"Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuffed," says Sally Davis, longtime custodian at the Abergavenny Museum. The turnspit dog became extinct. These little curtailed dogs were the ones that were put into the wheel. "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. Coco didn't fare too well in the wheel. hide caption. 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. The dogs were allowed to go with the family to church. .. "The roar of the fire. The Canis vertigus, or turnspit, was an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain in the 16th century. My book is "Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities.". If they can turn a spit for me, they can also turn a churn for making butter. Stanley Coren, author of “ Paw Prints on History ,” describes them as having a “very similar body shape to a … "This bad treatment of dogs eventually led to the founding of the SPCA.". Sally Davis thinks the blue painted background and spray of artificial flowers in the case are a sign that someone really cared for her. "The downtrodden, lumpen, proletariat turnspit cooking dogs may well be related to the queen's pampered royal pooches.". Elsewhere in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette had advertisements for turnspit dogs and wheels for sale. 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. What we do know about turnspit dogs comes from drawings and a taxidermy turnspit named Whiskey at the Abergavenny museum in Wales. By 1850 they had become scarce, and by 1900 they had disappeared. "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. I'm Jan Bondeson. ", 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. 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 this country the dogs were basically used turning spit in large establishments in cities, like hotel kitchens. You can find her at the Abergavenny Museum. This late 18th century turnspit would originally have been powered by a small dog running within it. In 1750 there were turnspits everywhere in Great Britain. The way she's posed, the taxidermy, I think, possibly was their first go. "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. "Charles Darwin commented on the dogs as an example of genetic engineering," she tells us. A turnspit dog at work in a wooden cooking wheel in an inn at Newcastle, Carmarthen, Wales, in 1869. I think possibly it was their first go at it, I don't know. Bondeson thinks possibly it's the Queen of England's favorite dog, the Welsh corgi. 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. 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. The clanking of the spit. In 1750 there were turnspits everywhere in Great Britain. 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 dogs were strong and sturdy, capable of working for hours, and over time they evolved into a distinct breed. “Whiskey,” a taxidermied turnspit dog on display at the Abergavenny Museum in Wales. Source: Cunliffe, J (1991) 'The Turnspit'. Bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit, the small but strong dogs ensured that the meat cooked evenly. Hundreds of dog breeds exist throughout the world, many bred for a specific purpose. 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. The dogs were strong and sturdy, capable of working for hours, and over time they evolved into a distinct breed. They were ugly little dogs with quite morose disposition so nobody wanted to keep them as pets. Charles Darwin commented on the dogs as an example of genetic engineering. ", 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. BONDESON: With time, mechanical spit turning machines called clock jacks, they became cheaper and cheaper as a result of mass production. But by 1850 they had become scarce, and by 1900 they had disappeared. The wheels were put up quite high on the wall, far from the fire in order for the dogs not to overheat and faint.". Additional features, photos, recipes and music can be found at kitchensisters.org. The Canis vertigus, or turnspit, was an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain in the 16th century. I'm William Woys Weaver, author of several books on food ethnography. Our Hidden Kitchen series now reports on the saga of a sous chef who is also a dog. He said, look at the spit dog. "It became a stigma of poverty to have a turnspit dog," says author Bondeson. "It became a stigma of poverty to have a turnspit dog," says author Bondeson. 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. I don't know. There are actually a few records of turnspits being employed in America. He once wrote, “Look at the spit 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. Descriptions of the dogs paint a rather mutty picture: small, low-bodied, short, crooked front legs, with a heavy head and drooping ears. 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. The downtrodden, lumpen, proletariat turnspit cooking dogs may well be related to the queen's pampered royal pooches. hide caption. It became the stigma of poverty to have a turnspit dog. "Whiskey," a taxidermied turnspit dog on display at the Abergavenny Museum in Wales. Abergavenny Museum houses the last known example of a turnspit dog, a breed bred for this purpose. Turnspit dogs had gray and white fur. "Charles Darwin commented on the dogs as an example of genetic engineering," she tells us. Back in the 16th century, many people preferred to cook meat over an open fire. “Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuff,” says Sally Davis, long-time custodian at the Abergavenny Museum. The breed appears to have died out with the advent of mechanisation in the kitchen. The Castle, Castle Street, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire Tel: 01873 854282 Free Admission (excludes special events) The hands used to blister. INSKEEP: Our story on the turnspit dog was produced by the Kitchen Sisters and mixed by (unintelligible) - that's a broadcast term, not a cooking term. "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. We have a huge fireplace in an old Georgian kitchen. Kennel Gazette, pp. The turnspit dog was once an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain. The owner, in 1745, advertised spit dogs for sale. There are actually a few records of turnspits being employed in America. 20-22. Open-fire roasting required constant attention from the cook and constant turning of the spit. "Darwin said, 'Look at the spit dog. To train the dog to run faster, a glowing coal was thrown into the wheel, Bondeson adds. And historians say a turnspit was active in the kitchen of the Statehouse Inn in Philadelphia. In the 1850s, the founder of the SPCA was appalled by the way the turnspit dogs were treated in the hotels in Manhattan. The Kitchen Sisters "Not because of any concern for their spiritual education," says Bondeson, "but because the dogs were useful as foot warmers.". As the dog ran, like a hamster in a cage, the spit turned. ", On Sunday, the turnspit dog often had a day off. "In 1745, the owner of the Statehouse Inn advertised that he had turnspit dogs for sale. ", The turnspit was bred especially to run on a wheel that turned meat so it would cook evenly. The turnspit dog was once an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain. ", 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. By 1850 they had become scarce, and by 1900 they had disappeared. "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. Historically, Jack Russels hunted rats, Border Collies herded sheep, Greyhounds hunted hares and … The turnspit dogs became extinct. The roar of the fire, the clanking of the spit, the patter from the little dog's feet. Today, it is possible that the genes of the Turnspit dog still lives through a Welsh breed called the Bowsy Terrier. To train the dog to run faster, a glowing coal was thrown into the wheel, Bondeson adds. In 1750 there were turnspits everywhere. My name is Sally Davis, custodian at Abergavenny Museum in Wales. The boys' hands used to blister. 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. hide caption. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR. Image: The Kitchen Sisters In the 16th century, there was a dog breed known as the turnspit dog that was once an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain until the mid-1800s. Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images 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. ", The dogs were used in large hotel kitchens in America to turn spits. "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. 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. BONDESON: What kind of dog today is the closest relation to turnspit dog? But in the 16th century, the boys gave way to dogs. In 1639, a tourist visiting Bristol, England remarked that there was scarce a house that hath not a dog to turn the spit. That's an example of how people can breed animals to suit particular needs. Coco, I think we've got to get you into the wheel. The Kitchen Sisters, producers Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, bring us this Hidden Kitchen's story from England, "Turnspit Dogs: The Rise and Fall of the Vernepator Cur.". DAVIS: Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuffed. The Kitchen Sisters "Turnspit dogs were viewed as kitchen utensils, as pieces of machinery rather than as dogs," says Bondeson. There you go. Universal History Archive/Getty Images "They were ugly little dogs with a quite morose disposition, so nobody wanted to keep them as pets. These little curtailed mongrels were the ones put into the wheels. In 1702, the wife of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, writes to England that she wants a wheel for her turnspit dogs and a butter churn. Bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit, the small but strong dogs ensured that the meat cooked evenly. "Whiskey," a taxidermied turnspit dog on display at the Abergavenny Museum in Wales. Elsewhere in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette had advertisements for turnspit dogs and wheels for sale. "The downtrodden, lumpen, proletariat turnspit cooking dogs may well be related to the queen's pampered royal pooches.". "This bad treatment of dogs eventually led to the founding of the SPCA.". When any meat was to be roasted, one of these dogs was hoisted into a wooden wheel mounted on the wall near the fireplace. Shakespeare mentions them. The type is now extinct.It is mentioned in Of English Dogs in 1576 under the name "Turnespete". A turnspit dog at work in a wooden cooking wheel in an inn at Newcastle, Carmarthen, Wales, in 1869. Jan 17, 2017 - Hidden Kitchens Story #2: Turnspit Dogs: The Rise & Fall of the Vernepator Cur [audio: In an old hunting lodge on the grounds of an ancient Norman castle in Wales, a small extinct dog … Some believe the turnspit dog is a relative of the Welsh corgi. "They were ugly little dogs with a quite morose disposition, so nobody wanted to keep them as pets. For a true Briton, the proper way was to spit roast it in front of an open fire, using a turnspit dog.". ", Back at Abergavenny Museum, Whiskey, the last remaining turnspit, is a permanent fixture. 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. 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. A turnspit dog at work in a wooden cooking wheel in an inn at Newcastle, Carmarthen, Wales, in 1869. He describes somebody as being a curtailed dog fit only to run in the wheel. You can see a picture of Whiskey at NPR.org. Whiskey is the only (purported) stuffed turnspit dog in the world. The availability of cheap spit-turning machines, called clock jacks, brought about the demise of the turnspit dog. Turnspit Dogs: The Rise And Fall Of The Vernepator Cur. ", The turnspit was bred especially to run on a wheel that turned meat so it would cook evenly. "Turnspit dogs were viewed as kitchen utensils, as pieces of machinery rather than as dogs," says Bondeson. 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. But in the 16th century, the boys gave way to dogs. The small cooking canine was bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit in cavernous kitchen fireplaces. 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. LUCY WORSLEY: The dinner must be dished at 1:00. A turnspit dog at work in a wooden cooking wheel in an inn at Newcastle, Carmarthen, Wales, in 1869. Originally published on May 23, 2014 6:45 pm. Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest. Some had gray and white fur; others were black or reddish brown. The dogs were allowed to come with the family to the church. For a true Briton, the proper way was to spit roast it in front of an open fire, using a turnspit dog. The boys' hands used to blister. "Whiskey," a taxidermied turnspit dog on display at the Abergavenny Museum in Wales. Bondeson thinks possibly it's the Queen of England's favorite dog, the Welsh corgi. The wheel was attached to a chain, which ran down to the spit. "Whiskey," a taxidermied turnspit dog on display at the Abergavenny Museum in Wales. 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