On This Day in Trinity House History – 16 June

1617

Trinity House contributes to the fund against piracy

Privy Council letter to Trinity House:

“Within these few years the Turks have captured above 300 ships of England and Scotland. The merchants of London have offered £40,000 from the merchants. and owners of ships in the port of London as a fund against the Turks. They ask the Trinity House to assemble and decide what they will contribute.”

Trinity House’s answer to the above was to offer discounted rates on ships, amounting in all to £1,068. According to the National Archive’s historical currency converter, in 1620, £1,068 0s 0d would have the same spending worth in 2005 as £102,528.

 


1742

The first Trinity House buoy tender is sent out

Trinity House Board Minute:

“Our Buoy boat called the Trinity Sloop, being now ready, Mr. William Soanes, a Younger Brother and Pilot of this Corporation was appointed to take charge of her as Master, and Mr. William Parsley to be Mate, William Martin and Thomas Knife to be foremostmen, and she to be sent out immediately on an inspection of the Buoys and Beacons in the North and South Channels, and to receive from our Buoykeepers there all the Buoys Chains and Stones which they have in store, and to report those they had in store.

The Clerk to write to the Buoykeepers and acquaint them that their respective salaries will cease from midsummer next, and to direct them to send up an account of those in store last July, and of those they have received and placed since, and of those they deliver up to Mr. Soane.”

The sending out of the first Trinity House buoy tender effectively marks the birth of the modern Support Vessel Service (SVS).

Thomas Whitcombe's Seascape with a Trinity House Yacht and a man-o-war of the Blue Squadron off the Casquets, 1795, Copyright Trinity House

Thomas Whitcombe’s Seascape with a Trinity House Yacht and a man-o-war of the Blue Squadron off the Casquets, 1795, Copyright Trinity House


1944

Trinity House Vessel Alert hits a mine on return from D-Day

During D-Day operations off the coast of Normandy THV Alert was sunk when she hit a mine while returning home; fortunately there was no loss of life.

THV Alert (3) 1920-44 copyright Trinity House

THV Alert (3) 1920-44 copyright Trinity House

On This Day in Trinity House History – 06 May

1622

Trinity House makes contribution in fight against overseas piracy

Trinity House Court Minute:

“Council Order that Trinity House shall pay £2,000 per annum for the undertaking against the pirates [of Algiers].”

See our post from 20 March 2014 describing Trinity House’s long-running struggle against piracy overseas.

 


1663

Samuel Pepys Dines at Trinity House

Samuel Pepys’ diary:

“To the Trinity House, and there dined, where, among other discourse worth hearing among the old seamen, they tell us that they have catched often in Greenland whales with the iron grapnells that had been struck into their bodies covered over with fat; that they have had eleven hogsheads of oyle out of the tongue of a whale.”

Samuel Pepys, Master of Trinity House

Samuel Pepys, Master of Trinity House

On This Day in Trinity House History – 14 April

1626

Trinity House certify ill treatment of British mariners by Barbary pirates

Trinity House Court Minute:

“Certificate of Trinity House to the Keeper of the Great Seal, that Robert Ensome, of Ratcliffe, Master of the Unicorn, of London, was on his return from the Canary Islands, taken by a Sally man-of-war twelve leagues from Scilly, taken to Sally, and sold as a slave and ill-treated; his loss was £250; ransom required £250; he has a wife and three children.”

See our post from 20 March describing Trinity House’s long-running struggle against piracy overseas.

On This Day in Trinity House History – 20 March

1625

Trinity House asks Charles I to protect sailors against pirates

Trinity House Court Minute:

“Trinity House to the Privy Council: They find that there are twelve, thirteen or fourteen hundred Englishmen captives in Sally: all of the greatest part of them taken within twenty or thirty miles of Dartmouth, Plymouth and Falmouth. When the winter takes, then the Sally men go to Flushing and Holland, where, having supplied all wants and the winter past, they go to sea again. If they want men in these places with the Dutch they are furnished. The writers complain that the coast is not guarded by some handsome ships to defend the King’s subjects, and that our friends are not restrained from arming and aiding the infidels.”

The Elder Brethren of Trinity House are here referring to the Salé [“Sally”] Rovers, a band of Barbary pirates who eventually formed the Republic of Salé on the Moroccan coast.

The Elder Brethren were very much active in the fight against high-seas piracy. The Court Minutes for many years between 1610-1670 make references to persons taken captive by Turkish and Algerian pirates, with the ransom demanded for their release, and further references to pirate attacks and measures to be taken against them.Here are a few examples:

“1617, June 16. Council letter to the Trinity House:

Within these few years the Turks have captured above 300 ships of England and Scotland. The merchants of London have offered £40,000 from the merchants. and owners of ships in the port of London as a fund against the Turks. They ask the Trinity House to assemble and decide what they will contribute.”

Trinity House responded to the above with a contribution amounting to £1,068.

“1621, May 26. Petition by the Trinity House to the Privy Council:

They have received the collection for the £1,000 per annum, according to the rates presented to the Council and mentioned in their letter of 7th July, 1620, to the Custom House, towards the charge of the ships at sea against the Turkish pirates.”

“1670, Nov. 9:

Towards the redemption of captives now at Algiers every Elder Brother is to allow a turn, and if the next turn does not amount to £3 it is to be made up to £3, and every Younger Brother to allow 6/8, and their next turn is to be stopped for it.” [NB. ‘Turns’ were a form of payment to the Elder Brethren that predated salaries]

“1670, Nov. 16:

The Deputy Master acquaints the Board of the payment of £200, towards the redemption of captives at Algiers, to the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

A Sea Fight with Barbary Corsairs by Lorenzo A Castro, 17th century

A Sea Fight with Barbary Corsairs by Lorenzo A Castro, 17th century