Notes from Tiggywinkles: A price on head of poor spike

The Dog & Hedgehog in Dadlington, Leicestershire
The Dog & Hedgehog in Dadlington, Leicestershire

Just recently there has been a hoo-hah about finding the remains of Richard the Third with a re-burial in Westminster Abbey.

What’s that got to do with Tiggywinkles?

It was not until William Shakespeare wrote of Richard the Third that “hedgehog” came into the English language.

Until then our spiky friends were maligned as ‘urchins’ or ‘urchones’ despised by Elizabethan society with a bounty of threepence on their heads.

Shakespeare seems to have invented the word “hedgehog’ in his interpretation of the unfortunate Richard.

“Dost thou grant me hedgehog. Then God grant me too. Thou mayst be dammed for the wicked deed.”

There is that link and another one – this time a bit tenuous.

In researching for my Museum of the Hedgehog I came across a pub called ‘The Dog and Hedgehog’.

I just had to have a photograph for my collection.

Sue and I duly travelled to Dadlington, in Leicestershire, to photograph the pub.

We found the pub and ourselves slap bang on the site of the Battle of Bosworth Field where Richard the Third was slain and then, ignominiously, buried under a courtyard in Leicester. ‘The Dog and Hedgehog’ is so closely linked to the demise of Richard the Third.

Eerie or what?

And that’s not the end of it. Yes, the Elizabethans were paying to have hedgehogs killed.

Can’t happen these days? But it did just a few years ago.

Scottish Natural Heritage were employing people to kill hedgehogs on the islands of Uist.

I managed to get that stopped.

Another tenuous link to Elizabethan Britain.

Let us hope it does not happen again and that Richard, Shakespeare’s ‘hedgehog’, is allowed to rest in peace.