Skeleton of dog of war from 'Mary Rose' goes on display

THE skeleton of a two-year-old dog discovered at the bottom of the sea with the wreck of the Mary Rose was yesterday reunited with other artefacts from the Tudor warship.

The mongrel, which staff at the Mary Rose Trust have named Hatch, would have been kept as a pet on board Henry VIII's flagship, which sank in 1545.

But the dog would have been a working member of the 500-strong crew as it would have earned its keep as a ratter – cats were not allowed on board as they were thought to bring bad luck.

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The preserved skeleton has been put on display at the Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, ahead of new premises which are being built to house the hull and the artefacts together.

John Lippiett, chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust, said: "We are very excited to bring our dog into the museum for the first time, because the public, especially children, have always been particularly fascinated to learn that one had been discovered during the excavation.

"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.

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"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."

The ship hall housing the wreck is currently closed, but the museum is open with 1,000 items from the ship on display.

The artefacts and the hull will be rehoused together when the new museum opens in 2012, with the conservation of the hull due to be completed in 2016.

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The Trust is currently running its Mary Rose 500 Appeal to raise money towards the 4m outstanding from the 35m cost of the new museum.

The Mary Rose sank in 1545 in the Battle of the Solent, off Portsmouth, and was raised from the sea bed in 1982 in front of a TV audience of 60 million people worldwide.