The Legend of the Hartlepool Monkey
It’s said that during the Napoleonic Wars (early 19th century), a ship was wrecked off the coast of Hartlepool, in the North East of England. The only survivor found on the beach was a monkey, who it is said was dressed in a miniature military uniform. The people of Hartlepool were very suspicious and feared being invaded by the French at this time. Upon finding the strange creature, they believed him to be a French spy. (They had never seen a Frenchman or a monkey before.) He was put on trial and, as they couldn’t understand anything he said, they thought he was speaking French. He was found guilty and then hanged in the town square. This led to those from Hartlepool being referred to as “Monkey Hangers” all around the world.
Some have tried to use the line “who hung the monkey” as a taunt but people from Hartlepool are proud of the story. The town’s football team, Hartlepool United, had a monkey mascot called H’Angus the Monkey, and one of local Rugby Union teams, Hartlepool Rovers, are known as the Monkeyhangers.