Collection date: Aug 1905
Tom Griffiths of Bridgwater (1828-1909): age 77, 2 songs (FT549, 553) Aug 1905: In 1901 census (ref RG13/2283 f97 p42) Thomas was living in Salmon Parade, Bridgwater with his wife Jane. He was a retired Trinity pilot. Trinity House is an ancient corporation in London (since 1514) and is responsible not only for the network of lighthouses but also for the licensing of pilots to guide shipping into ports and harbours. It had a number of training centres and Tom perhaps trained at Swansea.
He sang 2 sea songs to Sharp, one of which was particularly poignant for him as a navigator – 'The Wreck of the Ramilies', which went down in South Devon with the loss of 700 men in 1760 (click vwml link).
Thomas was ‘received into the church’ (ie a late baptism) on 11/5/1834 at St Mary’s Bridgwater, son of David Griffiths, mariner and wife Sarah. It’s likely that Thomas was born in 1828. He married Jane Gulliford, daughter of James Gulliford at St John’s Eastover, Bridgwater on 28/1/1849. He couldn’t sign his name but presumably made great progress to become a ship’s pilot by 1861 census. He died in Jan 1909 aged 81.