Hanging A Monkey: True Or Legend?

ramonmercado

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Study queries monkey legend roots
Hartlepool's mayor was the town's football club's monkey mascot
New research claims the Teesside legend of a monkey, hanged because it was feared to be a French spy, has its origins in Scotland.

Folklore says a French ship was wrecked off Hartlepool in the Napoleonic Wars. A monkey found in the water was hanged by fishermen fearing it was a spy.

The "monkey-hangers" legend was adopted by the town's football club, whose mascot was elected mayor in 2002.

But an Aberdeen University study claims the tale originated in Scotland.

The tale of the "monkey-hangers" is widely known and is said to have evolved after locals, who feared a French invasion, hanged a monkey which survived a shipwreck.

But Fiona-Jane Brown, a folklorist at Aberdeen University's Elphinstone Institute, suggests the Hartlepool legend stems from a similar incident off the village of Boddam, near Peterhead, in 1772.

'Intriguing story'

A song of the time recalls how a monkey survived a shipwreck off Boddam. The villagers could only claim salvage rights if there were no survivors from the wreck, so they allegedly hanged the monkey.

Ms Brown claims the song was adapted over many years as it travelled down the east coast, eventually spawning a Hartlepool version and embedding the monkey myth in Teesside culture.

She said: "The evolution of the song remains an intriguing story in itself, but it's also interesting how each community relates to it now.

"On Teesside, the legend has been generally adopted as a positive marker of social identity which survived on the football field.

"But in Scotland, the Boddamers have refused to accept what they see as a slur against their community, a bad memory of bitter rivalries of the past."

Ms Brown's findings are part of a project into the cultural identity of British fishing communities.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/engl ... 827332.stm
 
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escargot

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This story has always seemed unlikely to me. Surely people, especially those living near the sea, would've seen monkeys before then or heard of them or even seen pictures, so they wouldn't have mistaken one for a person.

So it must've been a joke from the start. ;)
 

ramonmercado

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Dunno. There be strange folk as ye progess Northwards.
 

Dr_Baltar

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Rubbish. We don't hang monkeys in Scotland.

Spank them, maybe...
 

ramonmercado

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Dr_Baltar said:
Rubbish. We don't hang monkeys in Scotland.

Spank them, maybe...

TommySheridan probably does.
 

Quake42

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I didn't think the monkey hanging legend was unique to Hartlepool... it was my understanding that it was a tall tale told of many coastal towns.
 

milk23

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Surely people, especially those living near the sea, would've seen monkeys before

I think there is some mistake here... is it not in fact 'fish' that coastal people are more likely to be familiar with?
 

escargot

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Fish make crap exotic pets brought back by sailors from foreign lands though. For a start, they look silly in the little waistcoats and fez hats.
 

GNC

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escargot1 said:
Fish make crap exotic pets brought back by sailors from foreign lands though. For a start, they look silly in the little waistcoats and fez hats.

And fish can't bang cymbals together.
 

misterwibble

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You've never been to Sellafield I take it?
 

eburacum

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So is the 'monkeyhanging' legend associated with anywhere else? I seem to remember that it is, but a quick search on Google brings no results apart from Hartlepool.
 

mugwumpaddict

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So is the 'monkeyhanging' legend associated with anywhere else? I seem to remember that it is, but a quick search on Google brings no results apart from Hartlepool.

eburacum this may help:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tees/7827332.stm

I don't know if anyone else has suggested this but in the 18th century the MONKEY was infact a name given to the Boy or Young man that use to climb the Mast of the ship and help the sales of the boat to be released.

It make me think, is it easier to admit to hanging a Monkey (animal) which show that you are stupid.

OR..........

to admit to hanging a young boy that spoke funney......... Which would make the Hartlepudlians
not stupid but cruel.

I dont think that anyone from a costal area would mistake a monkey for a french spy as it says on the tourist information center in Hartlepool:

Hartlepool has always been a seafaring town with inhabitants since the 9th Century; it gained its' Royal Charter in 1201. Sailors have been synonymous with simians ever since they started trading, so for the people of an important sea trading town never to have saw a monkey before 1805 is a ridiculous notion.
 

Fats_Tuesday

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I've always wondered if the Hartlepool monkey legend derived from the much older Orford merman legend, from Orford in Suffolk. Certainly similarities.

The appearance of the Merman of Orford is described as having taken place in or around 1167. By this time Orford was not only a centre for fishing but was developing into a thriving port where imports of wine and exports of wool would have been a daily event. The foundations for Orford Castle were being discussed by Henry II (if not being laid in place) The story is told by Ralph Coggeshall, the Abbott's chronicler, in his history of Orford written in 1207.

'Men fishing in the sea caught in their nets a wild man. He was naked and was like a man in all his members, covered with hair and with a long shaggy beard. He eagerly ate whatever was brought to him but if it was raw he pressed it between his hands until all the juice was expelled. He would not talk, even when tortured and hung up by his feet. Brought into church, he showed no signs of reverence or belief. He sought his bed at sunset and always remained there until sunrise.

He was allowed to go into the sea, strongly guarded with three lines of nets, but he dived under the nets and came up again and again. Eventually he came back of his own free will. But later on he escaped and was never seen again.'

http://www.visit-orford.co.uk/orford_merman.php
 

McAvennie

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escargot1 said:
This story has always seemed unlikely to me. Surely people, especially those living near the sea, would've seen monkeys before then or heard of them or even seen pictures, so they wouldn't have mistaken one for a person.

Have you ever been to Hartlepool?

Come out of The Wesley at 2am and you will see plenty of people you could mistake for an ape.

:lol:
 

Quake42

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You hear the Hartlepool story a lot in the north east but it seems that similar tales crop up all around English coastal towns.
 

escargot

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OK, some silly people somewhere hung a monkey. For a REAL Elizabethan scandal, how about when people of Congleton sold the town's Bible to buy a dancing bear?
 

Ermintruder

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Was a monkey really mistaken for a French spy and hung in Hartlepool?
In Hartlepool this summer, all the locals swore this was true, and an old couple told me that the monkey's skeleton used to be on display at a local musem.

(Presumably not at the National Royal Navy Museum Hartlepool but conceivably at either an earlier version of that institution, or some place similar?)
 

GNC

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I keep reading this thread title as "Having a Monkey Face..."
 

escargot

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Monkey see, monkey do.
 

Nemo

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Naughty_Felid

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I keep reading this thread title as 'Having a Monkey" which sounds like it should be a something.

"Just off to have a monkey luv..."

"Sorry I really can't do that tonight as I'm having a monkey"

"The defendant was seen by Mr Smith having a monkey during rush hour"
 
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Old Master Q

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Almost the same tale can be found on the Clyde coast, specifically in relation to the two 'rival' towns of Greenock and Port Glasgow... One side allegedly having persuaded to boil a huge bell that had developed a crack in an attempt to seal it, the other having hung a monkey... Said primate having been (variously) Uniformed and French, part of a wrecked Armada ship's crew or simply brought home by a sailor.

The story may have some roots in an late 1800s 'broadside ballad'.



In Greenock town I’ve heard it said
A man there lived who to his trade
A fisher was a rummy blade
His freens they cawed him Dunkey O

Now a sailor brither he had got
Wha’d just come hame frae Hottentot
And frae that savage place he brought
A full grown living monkey O

For four lang years ‘twas telt tome
This sailor chiel had been to sea
When he came hame to hae a spree
He wasna’ very funky O

So wi his monkey in a box
At Dunkey’s door he quickly knocks
And the nicht was spent wi sangs and jokes
But he ne’er said he’d got a monkey O

Now ye maun ken this sailor lad
A sweetheart up in Glasgow had
So to see her next day he would pad
In spite o’ freens or Dunkey O

Early next morning he did rise
As the sun began to climb the skies
Says he Na doubt he’ll get a surprise
When he waukens and twigs the monkey O

Now the monkey thocht like human kin
Twas time some breakfast was brocht in
It then began to yell and whin
And through the room went dancing O

You’d thocht t’was some ane killing pigs
For it yelled and cut some antic riggsut a’ this din and wild uproar
The monkey made upon the floor
The fisherman he loud did snore
‘Twas hard to waken Dunkey O

At length he thocht ‘twas time to rise
And he looked about him wi surprise
For on a table he espies
A thing in the shape o’ a monkey O

Now Dunkey Jumped up to his feet
Like lightning he ran to the street
And twa-three fishermen he did meet
And O but he felt funky O

He telt his story –wi’ ae consent
To Dunkey’s domicile they went
And they swore they’d make the thing repent
Be it a man or a monkey O

Now the monkey at the men did stare
For they strapped him down upon a chair
Says ane-On his face there’s ower much hair
To shave him I’ll no be funky O

Ane o’ ran and got some soap
And made a lather pipin’ hot
While another held him by the throat
Till the fishermen shaved the monkey O

Now the fishermen they laughed like mad
Such fun before they never had
When a wild young chiel whose name was Rab
Proposed to hang the monkey O

Then round it’s neck a rope they threw
And through a cleek the end they drew
And quickly to the riff it flew
For the fishermen hung the monkey O
 

stu neville

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(Copied from: https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/was-oliver-cromwell-kidnapped-by-a-monkey.67964/ )

On a passing note: I had never heard (until today) the sadder proposition that the Hartlepool hung monkey might actually have been a small French boy (ie a 'powder monkey' from the stricken French warship).
This has been batted around before - the legend itself does imply a massive degree of (at best) ignorance or (at worst) stupidity on the part of an entire populace. It's a port, people will have probably seen actual monkeys before as they were (as noted above) popular ship's mascots, likewise actual French people. The monkey-hanging motif is more than likely, as you say, to be a convenient mask for executing a pre-pubescent child.
 
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David Plankton

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This has been batted around before - the legend itself does imply a massive degree of (at best) ignorance or (at worst) stupidity on the part of an entire populace.

Or pure spite and hatred for the French. If it was a monkey, and all that was left of a wrecked ship, it could have been an act of vengeful wickedness borne of the disappointment there were no real French sailors to hang.
Like the stories of Daschunds being stamped on during the First World War.
 

Naughty_Felid

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Or pure spite and hatred for the French. If it was a monkey, and all that was left of a wrecked ship, it could have been an act of vengeful wickedness borne of the disappointment there were no real French sailors to hang.
Like the stories of Daschunds being stamped on during the First World War.

That's really weird I always thought it was from the Spanish Armada not the French.
 

David Plankton

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That's really weird I always thought it was from the Spanish Armada not the French.
There's not a lot of evidence for it so it could be a re-telling of an older story and not Napoleonic in origin. Maybe if you dug deep enough you might find stories of Viking monkeys being executed.
 
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