On This Day in Trinity House History – 20 December


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.”


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.”


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 – 9 July


“To The Honorable Comishiners” – Ship’s Master in distress

The following letter was received by the Corporation from the Master of the schooner Farmer, who complains about having been put in Beaumaris Gaol (a now-disused jail located in Anglesey, Wales) for not taking a pilot:

“Beumoras Prison
July the 9th 1821

To the honorable Comishiners of the Trinety House Bord Capt. Teer now Lying in the body of the gaiol of Beumoras takes this opertunity by leting your Honorable Comishiners know that i am confined for the cause of not taking a pilot when in safty inside of the Bare in safty the water man Received the ancrage Mony £0. 3s. tooke my Name then Come Back and Served awarant on Mee and Draged me to the Magstrate and he Comited me to the gaiol for the fine £50 pounds that is my fine or three Months Impresernt the vesel is heire for the want of a captan and the said that there was Several vesels had went away and not paid them and the would make a patman of me for all the rest

Humbel Servent
Danel Teer

Buemores Goail, Wails. For Danel Teer Captain of the Farmer Schooner”



Trinity House Vessel Irene leads George V’s Coronation Review

The Coronation review of George V at Spithead. Trinity House flagship THV Irene leads the reviewing squadron; it would be her last major public event.

THV Irene

THV Irene

On This Day in Trinity House History – 21 May


HRH Prince George (later George V) is elected Master of Trinity House

Trinity Monday: HRH Prince George, Duke of York KG KT (later George V) is elected Master of Trinity House. He sat as Master for 15 consecutive years until 1910, and was an Elder Brother until his death in 1936.

George V (3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War (1914–18) until his death. George was a grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. From 1877 to 1891, he served in the Royal Navy.

The second son of Edward VII, George became his father’s heir when his elder brother Edward unexpectedly died in 1892. He came to the throne in 1910 in the middle of a constitutional crisis caused by the House of Commons’ attempt to limit the powers of the Lords, and within four years was leading a country fighting for its survival during the First World War. The post-war years were equally turbulent, with war in Ireland, a general strike, world depression and the formation of a national government, all requiring steady leadership from the King. Throughout these difficult years, George maintained the dignity of the monarchy, and saw its popularity rise when he celebrated his Silver Jubilee in 1935.

HRH Prince George (later George V) Master of Trinity House (1900) copyright Trinity House

HRH Prince George (later George V) Master of Trinity House (1900) copyright Trinity House