The Owner has been reading the story of my namesake, the Hergest Hound, dog companion of Sir Thomas Vaughan of Hergest, a fifteenth century landowner who lived at Hergest Hall on the border between Herefordshire and Wales. The Hergest Hound had his own bedroom at the top of the house. With his own servants. Probably full of cheese and shoes and pieces of dead ox.
Sir Thomas fought for the House of York in the Wars of the Roses, but in 1469 he was taken prisoner in the battle at Danesmore, when the Earl of Warwick’s forces defeated those of King Edward IV. After the battle he was beheaded at Banbury. His faithful hound ran through the crowds to his Master and bore away his head, sparing him the ignominy of being displayed on a spike.
Retrieving heads, sparing ignominies, clearing parks of sour-faced ducks – we dogs are multi-facetted in our ability to improve the human condition.
Sir Thomas was buried in the local church, in a tomb which depicts him and his wife with a rather excellent stone dog at their feet. However after his death he haunted the area, upsetting milkmaids and interrupting church services until eventually local priests summoned his ghost and sealed it into a snuff box which they buried beneath a large stone in the bottom of Hergest Pool.
They did not manage, however, to confine his Faithful Hound in this snuff box. Instead the ghostly Black Dog of Hergest continues to haunt Hergest Hall and Hergest Ridge. Some people think the Hergest Hound was the inspiration behind the Hound of the Baskervilles legend. Others suggest he accounts for the uncanny politeness of the ducks in the area.
The Hergest Hound is, I feel, the Ultimate Moral Dog. Five hundred years and still haunting.
This is the kind of loyalty a dog is capable of if he has his own bedroom.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.