On This Day: 7 May 1691

On this day in 1691, Thomas Bowrey was sworn as a Younger Brother of Trinity House. 29 years earlier Samuel Pepys described the ceremony when he became a Younger Brother thus:

“With the two Sir Williams [Penn and Batten] to the Trinity House; and there in their society had the business debated of Sir N Crisp’s sasse [a sluice or floodgate] at Deptford. After dinner I was sworn a Younger Brother; Sir W Rider being Deputy Master for my Lord of Sandwich; and after I was sworn, all the Elder Brothers shake me by the hand; it is their custom it seems.”

Trinity House was established in 1514 to regulate Thames pilots. Their objectives were expanded to improve the art and science of mariners; to examine into the qualifications, and regulate the conduct of those who take upon them the charge of conducting ships; to preserve good order, and (when desired) to compose differences in marine affairs, and, in general, to consult the conservation, good estate, wholesome government, maintenance and increase of navigation and sea-faring men; and to relieve decayed seamen and their relatives.

Members of Trinity House were enrolled as Younger Brothers. Elder Brothers formed the managing board and were promoted from their younger brethren.


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