Did you know the Mary Rose had a dog onboard when sailing? Here we hand over to Hatch to tell you his story from young pup to old sea dog…
Meet the Mary Rose’s Dog
“Woof. Sorry, I mean Hello. Forgot you don’t all speak dog!
My name’s Hatch, ship’s dog on the Mary Rose. You’re probably thinking to yourself “hang on, aren’t cats the standard pet on a ship”, to which I say, How Dare You! I’m not a pet, I’m crew, and I serve as important a role as anyone else on-board ship!
I was just a pup when I first came onboard the Mary Rose, when she was docked on the Thames in early 1544.
I hardly knew my parents, but the scientists at the Mary Rose Museum tell me my mum was a whippet and my dad was a terrier. I inherited my long legs from my mum, and my short powerful jaws from dad, both of which came in very handy for my job.
Why did the Mary Rose have a dog?
You see, a ship needs a crew, and the crew needs food. Trouble is, when you store a lot of food, it has the habit of attracting rats, who eat the food, spread disease and are very annoying to all.
While cats make effective mousers, these are big ship’s rats, which can fight back. Cats don’t stand a chance, but us terrier types are made of sterner stuff.
Was I good at my job? Let me put it this way, the archaeologists on the Mary Rose only found the remains of three rats, and they were all the bits that don’t taste nice…
Life onboard the Mary Rose
My life on board the Mary Rose was a good one, I lived by the cabin of a nice Spanish sailor who served as carpenter, along with his team who kept the ship in order.
Not only did he give me a decent supply of scraps, but he made sure I had a nice warm spot behind the galley ovens when it got cold.
What happened in 1545?
Sadly, I was also onboard on 19 July 1545, when the Mary Rose sank. I’m not sure exactly what happened, one minute there were guns going off, the next the ship started leaning, and everything fell to the starboard side (that’s the right, for you non-sailors), and I was trapped outside the carpenter’s cabin under a pile of heavy chests.
Getting discovered and life since 1981
It was 436 years before I saw another friendly face, when a diver found me on 12 July 1981.
I was collected up, brought to the surface, and carefully put in stores until the Mary Rose team decided what to do with me.
While waiting in stores, often I was taken out to stretch my legs, I’ve visited the Royal Veterinary College, where they looked at my bones, trying to figure out who I was. My favourite moment was finally getting to shine on a trip to Crufts – I’m proud to say I was probably the oldest dog ever displayed there!
Eventually, after years of study I went on display, where I get to meet hundreds of people of all ages every day.
I’ve also met a few celebrities, and even royalty have said hello!
Will you come and say hello too? I promise I don’t bite!”
Make sure on your next visit to the dockyard you find Hatch at the Mary Rose Museum. This interesting artefact has a great story and gives insight into life at sea during the era.