Reading the history book about Brinsop, I came across this story and thought I would share it…… can’t imagine any of it happening today!

willow tree at brinsop courtDorothy Wordsworth wasn’t a natural dog lover, but a dog called Prince attached himself to her. He accompanied her on her long and solitary rambles around Herefordshire. Prince was so devoted to her that once when she was off on a journey, he secreted himself in the cart that conveyed her luggage to Hereford and her coach. They had great difficulty in getting him home again!

He and Dorothy grew old together and Prince became sadly infirm and apparently a burden not only to those around him but also to himself. His young master, George Hutchinson repeatedly begged for his life. George was William Wordsworth’s nephew and son of Sarah.

George was away and a servant took it upon himself to hang Prince. When George returned he was sent to look for worms to help bait the nightlines across the moat. When he drew near where the worms were said to be, he glanced up at a willow tree and saw his beloved Prince hanging by the neck.

Half mad with grief, he would not be consoled. Edward Quillinan, who was Wordsworth’s son-in-law had not known of the place of execution and it was he who had sent George to find the worms. He hastily wrote the following impromptu lines by way of consolation which he threw out of the window to the boy wailing below…..

dog relaxing at brinsop courtEpitaph to a Favourite Dog

Stop! Passenger, and drop a tear;

A most ill-fated Prince lies here.

His reign in youth was wild and pleasant;

He hunted rabbit, hare and pheasant;

Grown old, he bid adieu to sport,

And mildly ruled at Brinsop Court.

But shame on these reforming times

Of revolutionary crimes!

This harmless, old and good Prince-royal

Was vilely used by hands disloyal.

His noble neck was hempen-collared

And stretched upon a willow-pollard.

Oh, wicked traitor, Jerry Preece

Repent, if you would die in peace.

Jerry Preece was the servant who had done the vile deed and the “reforming times” were 1832.

There is no record to say whether these lines consoled George but they were engraved on stone and placed at the head of the dog’s grave.

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