A 16th century sea dog, the only female crew member aboard Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose, took pride of place at DFS Crufts this year as special guest of the Kennel Club.
Visitors to the world’s largest and greatest dog show met ‘Hatch’, a two-year old mongrel lost aboard the ill-fated Tudor warship 465 years ago, and found out more about the fundraising appeal to provide her with a permanent home at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
The old sea dog acquired the nickname ‘Hatch’ after divers discovered her remains near the sliding hatch door of the Mary Rose’s carpenter’s cabin, where she had lain since the ship sank in mysterious circumstances in 1545.
Hatch almost certainly earned her keep as the ship’s ratter – superstitious Tudor seafarers did not have cats on board ship as they were thought to bring bad luck. And she was probably very good at her job – only the partial remains of rats’ skeletons have been found on board the Mary Rose.
History of the Mary Rose
The Mary Rose is the only 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world. Launched in 1511, she was one of the first ships able to fire a broadside, and was a favourite of King Henry VIII.
After a long and successful career, she sank during an engagement with a French fleet in 1545. Her rediscovery and raising were seminal events in the history of maritime archaeology.
The new Mary Rose Museum will, for the first time since her sinking, re-unite the ship and her contents, fully preserved and presented in a context that portrays a time capsule of Tudor life at sea.