On This Day in Trinity House History – 3 December


The Elder Brethren to examine Masters of Royal Navy

A Court Minute establishes a Special Committee of four Elder Brethren to carry out examinations of Masters in His Majesty’s Navy.

A note on this important duty from Memoir on the Origin and Incorporation of the Trinity House of Deptford Strond by Captain Joseph Cotton, 1818:

“The Committee of Examiners… it consists of four Brethren, chosen annually, and constitutes not the least interesting or useful portion of the Corporation.

They never adjourn their sittings beyond an interval of one day, if there be any Master or Pilot to be examined. When the examination is one of national importance, such as that of a Master of a first or second rate man-of-war, upon whose ability and experience, as Master of the flag-ship, the safety of a fleet, and its service to the country may depend, the Deputy Master and the whole committee attend, and certify his ability for that charge; but Masters of ships under that class are examined and certified either by four or two of the Brethren, the committee dividing for dispatch, if necessary, into two sub-committees. This duty, of the examination of Masters in the Royal Navy, is a voluntary and gratuitous service to the public, not originating in the conditions or stipulations of any grant or charter…”


This duty ceased in 1874.