On This Day in Trinity House History – 27 October


Lives Saved at Coquet Lighthouse

Notice in Trinity House’s Flash magazine:

“The keepers at Coquet [Lighthouse] have been highly commended for the assistance which they rendered to the Amble lifeboat when it put to sea to help a local fishing coble during a severe northerly gale on 27th October. The lifeboat was unable to see the cable due to the broken state of the sea. The keepers, however, were able to sight it and by passing directions over the R.T. [radio telephone] guided the lifeboat to the coble, which was then escorted to a sheltered bay.”

Coquet Lighthouse by Ian Cowe

Coquet Lighthouse by Ian Cowe

On This Day in Trinity House History – 8 September


Sir Thomas Spert, first Master of Trinity House and Comptroller of the Navy, dies

As Sailing Master of first the Mary Rose and then the Henri Grace a Dieu, Thomas Spert was well-placed to accept the Royal Charter on behalf of the Corporation of Trinity House on 20 May 1514. Spert later became Clerk Controller of the King’s Ships circa 1524, a time when Henry VIII was becoming increasingly involved in shipbuilding in London, and was knighted for his work in 1529. Upon his death, he was buried in St. Dunstan’s Church, Stepney.

The inscription upon this monument runs as follows:-

“Here under was laid up ye bodie of Sir Thomas Spert, Knight, sometyme Comptroller of the Navy to K. Henry VIII. and both the first Founder and Master of the Worthie Society or Corporation called the Trinity House. He lived enobled by his own Worth, and dyed ye 8th of Septemb, in ye year 1541. To whose pious memory ye said Corporation hath gratefully erected this memoriall.

‘Not that he needed monuments of stone,
For his well-gotten Fame to rest upon,
But this was reard to testifie that he
Lives in their Loves, that yet surviving be.
For unto Virtue which first raised his name
He left the Preservation of the same,
And to Posterity remain it shall
When Brass and Marble Monuments do fall.
Learn for to die while thou hast breath.
So shalt thou live after thy death.’

An. 1622. By the Company of the Trinity Howse This Monument was erected 81 yrs after ye decease of theyr Founder.”




A Letter to the Editor of Flash Magazine

Amble, Northumberland
8 September 1958

“To The Secretary,
Trinity House.

Dear Sir,

It was a very great pleasure to receive on Saturday 6th instant a magnificent granite model of a lighthouse. As one of the older generation of PKs [Principal Keepers], I remember those early days when, as an SAK [Supernumerary Assistant Keeper] in 1911, I was rowed out to the Bishop in a 6-oared gig by six powerful St. Agnes fishermen, men with muscle and brawn; we had harness casks to stow our food in on reliefs. When I come to look back, and compare the great amenities and other benefits the present-day keeper receives, with big wage packets, TV and R/T in the Lighthouses, I am beginning to think I was born 50 years too soon.

Yours faithfully,

S D Knox”

[Note appending letter from Editor: Mr. Knox, now retired, served as Principal Keeper at Bishop Rock from 1939-40]


THV Mermaid enters service

THV Mermaid enters service, built by J Samuel White of Cowes, Isle of Wight.

Mermaid was the first of three ‘Mermaid-class’ vessels, followed by THVs Siren and Stella. She was the third Trinity House Vessel to bear the name Mermaid, and was sold out of service in 1986 before the fourth THV Mermaid entered service.

THV Mermaid (3)

THV Mermaid (3)

On This Day in Trinity House History – 26 March


Sir Francis Bacon voices support for Trinity House

Portrait of Francis Bacon, Viscount St Alban, by John Vanderbank, 1731

Portrait of Francis Bacon, Viscount St Alban, by John Vanderbank, 1731

Sir Francis Bacon, Keeper of the Great Seal and later Lord Chancellor, addresses the Privy Council to deliver an eloquent ruling supporting the authority of Trinity House:

“Lighthouses are marks and signs within the meaning of the charter. That there is an authority mixed with trust, settled in that corporation, for the erecting of such lighthouses, and other marks and signs, from time to time, as the accidents and moveable nature of the sands and channels doth require, grounded upon the skill and experience which they have in marine service: And this authority and trust cannot be transferred from them by law; but as they are only answerable for the defaults, so they are only trusted with the performance; it being a matter of an high and precious nature, in respect of salvation of ships and lives, and a kind of starlight in that element.”


HRH Prince George, the Duke of Kent is elected Master of Trinity House 

Trinity Monday: HRH Prince George, Duke of Kent KG KT GCMG GCVO is elected Master of Trinity House, on the death of the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn.

Sadly, he died only a few months later on 25 August, making his tenure as Master the shortest in the corporation’s history. He was the fourth son and fifth child of George V and Mary of Teck, and younger brother of Edward VIII and George VI. He held the title of Duke of Kent from 1934 until his death in 1942.



THV Mermaid (3) is launched

The lighthouse tender THV Mermaid, the third tender to bear that name, is launched at the yard of J S White & Co., Cowes.

She went into service in September in the Yarmouth district. She was launched Mrs. Noakes, wife of Elder Brother Captain George Noakes. Sister ships THV Siren and THV Stella followed into service in the two years after.

Mermaid (3) 1959 copyright Trinity House

Mermaid (3) 1959 copyright Trinity House