Monkey business! – Skeleton of Hartlepool legend is April Fools’ prank

Monkey bones
Monkey bones

WE had a bit of fun in the office for April Fools’ Day with a story about the discovery of Hartlepool’s infamous monkey.

Did you fall for our cheeky tale?

Here is the full story in today’s newspaper:

THE skeleton of the famous Hartlepool monkey hanged for being a French spy has been unearthed in an amazing discovery.

The Hartlepool marina monkey.

The Hartlepool marina monkey.

Archeologists, from France and England, investigating the 200-year-old legend discovered the bones of a monkey buried several feet under the beach on the Headland.

Tiny pieces of fibre, believed to be from the rope used to hang the monkey, were even found close to the poor primate’s neck.

The beach, off York Place, has been now taped off and closed to the public to allow further scientific investigations to take place.

The legend of the Hartlepool monkey has become the most famous story associated with our town and is known throughout the world.

A French ship was wrecked off the Hartlepool coast during the Napoleonic Wars between 1803-1815.

Among the wreckage was the ship’s pet monkey dressed in a military style uniform, probably to entertain the crew.

But when he refused to answer questions during a trial on the beach and unfamiliar with what a Frenchman looked like, it was sentenced to death by hanging.

A team of experts were led to the historic find after long-lost records for a French war ship, called La Fir Polo, recently came to light.

They referred to the ship running aground off the North-East coast of England at a place where the locals “spoke with a strange accent and ate lots of pastries”.

The documents confirmed the only survivor was the ship’s pet monkey named Lucky.

Investigators scoured the beach with specialist equipment that showed what lay underneath the sand before the clear image of a small monkey flashed up on their readers.

Lead archeologist Avril Foujour told the Mail: “At first when we heard about documents pointing to the location of the Hartlepool monkey we thought it was a joke.

“We could not believe it when the skeleton of a monkey, similar in size to those used on ships around the time of the Napoleonic Wars, was definitely there for all to see around five feet beneath the surface.

“This is one of the most important finds in maritime history and ranks alongside the discovery of the Mary Rose.”

The skeleton is soon set to be the focus of a major new exhibition.