The Trinity House

Pages 397-407

A History of the County of York East Riding: Volume 1, the City of Kingston Upon Hull. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1969.

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It seems unlikely that there was a shipmen's guild in Hull during the early years of the town's history. The Trinity House, at any rate, possesses no earlier record, other than a few deeds of property acquired later, than a document of 1369, afterwards known as the 'First Subscription'. This sets out the intention of Robert Marshall, alderman, and some fiftyfive other persons, both men and women, to found a guild in honour of the Holy Trinity. (fn. 1) The annual subscription was 2s., payable quarterly, and the affairs of the guild were to be managed by an elected Alderman who was to choose two constables and four 'discrete' men. Admission was to be regulated by the officers, and the objects were those usual to a religious guild: the provision of candles and masses, and attendance at funerals of members. A member incapacitated by sickness was to receive 8d. a week, and if the accumulated funds of the guild were inadequate to meet this liability, provision was made for a collection from members.

One question that immediately arises is whether this can be regarded as in any sense a shipmen's guild. On the face of it, the document is merely the foundation deed of a religious guild of the normal pattern. Apart from the dedication to the Holy Trinity, which shared with St. Nicholas the especial veneration of sailors, there is nothing to link the 1369 document with the Hull shipmen. It has been suggested, however, that a group of traders or craftsmen might find it easier to unite under the cloak of a religious guild, and it has been shown that the founders of the religious guild at York which developed into the Merchant Venturers were, in fact, mercers and their wives. (fn. 2) It cannot be shown that the Hull founders were seamen. That they were substantial burgesses is suggested by the comparatively high rates of subscription and sickness benefit; but references in the document to members standing surety for one another probably refer not to trading activities, but to the payment of dues to the guild.

There is one peculiar feature of the guild: no return was made in 1389, when particulars were called for of all religious and other guilds in the country. Hull made returns of three religious guilds, those of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Corpus Christi, and St. John the Baptist. All these were founded in the same way as the Trinity Guild, by a foundation deed attested by the mayor, bailiffs, and other leading citizens, and sealed by the founding members. The inclusion of this information is an unusual feature in the returns of 1389, when most guilds simply sent a copy of their rules. It was perhaps due to the recent foundation of these guilds: the date of the foundation of St. John's guild is missing, but the others were founded in 1357 and 1358 respectively. (fn. 3) As the guild returns are notoriously incomplete, the omission of the Trinity Guild does not imply that it had ceased to exist in 1389. Indeed, the 'Second Subscription' of 1398 refers to 'the brothers and sisters who founded the guild and have continued it up to now'.

The deed later known as the Second Subscription is of the same form as the earlier one, witnessed by the mayor, bailiffs, chamberlains, and others. (fn. 4) Apart from the reduction of the annual subscription to 1s., the main purport of the document seems to have been to clarify the rules laid down in 1369. The Alderman was now to appoint two stewards, and these three were to keep the charters, money, and jewels of the guild, to distribute benefits to members, and to lend to members on approved security. The Alderman and stewards were also to choose four members without whose assent they themselves could not act. Refusal to accept office was punishable by fine—6s. 8d. for an Alderman, half that amount for a steward. Disputes between members were to be settled by the Alderman, and not referred to the borough courts. The rules concerning candles, masses, and funerals were modified, and in particular a trental of masses for deceased members provided for in 1369 was omitted. Members who died in poverty were to be buried at the expense of the guild, but it is noticeable that the provisions of 1369 for the support of impoverished members were dropped. Thus two of the more expensive of the earlier provisions disappeared. The terms of this deed were to be read over every year, apparently at the election of the Alderman. It is likely that they were also read to new members, for the deed served as a list of members, beginning with those whose names appear in the 1369 and 1398 deeds. In all, the names of 257 members are recorded. Some of them must have been shipmen, but there were many others, including priests, canons, drapers, shearmen, and goldsmiths. The guild presumably still had no habitation, other than Holy Trinity Church where the elections could be held.

About the middle of the 15th century the guild, quite suddenly as far as can be gathered, changed its whole character. In 1456 twenty-four shipmasters, with the assent of the Vicar of Hessle, whose parish included the chapelry of Holy Trinity, and of the mayor and aldermen of the town, agreed to found a perpetual chantry in Holy Trinity Church. To pay for this they agreed to give the money accruing to them by way of 'lowage and stowage'; the money was to be paid to two Aldermen to be elected yearly on Trinity Sunday, and no shipmaster was to hire any mariner, under penalty of £10, unless he agreed to pay in his lowage and stowage to the guild. (fn. 5) Lowage and stowage was a payment made to mariners for handling cargo: stowing it in the hold, loading it on deck. Towards the end of the 16th century, the term is replaced by 'primage', which was a payment on each ton of freight. (fn. 6)

Almost immediately the members decided to go a stage further. In 1457, with the advice and consent of all the merchants and owners of ships belonging to the port, twenty-four masters and rectors of ships agreed to found an almshouse for mariners brought to poverty by 'infortune of the seas'. In addition to renewing the agreement for the payment of lowage and stowage, they decreed that no Hull shipowner should hire any master who had not agreed to pay in this money, and further that, under penalty of ten marks, the owner should himself pay in his share of lowage and stowage. (fn. 7) This order affected merchants, as shipowners, and some difficulty seems to have been found in enforcing it. Accordingly, a mandate was obtained from Henry VI, addressed to the mayor and sheriff and instructing them to enforce the payment. (fn. 8) It is this document that first mentions a chapel, stating that it was to be annexed to the almshouse. Whether this was due to a misunderstanding of the reference in the 1456 document to Holy Trinity, or whether the king insisted upon it, is uncertain, but a chapel was part of the building scheme that was almost at once put in hand.

The new agreement had two results. It ensured that the reformed guild would have buildings of its own, and it converted what had hitherto been a purely religious guild into a craft guild. Since the House accounts begin by 1460, and are practically complete thereafter, it is possible to trace in some detail the progress of building operations. (fn. 9) A site was found by agreement with the Carmelite friars, who owned the land bounded by Whitefriargate, Beverley Street (now Trinity House Lane), Aldkirk Lane (now Posterngate), and the town wall. Where exactly on this site the guild determined to build is uncertain, but it is reasonable to suppose that it was at the south-east corner where the present building stands. In 1461 the friars were paid 13s. 4d. for the site, though the guild also paid an annual rent of 1s. for more than 150 years. By 1465 building had begun, for payments were then made for bringing timber and clearing the garth. It was presumably a half-timbered building, but it incorporated some brickwork too, and there are payments to both carpenters and tilers. The chief carpenter seems to have been Robert Paget; (fn. 10) another was John Ulstor, wright, who contracted to build a hall with chamber above, except doors and windows. By 1470 internal plaster work was in hand, and the accounts for 1472–4 show lead being bought for the roofs.

The chief buildings seem to have comprised the guildhall, probably a two-storied building divided into several rooms, and the almshouses. The latter may have had a common hall and 'cells' for the individual pensioners, with a covered walk running in front of them. This lay-out is suggested by the large number of windows and doors referred to in the early accounts—too many for a hospital consisting of a large hall divided into cubicles. Finally there was the chapel. This may have been on the north side of the guildhall, where the present offices are, for this was the site of the chapel in the mid18th century. (fn. 11) In 1474 Richard, Duke of Gloucester, gave a 'great bell', which was hung in the following year. During the next twenty years a considerable sum was spent on the chapel's adornment. It contained a statue of the Virgin and two of the Trinity, painted and gilt and housed in woodwork tabernacles; a carving of the head of St. John the Baptist; and several pictures, including one of St. Anne. The altar fittings were expensive and there were stalls for the brethren. Services were musical; the wages of singers appear from time to time, and an entry of 1521 refers to the setting up of an organ and to a payment to John Watson for 'his part of the virginals'. In 1523 a new altar was bought in Flanders. The chaplain was paid, as a rule, £1 10s. a quarter and had a house on the site. Another house referred to is that called 'le Gilyote', belonging to the schoolmaster. There are no references to the guild maintaining a school for the children of members, and it seems possible that this was the house of the master of the Grammar School. The existence of such buildings on the site is suggested by a reference in 1461 to the receipt of rents (de rentalia), for the House owned no other real property until much later.

By at least 1470 the new buildings were sufficiently complete for occupation. When the Bordeaux wine fleet sailed in 1472, 4s. was given to the poor people in the House and they had 500 turves for Christmas, but other references indicate that the poor had already taken up their quarters before this. The guild had also begun to exercise its rights to collect lowage and stowage, and the accounts show sums received from 1461 onwards. Payments were usually made by the ship's master, but sometimes by the purser. The amounts received varied from an average of about £12 a year from 1461 to 1465 to just over £20 in 1465–6. (fn. 12)

In 1505 the agreement of 1457 was renewed, and the new document bears the marks or signatures of all brethren admitted up to 1597, some 600. All were shipmen, in contrast to the variety of occupa- tions shown in the 1398 subscription. (fn. 13) In 1512 the guild obtained new and lucrative privileges. It was agreed by the two Aldermen of the guild and the 'masters of the hulks', in the presence of the mayor, that the guild should assign competent pilots to bring ships into Hull and take them out again for a fee of 6s. 8d. inwards and £1 outwards. The whole guild agreed, moreover, that nobody who was not a member of the guild and properly assigned to the duty should handle a stranger's ship under penalty of £1. (fn. 14) This was the origin of the so-called 'great turn'. The rate was varied from time to time and in 1541 a new scale was adopted, ranging from 2s. 4d. on a vessel of 20 tons to 6s. 8d. on one of 60 to 100 tons. (fn. 15) Brethren were assigned as pilots in rotation, and until the House began to license river pilots in 1800 the brethren had a monopoly of the Humber pilotage.

The accounts present a detailed picture of the annual routine of the guild in the late 15th and 16th centuries. On Trinity Sunday the officers for the year were elected and the members attended a service for departed brethren in Holy Trinity Church, adjourning afterwards to the great election feast. At Corpus Christi torches were carried in procession and the poor were given an extra gratuity and feast. The sailing of the Bordeaux fleet and the arrival of the Easterlings were celebrated by a collation of ale and cakes or bread and cheese. At Christmas the poor in the almshouse were given extra turves and coals and a little extra money. On Plough Monday, the first after Epiphany, the guild produced the play of Noah and the Ark on a stage which was pulled round the town on a cart. The three principal characters were Noah, who was usually paid 1s., God, who was paid 10d., and Noah's wife, who got 8d. Singing was provided by two priests and by 'the clerk' and 'the children', presumably the parish clerk and the choir boys of Holy Trinity. The town waits performed too, and the pageant was accompanied by members of the guild, who seem to have been entertained to supper at the end of their labours. Members were regularly expected to attend the funerals of deceased brothers, and the accounts frequently show the cost of candles, payments to the priest, and other expenses. They may also have attended at the funeral of an inmate of the almshouse, as they certainly did later.

In 1512 Henry VIII granted a charter to the London Trinity House. The Hull guild seems to have regarded Henry VI's mandate as a charter, though formally it was not, but when the king visited the town in 1541 he granted a charter to the Hull House also. This empowered twelve named men to renew the guild, whose primary purposes were to be the maintenance of a chaplain celebrating in Holy Trinity Church and an almshouse and chapel for thirteen poor brethren. The affairs of the guild were to be managed by two Wardens, who must be master mariners, to be elected annually on the morrow of Trinity Day. The guild was recognized as a legal entity, with rights to sue and be sued, a common seal, and rights to hold real property and to acquire lands to the value of £10 notwithstanding the Statute of Mortmain. Its entitlement to lowage and stowage was reaffirmed and now defined as 3d. a ton on goods entering and leaving the port. (fn. 16) This charter was confirmed in identical terms in 1547, and, with the substitution of some new names in the list of brethren, again in 1554 and 1567. (fn. 17) Despite the changes of the Reformation, the House remained technically bound to pray for the souls of the departed until 1581, when it petitioned for a new charter on the grounds that it was 'bound to superstitious usages'. (fn. 18) It had, however, sold the altar fittings and vestments and one of the pictures from the chapel in 1547 and removed another picture into the House. Possibly for a time after 1549 it was deemed wiser not to stress the fact that the House had a chaplain. Up to Trinity in that year William Herland received £1 8s. 4d. a quarter, but he appears for the next year or two as William Herland, clerk, and in 1559–60 he was replaced by plain John Thakker. In 1562 a priest reappears in the accounts with £1 10s. a quarter, which covered his assistance 'in the choir'. Thereafter there are frequent references to him, and by 1572 his salary had risen to £2 5s. a quarter.

The House wasted no time in exercising its right to sue in the courts and between 1541 and 1543 it proved its right in the Admiralty court to take lowage and stowage from Newcastle men and other foreigners. (fn. 19) This suit was probably against the Newcastle Trinity House, for by this time the Houses there and at London and Bristol were all in existence. Hull's share of the coast appears to have been from the Tees to Winterton Ness, in Norfolk. In 1546 the House drew up a wage scale for the seamen of the port, setting out the wages payable for various voyages including those within the British Isles, and those to Scandinavia, the Baltic, the Low Countries, France, and Spain. The Mediterranean was not included, the Iceland voyage seems to have ended, and the Spitzbergen whaling voyage had not yet begun. The document concludes with several definitions of the rights of masters and mariners: a mariner was to serve six days on a coaling voyage and twelve on any other after the ship docked; a mariner who had engaged himself with a master and then received a more attractive offer was to hold to his original bargain; no master was to try to induce a man, already hired, to serve with him; all masters were to pay lowage and stowage within a fortnight of landing, under penalty of £10; and all disputes about wages and freight were to be referred to the House for settlement. (fn. 20)

Thus by 1550 the main lines of the development of the House were fixed. It was a close corporation of master mariners who claimed and exercised the right to adjudicate on all questions concerning mariners' wages, to enforce the payment of primage by masters, and to compel Hull merchants, whenever possible, to ship goods only in Hull vessels. The merchant who 'shipped foreign' was bound to lay down the full fine of £6 13s. 4d. and allow the House to take such proportion as it deemed reasonable. (fn. 21) The House was not a seamen's guild. The qualification for admission was the ability to navigate a ship to certain ports, and this was tested by examination. The training of both seaman and master mariner was, of course, by apprenticeship. A master mariner, successful in examination, paid an admission fee, usually of 6s. 8d., and was duly elected a Younger Brother. (fn. 22)

It is difficult to estimate the number of brethren existing at any one time before the 'admission book' began to be compiled in 1600. An order of 1579, signed by all present, bears 33 signatures or marks, but as it was made in August the number of absentees at sea was probably at about its highest. (fn. 23) The admission book was begun to ensure that only brethren received relief: it was said to contain the names of all brethren then in the guild, and it was to serve as a register of newly-admitted brethren. It lists 90 initial members, and during the decade 1600–10, 64 new brethren were admitted. (fn. 24)

The rights of the guild were confirmed and extended by the charter of 1581. Twelve named shipmasters were to be Elder Brethren and all other masters and pilots Younger Brethren. In addition to the two Wardens, who had to be burgesses, six Younger Brethren were to be chosen as Assistants. A quorum of one Warden, four Elders, and two Assistants was empowered to make ordinances, and they were also entitled to collect, throughout the customs jurisdiction of the port, primage at the rate of 3d. a ton on all goods imported or exported. Other existing rights were confirmed; one new one was the power to prevent the hiring in Hull of aliens to serve at sea. (fn. 25)

This charter resulted in a sudden increase in the records of the House. Hitherto, apart from the formal subscriptions and charters, the only records kept seem to have been the account books, though the end pages of these were used for the entry of more important memoranda. But after 1581 order and court books appear, and in 1600 the admission book.

The two Wardens were chosen by the whole guild from four names put forward by the Elder Brethren. At the same time two stewards were chosen from among the Younger Brethren. (fn. 26) The functions of the stewards are obscure: they are probably to be equated with the chamberlains of some other guilds, and service as steward seems to have been an essential preliminary to election as Assistant. On election the Wardens had to enter bond of £100 each to fulfil the duties of the office and present accounts in proper form. They also began their year of office, at any rate from 1663, (fn. 27) by 'calling the plate'. The bond was no mere formality; in 1615, after the failure of the Wardens to pay certain rents, their bonds and those of their sureties were held until the matter was settled. (fn. 28) The Wardens were probably originally equal in status but, as it was assumed that they would be active seafarers, each acted in turn for three months. (fn. 29) The change was marked with considerable ceremony, the brethren and pensioners attending a service in the chapel. A Warden had, of course, to take an oath, on election, to fulfil his duties and after the Test Act the oaths of allegiance and supremacy too. All other members and officers also took oaths on election. (fn. 30) In 1581 it was decided that the Board, as the governing body was called, should meet fortnightly on Thursdays, but it could always be summoned by the Warden, and it did in fact meet very much more frequently. In 1591 it was agreed that a quorum of one Warden, six Elders, and two Assistants was necessary for the admission of pensioners to the hospital. (fn. 31)

The House also had certain paid officers. The most important was the registrar, later known as the secretary. The writing up of accounts and orders was probably originally done by the chaplain, but from about the mid-16th century references to a registrar begin to appear; in 1572, for example, the registrar received £1 5s. a quarter, compared with the chaplain's £2 5s. (fn. 32) The duties of the registrar were set out in 1591. He had to keep the accounts and records of the House, and to attend to such legal business as keeping bonds and obligations, and suing defaulters on bonds; he paid legal costs out of his own pocket, but received them when the case was settled. He was also bound to ride to York on the business of the House, at his own costs, and to pay fees for counsel's opinion on the House's charters. For all this he was to have £6 a year, but he had additional fees for such duties as keeping the rota of 'great turns' and, from 1624, keeping the book in which wage agreements between masters and mariners were entered, at a fee of 1d. an entry. By this time, too, his salary had been raised to £8. (fn. 33) It became the custom for the secretary to be sworn a brother on taking office. It was a post which could readily be held by an attorney, and during the reign of Charles II it was filled by George Truman, who was also town clerk and was faced with a difficult situation when the town corporation decided to support the Merchants' Society in a lawsuit against the House. (fn. 34)

The duties of the chaplain were set out in 1641: he was to take service for the pensioners on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and to preach four sermons a year in the chapel—at the election of Wardens and at each quarter day when the Wardens changed. His salary by then was £8 a year. (fn. 35) Other officials were the collectors of primage at such members of the port of Hull as Bridlington and Grimsby, who were paid a commission of 10 per cent. One of the Crown customs officers also received a small honorarium for allowing the House's collector to see the customs books as a check on the payment of primage.

The working of the guild during the 17th and 18th centuries is conveniently considered under its different functions: its control of shipping and navigation, its work as a charitable corporation, and its relations with the town and the government. The various powers of the House to regulate shipping were carefully executed, though regulations might be varied from time to time. It was seldom, for example, that the full fine for shipping foreign was imposed, though if a merchant reviled the Board it might well demand the full amount. (fn. 36) Small fines of a few shillings were often put then and there into the poors' box, and this also benefited from brethren who attended late, failed, if aldermen, to attend in their robes, reviled the warden, spoke unseemly words, or committed other breaches of decorum.

Since the House claimed jurisdiction over the members of the port, it admitted seamen from Bridlington and Grimsby as Younger Brethren. They had no chance, however, of rising any higher, owing to the rule that Wardens must be burgesses of Hull; this debarred them from election as Elder Brethren inasmuch as they were incompetent to act as Warden. In the 18th century the House, at the request of the merchants of Bridlington, licensed a few Bridlington fishermen to act as harbour pilots, and it contributed to the relief of the seafaring poor of that town. As early as the 16th century the House was regarded by outside bodies as the sole authority for the navigation in the port. It was in contact, and sometimes conflict, with the Trinity Houses of London and Newcastle, and with the Lord Admiral. As early as 1547 the accounts mention the entertainment of the captain of the king's galley, and a little later that of the captain of the Lord Protector's barque. The House adamantly enforced its rights of jurisdiction, in matters of seamen's wages and disputes between owners and masters, against the Admiralty courts and the Council in the North. (fn. 37) It also arbitrated in matters of collision, jettison, and similar controversies.

The expertise of the brethren was in demand, too. Pilots were assigned to the king's ships; and the House appears to have been consulted about the equipment of ships supplied by Hull to meet the Armada and later for Charles's 'ship money fleet'. When Frobisher proposed to explore the NorthEast Passage he seems to have consulted the House and was lavishly entertained in 1593; (fn. 38) Hull ships were making the Spitzbergen voyage in fair numbers by that time. Hull's knowledge of the Baltic was used when the House provided pilots for the attack on Copenhagen in 1800. Until a scheme for training naval officers was introduced by James II, Trinity House brethren are occasionally found serving in a rank approximate to that of commodore, especially during the Interregnum. Such was Henry Appleton, who was in charge of a small squadron in the Mediterranean during the Dutch War in 1653. (fn. 39) During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, however, the House refused to admit naval officers as Younger Brethren, though it frequently elected high-ranking officers as honorary brethren; once, quite exceptionally, it admitted some of lower rank as honorary Younger Brethren.

Its navigational duties implied the provision of aids to navigation. As early as 1567 a beacon (or daymark) was set up, probably near Paull, followed in 1584 by the setting up of a buoy. The buoy frequently broke its moorings, and scarcely a year passed without the expense of 'seeking the can' and resetting it. (fn. 40) By agreement with the mayor and corporation in 1585, however, it was agreed that the House might collect buoyage dues from every laden ship which passed the buoy, varying from 1s. on voyages to Spain or the Baltic to 6d. on Dutch or coastal voyages. At first accounts had to be made with the mayor and aldermen, but it was later noted that the account was 'not now to be made to Mr. Mayor for the House has a warrant from the Lord Admiral'; this was possibly in 1590 when buoyage payments were separated from primage in the Wardens' accounts. (fn. 41) In the September quarter of that year the Warden accounted for 25 vessels, and in the following quarter 43. It is possible there may have been two buoys; there is a reference in 1596–7 to 'taking the can up and down from the Den-end', which indicates that one buoy was near Spurn Head, though other references point to a site near Killingholme.

By and large the House made a profit on the buoys, but lights were a different matter for they needed fuel and constant attendance. As early as 1427 a beacon light near Spurn Head had been maintained by a hermit, (fn. 42) but this had long since disappeared. The House itself proposed a lighthouse there in 1590, but apparently without effect. There were, however, many speculators seeking patents to erect a light and charge tolls on passing ships. Demands for lights were always supported by the Newcastle coal trade, and Newcastle Trinity House usually backed any attempt to establish lights on the east coast, whereas the Hull and London Trinity Houses were hostile, or at best lukewarm. The first petition, opposed by Hull, was in 1618 for a light at Spurn. (fn. 43) In 1637 the House was asked to support a petition from Scarborough for a light on Flamborough Head; not only did it refuse, but it rebuked the Scarborough men for their frowardness. The same year a petition reached the Privy Council about lights at Flamborough and Spurn; the Council referred it to the Navy Commissioners, who asked the advice of the London and Hull Trinity Houses. A full meeting of both Elder and Younger Brethren testified to the 'unusefulness' of the project. In 1657, claiming to have the backing of numerous merchants and shipmasters, another petitioner asked for a light at Spurn, but the advice of the House was again adverse. (fn. 44) Philip Frowde made a similar application in 1660 and was given leave to promote a Bill in Parliament. The London Trinity House had dropped its opposition but in 1662 the Hull House itself introduced a Bill to enable it to erect a light. Hull's main argument was that any profit would go to the poor of the House. A long and confused struggle ensued as other would-be promoters appeared. One of these was Justinian Angell, who actually set up lights with voluntary support. Both the London and Hull Houses continued their opposition, partly now on the ground that the lights were badly sited; in 1675, a month after the lights were kindled, they obtained an Order in Council to have them extinguished, but this was checked by numerous petitions, including one from Hull Corporation. Later the same year Angell got a patent giving him the right to charge ¼d. a ton on all passing ships, raised to ½d. a ton in 1678. Angell offered to pay an annual rentcharge of £40 each to the Hull and Newcastle Houses, and the Hull House finally withdrew its opposition. (fn. 45)

Hull Trinity House continued to take an interest in the lighthouses, making requests and reports to the patentees, and giving them assistance. The failure of the patentees to carry out improvements eventually led to the Acts of 1766 and 1772, which provided that new lighthouses should be built under the direction of the London House; the Hull House was given the responsibility of seeing that they were properly lighted and maintained. These powers Hull enjoyed until 1836, when they were removed by the Act which vested all English lighthouses in the London House. The £40 annuity was now the only direct interest that the Hull House retained in the lights. (fn. 46)

When a lifeboat was provided at Spurn in 1810 the House took a prominent part in selecting and paying for it, later built cottages for the crew, and contributed to various subscriptions for the purpose. The House was responsible for the lifeboat until 1908, when the Humber Conservancy Board took over. (fn. 47) When, again, the Commissioners for the Humber Pilot Act wanted another buoy at the mouth of the Humber in 1801 the House promptly sent brethren to make a survey. (fn. 48) By the end of the 18th century there was a considerable number of buoys along the Humber, and buoyage rates had risen far beyond those originally imposed. It was probably the need to supervise the buoys that led the House to acquire a yacht in 1783. (fn. 49) A yacht remained in commission throughout the 19th century, though latterly the annual visit of the buoys became a social function. The buoys were often removed in times of crisis at the command of the Admiralty. The first occasion seems to have been during the Dutch War in 1665, and the buoys were taken up again in 1745. During the period 1793 to 1814, however, they do not appear to have been lifted, and in fact new ones were set, (fn. 50) reflecting, perhaps, the improved precautions then in force for the defence of the Humber.

In 1799 the House supported a move to make the Humber pilot water, and in February 1800 voted 100 guineas towards the expenses of the Act. (fn. 51) By April the Board was asked to select pilot boats and pilots: 6 boats were chosen and 30 pilots licensed, and in the following year the number of pilots was increased to 36. (fn. 52) Some of the pilots were Younger Brethren, but others were not, and though the House played an important part, the working of the Act was vested in commissioners, a precedent destined to prove fatal to the House later on. Concessions soon had to be made, moreover, to the rank and file of the House, some of them in Grimsby, Goole, and Selby, which shared in the expanding trade of the early 19th century. It is true that mariners from these places had been admitted to the guild, but they still suffered from the provision that Wardens must be burgesses of Hull. In 1831, therefore, when the House secured the usual confirmation of its charter, the clause compelling Wardens to be burgesses was dropped. In 1836, by a second charter from William IV, the election of Wardens was vested in the whole guild instead of being reserved to the Elder Brethren. (fn. 53)

In one other way the House acted as a navigation authority. Under the charters of 1581 and 1661 (fn. 54) it had the right to supervise arrangements in the haven, and a House officer acted as harbour master. The haven was a most congested anchorage. Merchants with houses backing upon the river had their own quays, and the only public quays were the common staiths. After 1541 the east side of the haven was occupied by fortifications and could not be used for berthing. This peculiar situation was recognized by the exemption of Hull from the regulation that goods might be landed only at a legal and open quay, which was laid down in the Customs Act of 1559. (fn. 55) It also resulted in one of the most stringent rules made by the House, that against ships mooring more than two abreast for more than a tide. (fn. 56) The symbol of office of the House officer was his axe with which he could cut the cables of offending ships. In order to overcome the difficulties of taking a ship into the narrow mouth of the haven, the House built the 'dolphin', a kind of capstan which stood in the river mouth and was used to hale ships in and veer them out. This came into use at the end of the 16th century and by the charter of 1661 the House was entitled to make charges for its maintenance; charges had in fact already been made in 1656, and long before then the House had fined shipmasters for damaging the dolphin, or using it as a mooring. (fn. 57)

Important though the control of navigation was, the charitable activities of the House preceded it and have outlasted it. The House maintained not only the inmates of its hospital, but also a number of outpensioners. The full number of inmates laid down at the refoundation of the guild in 1456–7 was thirteen. In 1484 there were certainly 10 or 11 inmates and in the following year at least twelve. Their weekly stipend was probably about 6d., but they also received coal, turf, and wood, and occasional feasts too. They seem to have attended the funerals of brethren, for which they received a few pence, and they probably received the fines paid into the poors' box which stood on the table at meetings of the Board. An outbreak of plague generally meant an increase in payments to the poor. In 1583, for example, it was decided to reduce relief to the preplague amount. This order may have referred to outpensioners, but the plague was certainly in the House in 1576 when an extra £1 19s. 3d. was voted to the inmates. (fn. 58) The inmates were usually widows, presumably of Younger Brethren after 1581, though there are indications that brethren were themselves occasionally given places.

The out-pensioners fell into two categories—those on what may be called the permanent list, and those granted temporary relief. The regular payments varied; 6s. 8d. a year was fairly common, but a list in 1587 shows eight pensioners drawing amounts varying from 2s. to 10s. Children appear also: the same list mentions two, each receiving 1s. 8d. a quarter. The out-pensioners were probably the widows of seamen, or sometimes evidently of brethren, who were waiting their turn to enter the hospital. Occasionally they were admitted to other almshouses and continued to draw pay from the House, like a widow who went into Gregg's Hospital in 1594. Those on temporary relief were a much more mixed lot. As a rule they seem to have been destitute mariners who were given a grant to tide them over until they could get a berth. The House made no distinction between Hull seamen and others in this matter; there are, for example, references to 'Dutchmen', Scots, and Frenchmen. Sometimes a sick seaman was nursed in the hospital, like a 'Dutchman' 'brought into the house until he was whole' in 1552, and a Frenchman who died in the house in 1555. Sometimes the House gave a grant to someone not connected with the sea: a 'poor scholar', for example, in 1576. Sometimes a whole ship's company was relieved, like the Yarmouth men 'that had their ship taken from them with wild Irish' who were given 5s. 4d. in 1545, or 'the Dutchmen that was prisoners' who had 5s. in 1546. The House also had a few Icelanders on its hands for some time. In 1592–3 a payment of 3s. was made to a 'shipbroken man which was in the Revenge'; he was followed a little later by two others from the same ship who got only 2s. each, and subsequently by a fourth who got only 1s. 4d. from a perhaps increasingly suspicious House. (fn. 59)

Seafaring men presented a special problem for those responsible for poor relief in any port. In Hull there seems, in fact, to have been a tacit agreement that Trinity House looked after seamen and their dependants. The House may also occasionally have helped the corporation; there are, for example, payments of £1 4s. in 1584 and £2 in 1587 to the poor of the town. (fn. 60) When, moreover, during the plague of 1637–8, the corporation asked the Privy Council to grant letters soliciting relief from the whole of Yorkshire, the House came to its assistance with a grant of £20 for Christmas 1637, and in the following March by promising to pay £4 10s. a week; it pointed out, however, that it was itself responsible for the relief of poor seamen. (fn. 61) Throughout its history the House kept firmly to this principle. In the 18th century it was generous in subscribing to special charities for the poor; during the Napoleonic Wars, for example, when almost every winter saw the opening of a subscription for coals and the provision of soup kitchens, it always gave a handsome donation. (fn. 62) Yet it made it quite clear that this was ex gratia, steadfastly refused to pay poor-rates on its buildings, and threatened a lawsuit when an attempt was made to assess its income from primage in 1798. (fn. 63)

From the early 17th century the relationship of the guild to the inmates of the hospital becomes clearer. It seems that places in the hospital were being given by favour, hence the order of 1591 that no inmates should be taken into the House without the consent of one Warden, six Elder Brethren, and two Assistants. In 1613 it was ordered that the limit of thirteen inmates should not be exceeded, that all should be brethren or their widows, and that any Warden or brother endeavouring to place more should forfeit £2. No regular pay was to be given to poor people outside the House, except those already on the weekly list. (fn. 64) This legislation was certainly not effective so far as out-pensioners were concerned, and it may have been merely an attempt to keep the number down to the existing level.

Early in the 17th century there are references to the 'New Hospital', though there appears to be no record of its building or foundation. It is first heard of in 1633 when a widow was admitted to a room there. (fn. 65) Possibly it was the hospital founded by Thomas Ferries, a great benefactor of the House, which was described in his will as being near Trinity House, (fn. 66) perhaps in Trinity House Lane. Its management was perhaps entrusted to the House after Ferries's death in 1631, though his will does not mention the fact. According to Ferries's will there were 10 pensioners in his hospital and 14 in Trinity House in 1630, but by 1634 there were possibly about 40 inmates all told. (fn. 67) Their stipends were occasionally varied according to the dearness of provisions and the finances of the House; (fn. 68) but one principle was always adhered to, that the rate for the New Hospital was to be lower than that for the House. It became usual for widows to be admitted first to the New, and then as vacancies occurred to be promoted to the House. In the 18th century a nurse was appointed for the hospitals, and there was also a surgeon. It was the duty of the chaplain to catechize the inmates three times a week and to read prayers on Sunday. The general oversight of the pensioners was the duty of a House officer, who in 1635 was instructed to make weekly reports to the Board on the conduct of the inmates. In 1664, when discipline seems to have been very relaxed, it was necessary to decree that the doors should be locked at 9 p.m. in summer and 7 p.m. in winter and late-comers reported. (fn. 69)

The experience of the House in the management of an almshouse was widely recognized and from the beginning of the 18th century its commitments increased. In 1682 William Robinson had founded an almshouse near the town walls, in what is now Prince's Dock Street, and its management was made over to the House in 1697. (fn. 70) The next step was more important. In 1742 the Merchant Seaman's Act (fn. 71) authorized a levy of 6d. a month on all seamen's wages to establish a fund for the support of widows and dependants. In ports where suitable bodies existed, the working of the Act was entrusted to them, and Trinity House became responsible for Hull. Collectors were appointed at Hull and its members, and paid by a commission of 2s. in the £ collected, but the task of keeping the muster rolls devolved on the Warden's clerk. The funds collected under the Act were kept separate from the House funds and applied to the relief of the ordinary seaman, who was unlikely ever to be admitted to the guild and so qualify for admission to the almshouses. By 1781 the House was able to build the Merchant Seamen's Hospital behind Whitefriargate to house those who came on this fund, and in 1786 the socalled Marine Hospital was built in Trinity House Lane, adjoining the new school. (fn. 72)

By the mid-18th century the older hospitals were in some disrepair, and in 1752 it was agreed to lay aside all quarterly feasts to rebuild them. The new building had accommodation for 32 pensioners. Originally each seems to have had one room, but later two rooms were allowed. In 1768 it was decided to rebuild Robinson's Hospital also. (fn. 73) By this time the House had added yet another to its duties, the provision of education in navigation. As far back as 1729 it had been agreed to pay a private schoolmaster £12 a year to teach navigation, arithmetic, and writing to 12 children to be nominated by the Board. Nothing seems to have come of this, but in 1785 it was decided to establish a marine school and this was opened in 1787. There were 36 boys, who stayed for three years and then were apprenticed to a shipmaster for a period of five to seven years. The first master had a salary of £50. The boys were clothed by the House in blue cloth dress coat with tails, and waistcoat, both with brass buttons, and trousers of white duck. The Board was insistent that boys must stay the full three years, except in special cases. The original school building was in Trinity House Lane. (fn. 74)

In the late 18th century there seems to have been an evening school for seamen attended by the crews of ships which were laid up for the winter. Though this was not the concern of the Board, it was agreed in 1800 that the master might catechize the pupils of the sailors' school together with the marine scholars. There was, however, some trouble over the master's right to take in private pupils, and in 1801 he was forbidden to keep boarders and lodgers in the school-house. An increase of salary to £65 in 1800 may have been in lieu of profits from boarders. Nevertheless in 1803 the master was given leave to teach a few boys to write in the school-house. (fn. 75)

The period after Waterloo witnessed considerable building activity, presumably caused by increased demands for accommodation in the hospital. Ferries's Hospital was rebuilt in 1822. In 1828 a new block of almshouses was built to the west of the original ones, fronting on Posterngate, and in 1834 the fine almshouses in Carr Lane. In 1839 a fire in the House resulted in considerable new building. The chapel seems to have suffered most, and it was decided to move it from its original site in Trinity House Lane to a more central site. This provided the opportunity to rebuild part of the east front with a set of new offices. At the same time the west court was built, extending to the newly-opened Prince's Dock and having a gateway on the dockside which incorporated the Victoria Almshouse. (fn. 76) This gave the House a range of offices to let in Posterngate, whilst on the north side of the new court was erected a new school building; the school had by now doubled in size and was divided into lower and upper departments. (fn. 77) The last expansion of the hospitals occurred in 1851, when Kingston College, in Beverley Road, was taken over and used as an almshouse. In the 1930s it was decided to close the scattered almshouses and to build a new block to house the then much reduced number of pensioners. In 1940 the first of the present almshouses in Anlaby Road were opened. (fn. 78)

Inevitably a powerful and, as it later became, a wealthy corporation like the Trinity House played an important part in the history of the town. It controlled the shipping of the port, managed the haven, and treated the town authorities on a footing of equality. The explanation of this may lie in Hull's position, in the Middle Ages and later, as a town of mariners rather than merchants; it acted as the outport for stronger and older-established mercantile communities in York and Beverley, and shipping may have been regarded as more important than trade. It is perhaps significant to contrast the situation in Hull with that in Bristol, where the Merchant Adventurers took control of the Trinity House; exactly the opposite happened in Hull.

Although by the charter of 1541 the House was entitled to acquire land to the value of £10, it does not seem to have taken advantage of this provision for some time, and its main source of income continued to be primage. Thus the prosperity of the House was geared to the trade of the port, and fluctuations in national trade are reflected in the Wardens' accounts. In its early days the House was not wealthy, and occasionally had to borrow from brethren, but generally the accounts showed a small profit and by the mid-16th century the House had accumulated capital of about £150. It had ample opportunity to increase this by lending it to brethren. The House also began by the late 16th century to acquire plate, usually by gifts from brethren. In 1641 the cash in the House amounted to £463 and there were thirty bonds for loans and a considerable amount of plate. In 1643 it bought broken plate from Ferdinand, Lord Fairfax, to the value of £400 and sold it at a small profit in London. (fn. 79)

By this time the House had become interested in land, too. It had originally been a tenant of the Carmelites; after the Dissolution their property passed eventually to Thomas Ferries and in 1621 he made over the site to the House, (fn. 80) which thus became one of the largest landowners in the town. This gift included land outside Beverley Gate, in what was later Carr Lane. The House began at once to let out land on building leases, starting with the corner of Trinity House Lane and Whitefriargate, and by 1647 it had 23 houses on the estate. (fn. 81)

The House was now a wealthy as well as an influential body. Its greatest achievement in the 17th century was its victory over the Merchants' Society. This had been chartered by Elizabeth I and was modelled on the Merchant Adventurers in other towns; it was intended to be a close corporation of all those merchants who exported or imported goods. The House saw this as a threat to its rights to primage and in 1613 ordered that no member of the Society should be admitted a brother, though three Elder Brethren, two Assistants, and two Younger Brethren, already members of the Society, were allowed to retain their positions. (fn. 82) It was prepared to elect merchants as honorary brethren, like Sir John Lister in 1640, but an honorary brother had, of course, no say in the management of the House. By 1660 the House was suffering from the attempts of the Society to prevent masters and mariners from importing even small quantities of goods, and it alleged that the Society was admitting tradesmen who had no export business. In 1664 the House took the matter to court and won its case; (fn. 83) the Society subsequently declined and little more is heard of it.

In all matters concerning navigation the House dealt directly with the Admiralty, which frequently sought its help and advice. It might be asked to provide a pilot for a man-of-war, or to make arrangements for the launch of a warship built at Hessle, an operation which called for the assistance of 26 Younger Brethren and 10 masters when a 50-gun ship was launched in 1747. (fn. 84) Impressment at times led to friction with the Admiralty, and in 1747 the House joined Hull Corporation in opposing the Impressment Bill. It was willing, however, to assist recruitment during the Napoleonic Wars by offering extra bounties to induce men to enlist. Younger Brethren were exempt from impressment, though liable to what amounted to compulsory service as pilots if detailed by the House. This did not prevent Younger Brethren in their private capacity as masters from resisting the press gangs, but on the whole the regulating officers kept on good terms with the House and one at least was elected an honorary brother. The advice and help of the House was also sought in matters concerning the defence of the Humber. In 1745 the Wardens and two Elder Brethren were given commissions to raise a company of artillery for its defence if the Jacobites or French tried to make a landing; and during the French wars, especially the invasion scare of 1804, the House raised and manned a company of volunteer artillery. It also armed the House yacht and gave advice about the siting of signal stations. (fn. 85)

At parliamentary elections the interest of the House was solicited by rival candidates; the brethren sometimes assembled for a communal breakfast before going to the hustings, and afterwards the new members were invited to dinner in the House. In return the M.P.s were expected to secure minor customs appointments for nominees of the House, to present plate and portraits, and to support the House's interest in all matters concerning navigation.

As the income of the House increased, it was able to support various local and national charities. In 1767, for instance, it voted 20 guineas to the S.P.G. for a charity school in Lebanon, Connecticut; (fn. 86) it gave money to the Humane Society and the Hull Dispensary; and, as has been seen, it was generous in supporting local activities for helping the poor. When a national fund was raised for the war in 1798 it not only voted £500, but opened a subscription list among the brethren. (fn. 87) By this time its funds were divided into a general fund and an Elder Brethren and Assistants fund; the latter was in part maintained by the 'treaty money', for in 1748 it was decided that every newly-elected Elder or Assistant must either stand treat or pay £10. (fn. 88) The House was punctilious in presenting loyal addresses to mark victories and similar occasions, and sometimes a celebration feast was given to the pensioners.

A major problem in Hull in the mid-18th century was that of dock facilities. The increase in trade had made the haven inadequate, and on the whole the House favoured the idea of dock extension, always provided that its privileges were unaffected. The House was therefore one of the chief supporters of the Dock Act of 1774. It retained its right to appoint the harbour master, who also looked after the new dock, and it was entitled along with the town corporation to take up ten shares, the normal holding being limited to two. The resultant increase in trade was so great, however, that within fifteen years demands were made for a further extension. Because of fierce differences of opinion as to how this should be done, it was not until 1802 that an Act was passed to authorize the building of the present Humber Dock. The House ultimately supported this scheme, though it would probably have preferred the alternative of converting the haven into an enclosed dock. (fn. 89)

The House continued to develop its property in the town, taking full advantage of increasing values. It subscribed in 1797 to the tontine for building Parliament Street, though it opposed the idea of a triumphal arch at the entry. Its most ambitious scheme, perhaps, was the building of the Neptune Inn in Whitefriargate in 1794–7. As an inn the 'Neptune' was not a great success. It frequently changed hands, and it seems that the rent of £300 which the House asked was uneconomic. Finally, in 1815, the House was relieved to let it to H.M. Customs. (fn. 90)

There is little doubt, however, that the end of the Napoleonic era saw the House at the height of its prosperity. All its sources of income were yielding higher rates than ever before, and its commitments had not increased in anything like the same proportion. But the atmosphere of the post-Napoleonic period was unfavourable to old and possibly corrupt corporations. When the commissioners came to take evidence about municipal corporations, a determined effort was made to drag the House's affairs into the public eye and the commissioners, somewhat irregularly, did hear some evidence. The House could not, moreover, escape inspection by the Charity Commissioners. It may well be that the spurt of new building of almshouses in the 1830s and the reforms in the charters of William IV were an attempt to meet the increasing weight of criticism. Such criticism, however, continued; James Acland occasionally turned from his diatribes against the town corporation to deliver a broadside at Trinity House, and his paper, the Hull Portfolio, was open to any writer with a grievance against the House. It was not only local opposition that the House had to face. Why, when Parliament was repealing the Navigation Acts, should Hull be allowed to have what amounted to a private one of its own? Why should new and go-ahead ports like Goole be bound by the ancient conventions of Hull? Trinity House might be capable of deciding whether a man was competent to take charge of a Hull ship, but the government required all master mariners to have the master's certificate of the Board of Trade. The House might be competent to license Humber pilots, but it could not, perhaps, justly claim to do much more than this. Throughout the mid-Victorian period, therefore, the House was fighting a losing battle to retain its privileges. In a real sense it admitted defeat when the Humber Conservancy Act was passed in 1852 (fn. 91) and it lost control over the shipping of the Humber. The Elder Brethren and Assistants of the House were still a body of practical seamen, however, and they retained a number of seats on the new governing body. It was the same with pilotage: if a new Humber Pilotage Board was to be formed, it would need the practical advice of men with knowledge of the river. But the House's old rights of lowage and stowage, its claim to the exclusive right of pilotage, and its right to prevent Hull merchants from 'shipping foreign' were out of line with the ideas of the 19th century and had to go. (fn. 92) So, too, had its duty to collect seamens' sixpences, but the lessons of this were not forgotten. The Trinity Provident Society continued under the House's direction to afford the seaman the means of making, by voluntary contributions, some provision for his dependants and his old age.

Even in the age of laissez-faire, however, there was scope for education and charity. The marine school continued to provide an efficient education of a type for which the state made no provision until late in the century, and an increasing number of boys profited from it. The school is still in existence. And so long as the House faithfully administered its funds there was every reason to allow its charitable work to continue, as it still continues today. The wheel had turned full circle. After four centuries of pride and power the House was back where it started, helping those impoverished by 'infortune of the seas'.

The buildings of Trinity House lie within the block bounded by Whitefriargate on the north, Prince's Dock Street on the west, Trinity House Lane on the east, and Posterngate on the south. The rebuilding of much of the House took place in 1753–8. (fn. 93) Its nucleus, comprising the chapel, court room, and council chamber, had been refronted with stock brick in 1752 and there is no evidence of subsequent demolition and rebuilding, though there was much alteration and redecoration at various dates. The remaining three sides of the principal court were totally renewed, an exchange of ground with the town corporation allowing for the widening of Posterngate and the straightening of the front to Trinity House Lane. The foundation stone was laid in June 1753, and building proceeded rapidly. The surviving records do not show who designed the new building, but they do reveal the names of the craftsmen involved. (fn. 94) The principal front of nine bays faces Trinity House Lane and was originally of brick with stone dressings, the existing stucco not being added until 1828. The pedimented centre bays are dominated by Jeremiah Hargrave's boldly-sculptured tympanum, beneath which is the ample entrance doorway with its Doric columns and segmental pediment. (fn. 95) The windows on each floor have stone architraves, those on the ground floor having cornices in addition; these motifs were added to the Posterngate front only in 1828. The main front was extended twice: in 1772 by the chapel designed by Sir William Chambers, and a decade later by the marine school, the architect being Charles Mountain, the elder. Both were demolished to make way for the existing offices of 1844.

The Board wanted a 'neat' chapel and the deputation to Chambers had orders not to give a fee of more than 10 guineas, but the architect's 'very polite behaviour' seems to have earned him a present instead. The interior was fitted out in mahogany, with purple velvet cushions and a green silk curtain for the east window; for the window glass a design, costing 5 guineas, had been solicited from William Peckitt, of York. The craftsmen included Hargrave, Buck, and Nightingale, stone-masons, and Richard Hebblewhite and Charles Mountain, plasterers.

Before the chapel was quite finished the Board began to consider remodelling the suite of rooms within the House. In 1773 Joseph Page was paid 6 guineas for his plans and estimates. The scheme included 'elevating' the walls, with the result that the upper corners of the courtyard facade are sham, and redecorating the interior in the 'Adam' manner. Page, who had been quick to learn from Lord Burlington when designing Maisters House 30 years before, now, only two years before his death, responded equally well to the new fashion. Two Venetian windows, Doric without and Ionic within, face the courtyard; toward the garden there is a deep apse. The Ionic capitals have drapery swags in the French manner, and the extra mouldings of the bases are also unusual. The marble chimney-piece has Ionic columns, too, with the frieze and blockings displaying coloured inlay work in the manner of Bossi. The door-heads have a rich frieze motif derived from an antique example found at Nimes, but the coved ceiling is the chief feature of the court room. Here the delicate plasterwork consists of a central rosette framed by wide links of a vine pattern making a three-lobed design in the manner of Adam or Wyatt. The plaster wall panels, however, are edged by gadrooning, by then an old-fashioned motif. The painted decoration is of the 19th century.

The council chamber is also decorated in the Adam style, but whether it is a faithful reproduction of that existing before the fire which occurred in 1924 is uncertain. (fn. 96) The black and gold marble chimney-piece which survived the fire is early Victorian, as are the remainder of the rooms on the first floor, that is, the staircase and lobby, the museum, and the reading room. This suite, dating from the 1830s and early 1840s, is an interesting amalgam of belated Georgian, 'Jacobethan', and Victorian motifs, and was presumably carried out to the designs of the successive surveyors appointed by the Board at this period.

The existing chapel, built between 1839 and 1843 to the designs of H. F. Lockwood, closes the view from the council chamber. The first proposals were for a simpler building but Lockwood was asked to enrich both the east elevation, which was visible from the House, and the interior. The former has stone pilasters of the Greek Corinthian order, set against a stuccoed wall which effectively conceals the eastern apse. The west front closes the vista through the arch of the former Victoria Almshouse; its principal feature is horizontal stucco rustication. Above the projecting porch can be seen one of the huge lunette windows that light the nave. The north and south fronts, hemmed in by other buildings, are plain. The interior owes much to Wren in its basic plan, but the details are characteristic of the Greek Revival. The marble for the nave and chancel pillars was quarried at Ashford (Derbys.). A dolphin replaces the usual flower at the centre of the Corinthian capitals. Simple coffering was used within the apse and for the barrel vault over the western gallery, while the nave ceiling is Lockwood's interpretation of a theme which had been employed, with many variations, by Sir John Soane. Traditionally, the altar is a survival from the chapel of 1772. The stained glass of the east window was made in London by a Mr. Stangroom, while that of the lunettes was by Ralph Howe, of Hull.

If each succeeding chapel was to prove too small, the 1753 almshouse proved likewise. Among the buildings subsequently erected, Robinson's Hospital was rebuilt in 1768–9 by John Storicker, though whether to his own designs or to those of James Beckett or William Varley is uncertain. The Merchant Seamen's Hospital of 1781 was by Hammond and Riddell. Ferries's Hospital (1822) was designed by John Earle, who also executed the sculpture of the pediment, in a style reminiscent of the mid18th-century work on the east front of Trinity House itself. Trinity Almshouse (1828) was designed by Charles Mountain, the younger, who was also responsible for the Master Mariners' Hospital in Carr Lane (1834). (fn. 97)

The right to have a common seal was granted to the House in the charter of 1541. (fn. 98) The making of a silver seal is recorded in 1581, and a new seal was made in 1606. The latter is round, 2¼ inches. It depicts a man dressed in a cloak, holding a staff. (fn. 99) Legend, humanistic:

sigillum domus trinitatis ville regie super hull.

The seal was recut in 1803 but was replaced by a new one in 1841. The old silver matrix, which was 'broken' in 1841, survives.

The seal of 1841, which is still in use, is round, 23/8 inches. It depicts a sailing ship, with a pilot in the bows and a steersman. Legend, lombardic:

sigillum commune domus trinitatis ville regie super hull.

The seal was recut in 1936.

There is also a lesser seal, presumably the seal recorded as being made in 1622. It is round, 13/8 inch. It depicts a man in the costume of the period, holding a staff. Legend, lombardic:

sigillum gardianorum trinitatis domus.

The matrix survives.


  • 1. Hull Trin. Ho. Records. Printed in J. M. Lambert, Two Thousand Years of Gild Life, 128–31.
  • 2. York Mercers and Merch. Adv. (Sur. Soc. 129), pp. iii–v.
  • 3. Toulmin Smith, Eng. Guilds (Early Eng. Text Soc. 40), 155 sqq.
  • 4. Trin. Ho. Rec.
  • 5. Trin. Ho. Rec., Subscription No. 3.
  • 6. The rates varied; for a printed example see First Order Bk. Hull Trin. Ho., ed. F. W. Brooks (Y.A.S. Rec. Ser. 105), 83–84.
  • 7. Trin. Ho. Rec., Subscription No. 3.
  • 8. The original is lost but copies are in Hull Corp. Rec., B.B. 3a, f. 97v.; ibid. L.6; Trin. Ho. Rec. All are undated.
  • 9. References are to Trin. Ho. Rec., 1st Acct. Bk., sub anno.
  • 10. He was apparently not a local man, being paid 16s. 4d. in 1470 'at his going home'.
  • 11. See p. 406.
  • 12. The accounts were kept in the form of a day-book and the exact amounts of lowage paid yearly are difficult to establish.
  • 13. Trin. Ho. Rec., Subscription No. 4.
  • 14. Ibid. 1st Acct. Bk.
  • 15. Ibid.
  • 16. Ibid. Charter No. 1; the cost of the charter was nearly £31: ibid. 1st Acct. Bk.
  • 17. Ibid. Charters Nos. 2–4.
  • 18. Ibid. Charter No. 5.
  • 19. Ibid. 1st Acct. Bk.
  • 20. Ibid. Subscription No. 5. See F. W. Brooks, 'Wage Scale for Seamen', E.H.R. lx. 234–46.
  • 21. First Order Bk. p. xix.
  • 22. e.g. First Order Bk. 13, 30.
  • 23. 'Calendars of Early Judgments and of Early Orders from the Oath and Bond Book of Hull Trinity Ho.', ed. F. W. Brooks, in Miscellanea, v (Y.A.S. Rec. Ser. 116), 50–51.
  • 24. Trin. Ho. Rec.
  • 25. Ibid. Charter No. 5.
  • 26. First Order Bk. 31 and passim.
  • 27. This is the date of the first list of plate in the Oath and Bond Bk. but there are earlier lists of bonds and plate in the Order Bks.
  • 28. Miscellanea, v. 58.
  • 29. The modern term 'master warden' has no historical foundation.
  • 30. The oaths of Younger and Elder Brethren are in Miscellanea, v. 47.
  • 31. Ibid. 52, 54.
  • 32. Trin. Ho. Rec., 1st Acct. Bk.
  • 33. Miscellanea, v. 54–55, 56, 60.
  • 34. First Order Bk. 172.
  • 35. Ibid. 50–51.
  • 36. e.g. ibid. 7.
  • 37. Miscellanea, v. 59.
  • 38. Trin. Ho. Rec., 1st Acct. Bk., under 1592–3 and 1593–4.
  • 39. F. W. Brooks, 'Captain Henry Appleton', Y.A.J. xxxvi. 357–65.
  • 40. e.g. 1st Acct. Bk., under 1592–3. A can buoy was a conical buoy, moored point downwards, with a topmarker.
  • 41. Miscellanea, v. 3.
  • 42. See p. 49.
  • 43. J. Whormby, Acct. of Corp. of Trin. Ho. of Deptford Strond (1861), 114.
  • 44. First Order Bk. 24, 28, 31, 140.
  • 45. Trin. Ho. Rec., Spurn Lights File.
  • 46. 6 Geo. III, c. 31; 12 Geo. III, c. 29; 6 & 7 Wm. IV, c. 79.
  • 47. Trin. Ho. Rec., Spurn Point and Spurn Lifeboat File.
  • 48. Ibid. Vote Bk., sub anno.
  • 49. Ibid.
  • 50. Ibid. Letter Bk. I, passim; Buoyage Files.
  • 51. 39 & 40 Geo. III, c. 10 (local and personal Act).
  • 52. Trin. Ho. Rec., Vote Bk., sub anno.
  • 53. Ibid. Charters Nos. 9, 10.
  • 54. Ibid. Nos. 5, 8.
  • 55. 1 Eliz. c. 11. See p. 185.
  • 56. First Order Bk. 48, 85, 89, 90, 101.
  • 57. Ibid. 3, 6, 131.
  • 58. Trin. Ho. Rec., 1st Acct. Bk.
  • 59. Ibid.
  • 60. Ibid.
  • 61. First Order Bk. 26, 27.
  • 62. e.g. grants of 20 guineas in Mar. and Apr. and 100 guineas in Dec. 1800: Trin. Ho. Rec., Vote Bk., sub anno.
  • 63. Ibid.
  • 64. Miscellanea, v. 54, 57.
  • 65. First Order Bk. 6.
  • 66. York Dioc. Regy. (St. Ant. Hall), Prob. Reg. xli, f. 351; see p. 345.
  • 67. First Order Bk. pp. xxiii–xxiv.
  • 68. Ibid. 58, 79.
  • 69. Ibid. 18, 160.
  • 70. See p. 345.
  • 71. 20 Geo. II, c. 38.
  • 72. Trin. Ho. Rec., Vote Bk., sub anno.
  • 73. See pp. 406–7.
  • 74. See p. 349.
  • 75. Trin. Ho. Rec., Vote Bk., sub anno.
  • 76. See p. 346.
  • 77. See p. 369.
  • 78. See pp. 345–6.
  • 79. First Order Bk. 51, 62, 63, 65, 66, 68.
  • 80. See p. 334.
  • 81. First Order Bk. 82–83.
  • 82. Miscellanea, v. 57.
  • 83. First Order Bk. 166–73.
  • 84. Trin. Ho. Rec., Order Bk. p. 185.
  • 85. Ibid. Vote Bk., sub anno.
  • 86. Ibid. Order Bk. 19 Oct. 1767.
  • 87. Ibid. Vote Bk. 16 Jan. 1798.
  • 88. Ibid. Order Bk. p. 187.
  • 89. See p. 187.
  • 90. Trin. Ho. Rec., Vote Bk., sub anno.
  • 91. 15 & 16 Vic. c. 130 (local and personal Act).
  • 92. The collection of primage ended in 1872, under an Act of 1861: 24 & 25 Vic. c. 47.
  • 93. This account, based on the relevant Vote, Order, and Acct. Bks., at Trinity Ho., is by I. Hall.
  • 94. The more important were Thomas Scott, bricklayer, William Rushworth, stone-mason, George Schonswar, joiner, Jeremiah Hargrave, sculptor, and John Waugh, who did the ironwork.
  • 95. See plate facing p. 209.
  • 96. The plasterers were a Mr. Clark, of the Hull School of Art, and an itinerant Italian.
  • 97. See plate facing p. 387.
  • 98. The information on seals has been supplied by Commander A. Storey, of Trinity House.
  • 99. Illustrated in Tickell, Hist. Hull, after p. 940.