The boys' hands used to blister. Shakespeare mentions them in his play The Comedy of Errors. Some had gray and white fur; others were black or reddish brown. Jan 13, 2017 - The turnspit dog was once an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain. .. Bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit, the small but strong dogs ensured that the meat cooked evenly. He once wrote, “Look at the spit dog. If they can turn a spit for me, they can also turn a churn for making butter. ", We visit Lucy Worsley, chief curator of the Historic Royal Palaces of London, at Hampton Court Palace, the home of Henry VIII, where a fire is roaring in the huge, old kitchen. The availability of cheap spit-turning machines, called clock jacks, brought about the demise of the turnspit dog. In an old hunting lodge on the grounds of an ancient Norman castle in Abergavenny, Wales, a small, extinct dog peers out of a handmade wooden display case. In 1750 there were turnspits everywhere. Back at Abergavenny Museum, Whiskey, the last remaining turnspit, is a permanent fixture. Sally Davis thinks the blue painted background and spray of artificial flowers in the case are a sign that someone really cared for her. By 1850 they had become scarce, and by 1900 they had disappeared. "It was a way they used to differentiate between the dogs of the nobility and the dogs belonging to ordinary people. "Since medieval times, the British have delighted in eating roast beef, roast pork, roast turkey," says Jan Bondeson, author of Amazing Dogs, a Cabinet of Canine Curiosities, the book that first led us to the turnspit dog. These little curtailed dogs were the ones that were put into the wheel. By 1850 they had become scarce, and by 1900 they had disappeared. "In 1745, the owner of the Statehouse Inn advertised that he had turnspit dogs for sale. Elsewhere in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette had advertisements for turnspit dogs and wheels for sale. Bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit, the small but strong dogs ensured that the meat cooked evenly. The Turnspit dog was a short-legged, long-bodied dog bred to run on a wheel, called a turnspit or dog wheel, to turn meat. "Since medieval times, the British have delighted in eating roast beef, roast pork, roast turkey," says Jan Bondeson, author of Amazing Dogs, a Cabinet of Canine Curiosities, the book that first led us to the turnspit dog. "The downtrodden, lumpen, proletariat turnspit cooking dogs may well be related to the queen's pampered royal pooches.". ", "Curtailed means they've got their tails cut off," Sally Davis, of the Abergavenny Museum, says. Coco didn't fare too well in the wheel. My name is Sally Davis, custodian at Abergavenny Museum in Wales. “Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuff,” says Sally Davis, long-time custodian at the Abergavenny Museum. ", The dog wheel circa 1890, drawn in E.F. King's Ten Thousand Wonderful Things. In 1750 there were turnspits everywhere. Posted by Diana at 1:45 PM. "Turnspit dogs were viewed as kitchen utensils, as pieces of machinery rather than as dogs," says Bondeson. "Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuffed," says Sally Davis, longtime custodian at the Abergavenny Museum. "In the 1850s, the founder of the [Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] was appalled by the way the turnspit dogs were treated in the hotels of Manhattan," says Weaver. The turnspit dog was once an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain. Abergavenny Museum is set in the grounds of a 'ruined' Norman Castle, where you can enjoy a picnic during the summer & a brisk walk on colder days. "Not because of any concern for their spiritual education," says Bondeson, "but because the dogs were useful as foot warmers.". In an old hunting lodge on the grounds of an ancient Norman castle in Abergavenny, Wales, a small, extinct dog peers out of a handmade wooden display case. What we do know about turnspit dogs comes from drawings and a taxidermy turnspit named Whiskey at the Abergavenny museum in Wales. I don't know. It became the stigma of poverty to have a turnspit dog. She has quite a distorted shape - that could be because of a bad taxidermy job or it could be that she was deformed over the course of her life because of her work. You can see a picture of Whiskey at NPR.org. A turnspit dog at work in a wooden cooking wheel in an inn at Newcastle, Carmarthen, Wales, in 1869. FARRELL: Interestingly, there are also a few records of turnspits being employed in America. Hundreds of dog breeds exist throughout the world, many bred for a specific purpose. The clanking of the spit. There remains one single stuffed turnspit dog on display in the Abergavenny Museum. hide caption. The boys' hands used to blister. In 1750 there were turnspits everywhere in Great Britain. "Darwin said, 'Look at the spit dog. The availability of cheap spit-turning machines, called clock jacks, brought about the demise of the turnspit dog. We have a huge fireplace in an old Georgian kitchen. Coco didn't fare too well in the wheel. Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images. The type is now extinct.It is mentioned in Of English Dogs in 1576 under the name "Turnespete". ", The turnspit was bred especially to run on a wheel that turned meat so it would cook evenly. This bad treatment of dogs eventually led to the founding of the SPCA. The roar of the fire, the clanking of the spit, the patter from the little dog's feet. BONDESON: What kind of dog today is the closest relation to turnspit dog? "Charles Darwin commented on the dogs as an example of genetic engineering," she tells us. "They were referred to as the kitchen dog, the cooking dog or the vernepator cur," says Caira Farrell, library and collections manager at the Kennel Club in London. Bondeson thinks possibly it's the Queen of England's favorite dog, the Welsh corgi. DAVIS: Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuffed. A taxidermy dog named Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog at the Abergavenny Museum in Wales. Curtailed means they've got their tails cut off. Stanley Coren, author of “ Paw Prints on History ,” describes them as having a “very similar body shape to a … Turnspit Dogs: The Rise And Fall Of The Vernepator Cur | WEMU 'Whiskey' is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuffed. But in the 16th century, the boys gave way to dogs. Turnspit dogs, they were viewed as kitchen utensils, as pieces of machinery. These little curtailed mongrels were the ones put into the wheels. The Canis vertigus, or turnspit, was an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain in the 16th century. That’s an example of how people can breed animals to suit a specific need.” "Whiskey," a taxidermied turnspit dog on display at the Abergavenny Museum in Wales. He said, look at the spit dog. These days, however, the last pure turnspit dog, still fluffy and brown, currently rests in well-earned peace at Abergavenny Museum in Wales, as a taxidermy exhibit. "Whiskey," a taxidermied turnspit dog on display at the Abergavenny Museum in Wales. To train the dog to run faster, a glowing coal was thrown into the wheel, Bondeson adds. 1576, the very first mention of them is in the first book on British dogs ever written. Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images, London's Gardens: Allotments for the People, The Pizza Connection: Fighting The Mafia Through Food. Not because of any concern for their spiritual education, but because the dogs were useful as foot warmers. Unless the skulking cur is caught, the sirloin's spoiled and I'm at fault. In an old hunting lodge on the grounds of an ancient Norman castle in Abergavenny, Wales, a small, extinct dog peers out of a handmade wooden display case. In an old hunting lodge on the grounds of an ancient Norman castle in Wales, a small extinct dog peers out of a handmade wooden display case. DAVIS: Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuffed. BONDESON: Though a numerous kitchen dog wheel is kept in various museums, but the Abergavenny Museum has the only example of what a turnspit dog really looked like. Charles Darwin often cited the turnspit dog as an example of selective breeding and genetic engineering. WILLIAM WOYS WEAVER: The Statehouse Inn was where all the old political cronies hung out for their slice of beef and their ale. BONDESON: With time, mechanical spit turning machines called clock jacks, they became cheaper and cheaper as a result of mass production. Originally published on May 23, 2014 6:45 pm. hide caption. My book is "Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities.". "They sneered at the idea of roasting meat in an oven. Descriptions of the dogs paint a rather mutty picture: small, low-bodied, short, crooked front legs, with a heavy head and drooping ears. The wheel was attached to a chain, which ran down to the spit. There are actually a few records of turnspits being employed in America. Back at Abergavenny Museum, Whiskey, the last remaining turnspit, is a permanent fixture. The turnspit dog was once an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain. But in the 16th century, the boys gave way to dogs. UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We're going to turn the spit with the dog in a wheel, which is something I know hasn't been done for about 200 years. "In 1745, the owner of the Statehouse Inn advertised that he had turnspit dogs for sale. And historians say a turnspit was active in the kitchen of the Statehouse Inn in Philadelphia. The dog wheel circa 1890, drawn in E.F. King's. The Kitchen Sisters The patter from the little dog's feet. Turnspit dogs had gray and white fur. ", "Curtailed means they've got their tails cut off," Sally Davis, of the Abergavenny Museum, says. This entry was posted in History , Uncategorized and tagged Dog History , Great Britain History , Kitchen Dog , Norwegian Elkhound , Turnspit Dog , Unremembered , Unrememebered History , Viking History , Welsh Corgi history , Working Dog History . In the 1850s, the founder of the SPCA was appalled by the way the turnspit dogs were treated in the hotels in Manhattan. “Whiskey,” a taxidermied turnspit dog on display at the Abergavenny Museum in Wales. Before the dogs, the fireplace spit was turned by the lowliest person in the kitchen staff, usually a small boy who stood behind a bale of wet hay for protection from the heat, turning the iron spit for hours and hours. The way she's posed, the taxidermy, I think, possibly was their first go. "Darwin said, 'Look at the spit dog. Additional features, photos, recipes and music can be found at kitchensisters.org. Abergavenny Museum houses the last known example of a turnspit dog, a breed bred for this purpose. Abergavenny Museum is committed to collecting objects of local significance and preserving them for future generations. There you go. Yeah, we're continuing our season of hidden kitchens, our series exploring little known kitchen rituals and traditions, with a dog that was bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit in medieval kitchens. "The very first mention of them is in 1576 in the first book on dogs ever written. This late 18th century turnspit would originally have been powered by a small dog running within it. Bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit, the small but strong dogs ensured that the meat cooked evenly. Email This BlogThis! Universal History Archive/Getty Images You can find her at the Abergavenny Museum. The Castle, Castle Street, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire Tel: 01873 854282 Free Admission (excludes special events) Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images In 1750 there were Turnspits everywhere. Photo: The Kitchen Sisters Evidently he was also breeding them. "Turnspit dogs were viewed as kitchen utensils, as pieces of machinery rather than as dogs," says Bondeson. A turnspit dog at work in a wooden cooking wheel in an inn at Newcastle, Carmarthen, Wales, in 1869. I'm Jan Bondeson. The dogs were strong and sturdy, capable of working for hours, and over time they evolved into a distinct breed. "It became a stigma of poverty to have a turnspit dog," says author Bondeson. Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images Download the latest version here. Bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit, the small but strong dogs ensured that the meat cooked evenly. This dog was named Whiskey. The turnspit dog became extinct. The Canis vertigus, or turnspit, was a breed of dog that was once an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain in the 16 th century. "The Statehouse Inn was where all the old political cronies hung out for their slice of beef and their ale," author and food historian William Woys Weaver tells us. This dog was named Whiskey. Turnspit dog (1,210 words) exact match in snippet view article find links to article the turnspit dog, 19th century, stuffed, at Abergavenny Museum Dog wheel turnspit, 18th century, from Coed Cernyw, Monmouthshire, at Abergavenny Museum On Sunday, the turnspit dog often had a day off. "The Statehouse Inn was where all the old political cronies hung out for their slice of beef and their ale," author and food historian William Woys Weaver tells us. William Bingley's Memoirs of British Quadrupeds (1809) also talks of a dog employed to help chefs and cooks. Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest. Possibly the Queen of England's favorite dog, the Welsh Corgi. Our Hidden Kitchen series now reports on the saga of a sous chef who is also a dog. The hands used to blister. He describes somebody as being a curtailed dog fit only to run in the wheel. Coco didn't fare too well in the wheel. ", Back at Abergavenny Museum, Whiskey, the last remaining turnspit, is a permanent fixture. For a true Briton, the proper way was to spit roast it in front of an open fire, using a turnspit dog. "Whiskey," a taxidermied turnspit dog on display at the Abergavenny Museum in Wales. In an old hunting lodge on the grounds of an ancient Norman castle in Abergavenny, Wales, a small, extinct dog peers out of a handmade wooden display case. Today, it is possible that the genes of the Turnspit dog still lives through a Welsh breed called the Bowsy Terrier. My name's Lucy Worsley, chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces of London. 'Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuffed,' says Sally Davis, long-time custodian at the Abergavenny Museum. I think possibly it was their first go at it, I don't know. The wheels were put up quite high on the wall, far from the fire in order for the dogs not to overheat and faint.". He describes somebody as being a "curtailed dog fit only to run in a wheel. "This bad treatment of dogs eventually led to the founding of the SPCA.". That's an example of how people can breed animals to suit particular needs.' Whiskey is the only (purported) stuffed turnspit dog in the world. They were referred to as the kitchen dog, the cooking dog or the vernepator cur. As the dog ran, like a hamster in a cage, the spit turned. "They sneered at the idea of roasting meat in an oven. A turnspit dog at work in a wooden cooking wheel in an inn at Newcastle, Carmarthen, Wales, in 1869. Sally Davis thinks the blue painted background and … "Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuffed," says Sally Davis, longtime custodian at the Abergavenny Museum. The Canis vertigus, or turnspit, was a breed of dog that was once an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain in the 16th century. “Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuff,” says Sally Davis, long-time custodian … Bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit, the small but strong dogs ensured that the meat cooked evenly. hide caption, Back at Abergavenny Museum, Whiskey, the last remaining turnspit, is a permanent fixture. ", What kind of dog today is the closest to a turnspit dog? For a true Briton, the proper way was to spit roast it in front of an open fire, using a turnspit dog.". One way of training the dog was to throw a glowing coal into the wheel to make the dog speed up a bit. Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette had advertisements for turnspit dogs and wheels for sale. "Whiskey," a taxidermied turnspit dog on display at the Abergavenny Museum in Wales. Hannah Penn, the wife of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, wrote to England requesting that the dog wheel for her turnspits be sent. "They were ugly little dogs with a quite morose disposition, so nobody wanted to keep them as pets. Lucy Worsley, chief curator at the Historic Royal Palaces in London, attempted to roast on a spit powered by a dog in a wheel at the George Inn. There was a chain from the spit up to a wheel and in that wheel is a small dog running frenetically, causing the spit to turn. Lucy Worsley, chief curator at the Historic Royal Palaces in London, attempted to roast on a spit powered by a dog in a wheel at the George Inn. UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You can do it. CAIRA FARRELL: The turnspit was a breed of dog that was once an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain. SALLY DAVIS: During the Middle Ages, cooking a meal, large joint meat could only be done on a spit, and the lowliest person in the kitchen staff, usually a small boy, turned the spit hours and hours. "The downtrodden, lumpen, proletariat turnspit cooking dogs may well be related to the queen's pampered royal pooches.". I think possibly it was their first go at it, I don't know. The turnspit dog was once an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain. ", On Sunday, the turnspit dog often had a day off. Additional features, photos, recipes and music can be found at kitchensisters.org. Coco, I think we've got to get you into the wheel. Back in the 16th century, many people preferred to cook meat over an open fire. A turnspit dog at work in a wooden cooking wheel in an inn at Newcastle, Carmarthen, Wales, in 1869. The Canis vertigus, or turnspit, was an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain in the 16th century. Their Hidden Kitchens series travels the world, chronicling little-known kitchen rituals and traditions that explore how communities come together through food — from modern-day Sicily to medieval England, the Australian Outback to the desert oasis of California. It was the way that they used to differentiate between the dogs of the nobility and the dogs belonging to ordinary people. The dogs were allowed to go with the family to church. In an old hunting lodge on the grounds of an ancient Norman castle in Abergavenny, Wales, a small, extinct dog peers out of a handmade wooden display case. These little curtailed mongrels were the ones put into the wheels. Between Whiskey and a few sparse drawings here and there, we can … "Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuffed," says Sally Davis, longtime custodian at the Abergavenny Museum. The small cooking canine was bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit in cavernous kitchen fireplaces. Elsewhere in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette had advertisements for turnspit dogs and wheels for sale. "In the 1850s, the founder of the [Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] was appalled by the way the turnspit dogs were treated in the hotels of Manhattan," says Weaver. "This bad treatment of dogs eventually led to the founding of the SPCA.". Copyright 2019 NPR. BONDESON: They sneered at the idea of roasting meat in an oven. Kennel Gazette, pp. "It was a way they used to differentiate between the dogs of the nobility and the dogs belonging to ordinary people. The small cooking canine was bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit in cavernous kitchen fireplaces. Inside this wooden case is Whiskey the Turnspit dog. hide caption. hide caption. "Charles Darwin commented on the dogs as an example of genetic engineering," she tells us. Shop Amazon. ", We visit Lucy Worsley, chief curator of the Historic Royal Palaces of London, at Hampton Court Palace, the home of Henry VIII, where a fire is roaring in the huge, old kitchen. "The roar of the fire. The dogs were allowed to come with the family to the church. The turnspit dogs became extinct. Hannah Penn, the wife of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, wrote to England requesting that the dog wheel for her turnspits be sent. The Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, are Peabody Award-winning independent producers who create radio and multimedia stories for NPR and public broadcast. It was the zoologist Carl Linnaeus who named them Canis vertigus, Latin for "dizzy dog," because the dogs were turning all the time. LUCY WORSLEY: The dinner must be dished at 1:00. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR. 'Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuffed,' says Sally Davis, long-time custodian at the Abergavenny Museum. The turnspit was a breed of dog that was once an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain. "It became a stigma of poverty to have a turnspit dog," says author Bondeson. Bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit, the small but strong dogs ensured that the meat cooked evenly. Charles Darwin commented on the dogs as an example of genetic engineering. Shakespeare mentions them in his play The Comedy of Errors. I'm William Woys Weaver, author of several books on food ethnography. "They were referred to as the kitchen dog, the cooking dog or the vernepator cur," says Caira Farrell, library and collections manager at the Kennel Club in London. Article from kpbs.org. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. ", The turnspit was bred especially to run on a wheel that turned meat so it would cook evenly. When any meat was to be roasted, one of these dogs was hoisted into a wooden wheel mounted on the wall near the fireplace. 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