Tudor mongrel steals the show at DFS Crufts 2010

DFS Crufts Hosts Mary Rose Dog Before She Returns Home After Nearly 500 Years

A 16th century sea dog, the only female crew member aboard Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose, is set to take pride of place at DFS Crufts this year as special guest of the Kennel Club.

HatchVisitors to the world’s largest and greatest dog show, can meet ‘Hatch’, a two-year old mongrel lost aboard the ill-fated Tudor warship 465 years ago, and find out more about the fundraising appeal to provide her with a permanent home at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

The painstakingly preserved and reconstructed skeleton of the Mary Rose’s dog will be on display at DFS Crufts, Birmingham NEC, from March 11th (stand 56, hall 3) along with a selection of amazing Tudor artefacts, including an original stone cannon ball and piece of ship’s rope as well as an array of replicas, including some of the carpenter’s tools.

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 bones underwaterHatch 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.

John Lippiett, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust and Hatch’s guardian, said: “We are delighted to bring Hatch, the world’s oldest lost sea dog, to the world’s premier dog show, so that visitors can meet an ancestor of their much loved pets.

“Expert analysis of Hatch’s bones 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, her home town.

“Hatch is just one of 19,000 extraordinary Tudor treasures recovered with the wreck of the Mary Rose, but she has never been on display in Portsmouth simply because we have not had the room.

“All that is set to change with the building of a new permanent Mary Rose museum, bringing together the remains of the ship itself with the pick of her artefacts, displayed at last in their historic context.

“But to make that a reality and to ensure Hatch is not homeless for another 500 years, we must complete our final push to secure the funds needed to complete the new Mary Rose Museum by 2012.”

Caroline Kisko, Communications Director of the Kennel Club, which organises the show, added: “It is fantastic to host Hatch before she finally returns home. She is undoubtedly the oldest, most unusual and most historically important exhibit that we have ever had at DFS Crufts and her tragic story is bound to fascinate visitors. We are delighted to have her with us - after nearly 500 years of loyal service she is due a little ‘shore leave’!”

Hatch is the mascot of the Mary Rose 500 Public Appeal which is seeking 500 individuals, schools, businesses and organisations to come on board and symbolically become the ‘new crew’ of the Tudor warship, by each pledging to raise £500 towards the Public Appeal.

After her visit to DFS Crufts, Hatch will finally return home to Portsmouth on Friday 26th March to take pride of place in the current Mary Rose Museum, after 465 years away, while she waits for the new Mary Rose Museum - her final permanent home, to be completed.

Visitors to DFS Crufts should visit hall 3 stand 56 to join the Mary Rose 500 appeal new crew, discover the history of Henry VIII's famous warship, hear what life was like for a Tudor ship’s crew and their dog, and uncover the truth about what happened on the Mary Rose’s final voyage. 

For further information visit www.maryrose500.org                                                                                                

For media enquiries, contact:

Charli Beale, Bell Pottinger Business & Brand


07800 582 266

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.

A separate dedicated Mary Rose museum, also sited in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, remains open while the ship hall is temporarily closed during the new museum construction period. The amazing artefacts discovered with the great ship, remain on display and new exhibits, including Hatch, are being introduced to maintain the highest quality of visitor experience.

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.