'Hatch' - The Mary Rose Dog
‘Hatch’ is one of the more famous exhibits in the Mary Rose museum, popular with all ages!
But who was he, and why was he on board the Mary Rose?
‘Hatch’ was the ratter on board the Mary Rose, responsible for pest control, although he may also have acted as an unofficial mascot. He was a young adult male, between 18 – 24 months, with a light brown-dark brown coat. He may have spent his entire life onboard the Mary Rose, rarely if ever going ashore.
Although he can’t be attributed to a specific breed, most of which originated after 1545, he is classed as a terrier-type, most closely related to the modern Jack Russell terrier. Find out more here
Sadly, he suffered from a hereditary disease called hyperuricosuria, a uric acid defect that causes kidney and bladder stones to form. This had previously been attributed to inbreeding in the many modern breeds, however this suggests that the condition was around before breed formation.
‘Hatch’ was mostly found outside the Carpenter’s Cabin, with some of his bones inside. Despite stories claiming he was trapped in the door, he probably died fully outside the cabin, with some parts being pulled inside post-death by marine scavengers.
While today we think of the ships cat as being more traditional, dogs were used on board ships for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, contrary to popular belief, cats aren’t that good at ratting, as many rats are big enough to fight back. Dogs such as terriers were considered to be much better for the task, and still are in some circles.
Secondly, Pope Innocent VIII had declared cats to be unholy in 1484, and the companions of witches, so owning one was generally considered unlucky, not to mention likely to get you in a lot of trouble. This opinion ended in England around 200 years later.