A MONGREL DOG who sailed aboard Henry VIII’s ill-fated Mary Rose has returned home to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard after an incredible 465 years away.
The painstakingly preserved and reconstructed skeleton of the Tudor ship’s dog – nicknamed Hatch, as she was discovered trapped in the sliding door of the carpenter’s cabin of the Mary Rose – is now back among familiar surroundings.
The Mary Rose was one of the largest warships of Henry VIII’s fleet, capable of carrying up to 700 men, and said to be a firm favourite with the King. After nearly four decades of service, she sunk under mysterious circumstances during an engagement with the French fleet in 1545. The wreck of the Mary Rose was discovered in 1971 and raised in 1982. The ship and her artefact collection present a unique time capsule of the Tudor past and a new museum is being built to display her. The current Mary Rose Museum, located by the entrance to the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth, remains open in the meantime and has new artefacts on display, including the skeleton of Hatch, as well as a film showing the continuing conservation of the hull.
Hatch’s skeleton is remarkably well preserved, for example – just a few teeth and paw bones away from being totally complete. Expert analysis of Hatch’s bones by experts at the Natural History Museum suggests that she spent most of her short life within the close confines of the ship. It is likely that the longest walks she took were along the quayside at Portsmouth. The unfortunate hound would probably not have been the ship’s pet, however. Many ships kept small dogs in order to catch rats – Tudor seafarers did not allow cats on board ship as they were thought to bring bad luck.
“We are very excited to bring our dog into the museum for the first time,” enthused John Lippiett, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust. “The public – especially children – have always been particularly fascinated to learn that one had been discovered during the excavation.”
To visit Hatch and see other artefacts rescued from the wreck of the Mary Rose, you can visit the Historic Dockyard Portsmouth throughout the year. Visit www.historicdockyard.co.uk to find out more.