If you read age of sail naval fiction you will often see a mention of the Revenue Service and their cutters but rarely hear about Trinity House. However wherever you come from around the world if you have an interest in the sea you will probably be aware of this Corporation which for nearly 500 years has been the General Lighthouse Authority for England and Wales providing mariners with aids to navigation in the British Isles.
To commemorate 500 years of its foundation when it was granted a charter by Henry VIII on 20 May 1514 the Corporation of Trinity House, London, is publishing its history. This has been written by well-known historical naval fiction author and Elder Brother of Trinity House, Captain Richard Woodman, and the pilotage expert and Younger Brother of the Fraternity, Captain Andrew Adams. Light Upon the Waters: The History of Trinity House 1514-2014 will be released in hardcover worldwide on 1 September 2013.
For those less familiar with the Corporation of Trinity House it is an endowed charity, a self-governing private Corporation with statutory powers under Royal Charter and Acts of Parliament. As well as maintaining lighthouses, lightships and navigational buoys they license deep-sea pilots and support cadetships for those wishing to follow a career at sea in merchant ships. They have ministered to the wants of needy seafarers and their dependants, providing alms-houses and making grants through other maritime charities.
As I said they are rarely mentioned in fiction however you can also get an insight into their early work through the Kit Faulkner and Nathaniel Drinkwater series of Richard Woodman. The author also talked about Trinity House when he was kind enough to share some thoughts with me on the launch of one of his books.