Hatch's Christmas - A free eBook | The Mary Rose
Hatch's Christmas - A free eBook
Christmas | 01 Dec, 2019 | Museum Blogger
Celebrate Christmas with Hatch the dog as he embarks on a new adventure for the Tudor ratter!

This Christmas we've produced a sequel to "A Dog's Tale", a short story about Hatch, the ship's dog on board the Mary Rose.

The Mary Rose wasn't busy in winter, so how does a dog that lives on the ship keep busy when the human crew have all gone home for Christmas?

Hatch outside the carpenter's cabin

It was Hatch’s first proper winter, and he didn’t like it. The puddles in the hold had frozen over, meaning that he kept slipping when he was chasing the rats down there. Not that there was much down there for them to eat. The Mary Rose, pride of the king’s ships, had been emptied for Christmas. 

Leaving the old basket he called his bed, Hatch padded along the deck, listening out for any sounds of life. 

The Mary Rose in harbour at Christmas

All the crew had gone home to spend Christmas with their families, even the sailor who was supposed to be watching the ship today. Hatch had the ship to himself.

Hatch went up onto the castle deck, the highest deck on the ship. The Mary Rose was sitting in the middle of a wide river, lumps of ice floating n the water. On the shore he could see children playing in the snow, throwing snowballs at each other.

Suddenly, a small lump of snow hit him behind the ear. Hatch turned, and saw a rat scuttling down the mast to the deck below.  

“I’m not going to stand for that!” thought Hatch, as he made his way to the entrance to the deck below “I’m going to get that rat!”


Looking down onto the upper deck

Hatch looked down onto the upper deck, one of the main fighting areas of the ship, which was now completely deserted. The anti-boarding netting had kept the snow off the deck, but it was still cold.

Hatch spotted the rat sitting near an open air vent on the deck. Realising it had been seen, the rat squeaked, and disappeared down the hole.

Hatch leaped down through the hole after the rat, skilfully jumping off the cannon below and landing neatly on the deck. This was the main gun deck, where large bronze and iron guns lined the sides of the ship. 

He looked down the long corridor like room, and saw the rat again at the other end of the ship. Hatch ran after it, past cannons and culverins, and skidded to a halt as the rat popped down through a crack in the deck to the next level. He’d never fit through there.

“I’m not going to stand for that!” thought Hatch, as he made his way to the ladder that lead to the deck below “I’m going to get that rat!”

Looking on the orlop deck

Eventually, he was on the orlop deck, where the purser kept all the smaller supplies. He wandered through pikes and gun shields, looking between barrels and boxes for the rat, but he didn’t see him. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. 

Hatch was about to give up, when he heard a squeak. 

He turned, and there was the rat, sitting on the purser’s chest, a fancy wooden box on legs that he kept his favourite things in. Hatch ran towards it and tried to leap up onto the chest. 

Unfortunately, water dripping through from above onto the deck had frozen over, so instead Hatch skidded on the ice. The rat dived out of the way, and Hatch went crashing into the chest, knocking it over and spilling the purser’s things everywhere, making a terrible mess.

“The purser’s not going to stand for that!“ Hatch thought,  chasing the rat down the ladder to the hold. “I’m going to get that rat!”

Hatch slipping on the ice

Hatch climbed down into the gloom of the hold, and saw the rat standing out in the open. Hatch got ready to pounce, but he saw the rat was holding something out to him. 

It was an old oak leaf, wrapped around something. The rat put it down in front of Hatch, and scampered back nervously. Hatch leaned in, and loosened it with his nose. 

Inside was a small piece of beef. He looked at it, then at the rat. The rat smiled, and turned away. Hatch barked, and the rat turned back. He trotted over to the rat, and patted it on the head with his paw. 

While they were usually enemies, for Christmas day Hatch and the rat were friends.

A Present for Hatch

Of course, once the crew returned, Hatch went back to chasing and catching rats, but there was always one that seemed to escape at the last moment…


Hatch chasing rats

Hatch’s Christmas

written by

Simon M. Clabby

Illustrated by 

Kate Shuttleworth

Based on


The ship’s dog on the Mary Rose


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