On This Day in Trinity House History – 20 December

1627

Trinity House and the Royal Navy

Two Trinity House Court Minutes:

“Commissioners of Navy consult Trinity House as to three (3) decked ships and as to the height of lower tier of guns above water.”

“A survey by Trinity House of all ships in Thames suitable for H.M. service.”


1912

George V bestows an honour upon the Elder Brethren

George V issues a Warrant confirming the longstanding custom of the Elder Brethren using the style and title of “Captain” after Captains in the Navy:

“Now know ye that in the exercise of Our Royal Prerogative We do hereby declare Our Royal Will and Pleasure that in all times hereafter the Elder Brethren of the said Corporation of Trinity House shall be styled “Captain”, and shall on all social and ceremonial occasions have place and precedence next and immediately after the place and precedence which maybe accorded to Captains in Our Navy.”


1995

Trevose Head Lighthouse is automated

Trevose Head Lighthouse is converted to automatic operation and the keepers depart. The lighthouse was first lit 1 December 1847.

The existing optic was retained but the rotation speed was slowed to alter the character to one flash every 7.5 rather than every 5 seconds. The red screens were removed to give a white light. The lamp was changed to 35 watt metal halide in a two position lampchanger. A Tideland ML300 lantern mounted on the lantern gallery hand rail gives an emergency 10 sea mile light. The air fog signal was replaced by an electric omnidirectional signal controlled by a fog detector. The light is controlled by a photocell mounted on the lantern murette; telemetry equipment was also installed for remote monitoring and control from the Trinity House Planning Centre at Harwich in Essex.

A lighthouse was first proposed for this area of the North Cornish coast as early as 1809 there being no light at that time to guide ships trading in the Bristol Channel other than the Longships to the south and the old Lundy light to the north.

The position was further considered by Trinity House in 1813 and again in 1832, but it was not until 1 December 1847 that an oil light comprising wicks backed with reflectors, was first lit at Trevose Head.

The light is situated on the north west extremity of the head, with gigantic cliffs of grey granite rising sheer from the sea to a height of 150 feet or more. The area, like so much of the Devon and Cornish coastline is constantly threatened by sea mists that make even the most powerful lights seem like candles.

Trevose Head Lighthouse (Photo by Dave Wilkinson)

Trevose Head Lighthouse (Photo by Dave Wilkinson)

On This Day in Trinity House History – 03 May

1652

Oliver Cromwell requests the assistance of Trinity House

Trinity House Court Minute:

“Oliver Cromwell and Dennis Bond to Trinity House. The State’s ship Resolution, being fitted for the sea, and ready to fall down the river, they desire the Trinity House to recommend to the Commissioners of the Navy an able, godly, and well affected mariner to take charge of her as Master.”

The above Court minute came as a result of the upheaval caused by the English Civil War and Cromwell’s Commonwealth, when the Corporation was caught up in the various political machinations and eventually accused of royalist sympathies and dissolved by Parliament. [See also On This Day in Trinity House History – 4 February]

An Ordinance to regulate the Navy, the Customs, and Trinity House dated 16 January 1648 declared anyone of royalist sympathy since 1641 incapable of holding office under pain of crippling penalties. As a result, most of the Elder Brethren were either removed or had to resign, and a Parliamentary committee was appointed to sit in their place. In 1660 King Charles II restored the Corporation’s Court and powers with a charter of confirmation; former Brethren returned and others were appointed following the Restoration [the collapse of Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate] in May 1660. The traditional annual election of the Master and Wardens was revived on Trinity Monday in June, with George Monck, first Duke of Albemarle appointed the new Master. Admirals Sir William Batten and Sir William Penn and Edward, first Earl of Sandwich are some of the more recognisable names on a list of eminent Lords, Admirals and Knights, alongside the requisite number of merchant captains.

HMS Resolution was actually known for most of her life as the Prince Royal:

Prince Royal was a 55-gun royal ship of the English Royal Navy, built by Phineas Pett at Woolwich and launched in 1610. From 1639 to 1641 she was rebuilt by Peter Pett at Woolwich as a 70-gun first-rate ship. During the time of the Commonwealth of England, she was named Resolution and fought in most battles of the First Anglo-Dutch War. By 1660 she was carrying 80 guns, and with the English Restoration of King Charles II she resumed the name Royal Prince. In 1663 she was rebuilt again at Woolwich Dockyard by Sir Phineas Pett II as a 92-gun first-rate ship of the line.

Today a fine model of the Prince Royal, made by Robert Spence in 1952, is perhaps the most notable display piece in the entrance hall of the Trinity House headquarters on Tower Hill.

HMS Prince Royal (also HMS Resolution)

HMS Prince Royal (also HMS Resolution)

 


1995

Pendeen Lighthouse is converted to automatic operation and the keepers depart

Until 1891 maritime safety off Pendeen depended more on activity after a wreck rather than effective prevention, the “Admiralty Sailing Directions” for that year being only able to report a “Coastguard Station where a rocket apparatus is kept”. The high cliffs along this sector of coastline prevented passing vessels from catching sight of either Trevose Head to the East or the Longships to the West; and so numbers of them, unable to ascertain their position, were lost, particularly on the groups of sunken and exposed rocks near Pendeen Watch. Trinity House became increasingly concerned about this state of affairs as the nineteenth century drew to its close, and decided to erect a lighthouse and fog signal at Pendeen. Designs for the building were prepared by Sir Thomas Matthews, the Trinity House Engineer, their construction being undertaken by Arthur Carkeek, of Redruth, with Messrs. Chance, of Birmingham supplying the lantern.

Within the tower itself are two rooms, one over the other, and above them the lantern which originally contained a five-wick Argand lamp, to which oil was pumped from the room below. This lamp was replaced by an electric one in 1926. Around the lamp revolves an apparatus containing the lenses. This optic is very heavy, weighing 2½ tons, but as it floats in a trough containing ¾ of a ton of mercury it can be set in motion by the merest touch.

Pendeen Lighthouse was automated in 1995 with the keepers leaving the station on 3 May. The original optic has been retained but a new lamp plinth with two position lamp changer has been installed along with an emergency light and a new fog signal with fog detector. The lighthouse is now monitored and controlled from the Trinity House Planning Centre at Harwich.

More at http://www.trinityhouse.co.uk/lighthouses/lighthouse_list/pendeen.html

Pendeen Lighthouse by Ian Cowe

Pendeen Lighthouse by Ian Cowe