Cowes Pilots, 1808

In 1808 Trinity House took over the examination and licensing of pilots. The local Customs officer in each outport ( i.e. outside London ) made a return of pilots working there at that date; the Cowes return includes pilots from all areas of the Island. For the future it was recommended that 35 First Class and 35 Second Class pilots should be licensed so that one of each could go in each boat. The men were examined by using the questions normally used to ascertain the competency of masters of men of war in the Navy, along with questions on the coast and localities they would be covering - headlands, bearings, buoys, depths of water and distances. The names of persons "notoriously following the smuggling traffic and no other pursuit" were not among those recommended.

The Trinity House records are held at the Guildhall Library in London which has a leaflet for family historians listing the types of records available for pilots, masters and mates who were licensed to be their own pilots, lighthouse keepers, alms-people and pensioners, watermen (on the Thames) and the ships' apprentices from Christ's Hospital Mathematical School; the 1808 list of pilots already working in the outports has the reference Ms 30193.

As some pilot boats were absent from port there are names amongst those subsequently recommended who do not appear on this list; also three first class numbers (33 - 35) were left open "for 3 respectable Pilots who have pursued the employ from childhood but present engagements induce to postpone examination".

Those names with * were recommended for First Class and, with the exception of William Corke who was a master, they were all owners of their boats; those with ** were recommended for Second Class. I have added the names of those not on the original list at the end. Were the ones who were not recommended involved in smuggling, or were they just incompetent ? Square brackets are used where I think there might be a mistake in the copying [ mine or theirs ] resulting in differences between the lists; as with all transcripts of documents in which you are interested you should always check the original.

West Cowes
Thomas FRANCIS Senr*
Phillip FRANCIS*
Thomas FRANCIS junr**
James DENHAM*
Richard CLARKE[senr]*
Thomas BURTON**
John HARLEY
Benjamin COURTENEY
Joseph DRAYTON**
Robert DAVIS*
Edward Pittis KNELL*
James BASCOMBE**
John DAVIS
Edward MITCHELL*
William MITCHELL
John DENHAM**
Jonas DENHAM**
George CORKE Senr*
John LUTER**
John RICHARDS**
Loving CORKE*
Thomas CORKE*
Edward WHITE**
Roger PARKMAN**
William NUTKINS**
William SAUNDERS*
George BEED**
Edward MOTH
Richard CLARKE junr
William CORKE*
William KENT
James CLEAR*
Edward CLEAR
Anthony BARROW
Edward CORKE junr*
George CORKE junr
Jacob BARWICK
James DRAYTON*
William BURRIDGE*
William JENETT
Michael CORKE*
Thomas BLANDFORD
Henry LACEY**
James BOOKER**
James DRAYTON
Peter SHERRING*
John SHERRING
Josh RANDALL*
William ROSE**
Francis CLARK
 
                            Bembridge
William WALLIS*
John CAWS
William CAWS
James MATTHEWS*
Richard SEYMOUR
Jeremiah WALLIS*
John CAWS junr
John ATRILL
James HALE
 
Yarmouth
John LONG Senr
John LONG Junr
Thomas PAGE
Benjamin CAMMELL[?James]*
Henry DOVE senr
Henry DOVE junr
James BRIGHT
 
Atherfield
John WHEELER
William WHEELER[?Ryde]**
 
Ryde
William SAUNDERS [?George]**
John DYER
Richard ATRILL
George AUSTIN*
William STEWARD*
David PURKINS[Purkis]**
 
Saint Helens
Edward WADE
Benjamin OSMOND
John BURTON
 
Portsmouth
John KINGSWELL*
Richard WOODNUT [Robert]**
 
Nettlestone
John CAWS Senr*
John CAWS Junr**
William CAWS**
Richard CAWS Senr*
Richard CAWS junr**
Richard MATTHEWS**
 
Pilots First Class
23   James BEAZLEY Ryde
25   Richard WEARN Ryde
26   Thomas SANDERS Ryde
27   William SWEETMAN Ryde
Pilots Second Class
14   Edward F. BROWN Cowes
16   William DAVIDGE Cowes
18   Daniel BROWN Cowes
21   William BEVIS Ryde
24   William ELKINS Ryde
25   Josh SEYMOUR Ryde
27   James WALLIS St Helens
34   Anthony CAWS Nettlestone
35   Henry CAWS Nettlestone


Ms 30174 ( Outport Pilots 1808 - 1846 ) gives a physical description of pilots on their appointment or promotion e.g. James SOUTHCOTT, Ryde, aged 37, 5'6" tall, fair complexion, light hair was appointed 2nd class No 25 17 Feb 1813 and promoted 1st class No 41 20 Nov 1816.

© 2001 Isle of Wight Family History Society journal
By the late Di Harding