Mary Rose goes on display at Crufts
- On 11/03/2010
- In Museum News
By Beth Hale - Mail Online
She may have been a mongrel, but in the finest tradition of seafaring, this old sea dog went down with her ship. And there she stayed, on the seabed - for the next four and half centuries.
The unfortunate hound was on board Henry VIII's flagship Mary Rose when the ill-fated warship sank to the bottom of the Solent on July 19, 1545.
The dog, now preserved as an almost complete canine skeleton, acquired the nickname Hatch after divers discovered her remains near the sliding hatch door of the Mary Rose’s carpenter’s cabin.
Experts believe the hound, estimated to have been between 18 months and two years old, 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.
By contrast Hatch's skeleton is remarkable for how well it has been preserved, it is 99 per cent complete with a just a few teeth and a few paw bones missing.
After 34 years at sea and three wars, the Mary Rose had been regarded by many as invincible.
Then, as she defended England from a French invasion force, she sank taking with her 500 men and a treasure trove of Tudor history with her to the seafloor.
So complete was the Mary Rose's demise that even the rats didn't even the chance to leave the sinking ship, as experts discovered when they brought the vessel and her contents (rodent skeletons included) back to the surface.
But the rats on board ship didn't stand much of a chance back in the 16th century, not with Hatch on board.