Elias Owen relates, in ‘Welsh Folk-Lore’, how it was believed that hedgehogs suckled cows overnight, causing the teats to be swollen and thus making the milking of them in the morning that much more difficult. Thus, as Owen tells us, ‘this useful little animal was doomed to death’. Apparently, the church paid upwards of 2 pence per hedgehog killed, and the churchwardens accounts would reflect this.
At St Mary’s in Cilcain, the accounts reflect a payment of 2 pence to Edward Lloyd for the killing of a hedgehog in 1710. At Llanasa, churchwarden accounts detail the killing of, ‘9 hedgehogs’ for the princely sum of 1&6d. Rather gruesomely, it was often the case that the killed hedgehogs, along with other animals considered vermin, such as foxes were hung from the branches of churchyard yews in order to prove to wardens that the animals had actually been killed.
All this is rather sad, since in actual fact, as everybody knows, hedgehogs are lactose intolerant.