heightened the romance.’

Which is why, on a filthy night in the rainiest January since records began, with storm warnings across the country and the year’s highest spring tides on the rise, my old friend Louise and I were on the Dorset coast near Swanage, bumping down a road booby-trapped with dripping five-bar gates and a cluster of teenage cows (with horns).

All at once, through the darkness and rain, came a gleam as solid and reassuring as a packet of Rich Tea biscuits and a cup of tea…”