Hertfordshire hedge-hogs.

This proverb seems to have no other meaning than that of pointing out the number of hedge-hogs found in this county. Hedge-hogs are harmless animals, who, from the vulgar error of their sucking cows, have, time out of mind, been proscribed, and three-pence or a groat paid for every one of them brought dead or alive to the churchwardens, by whose order they are commonly gibbetted on one of the yew-trees in the churchyard. The hedge-hog is emblematically used to represent a bad neighbour, and unsociable and ill-conditioned person; its points, when set up, forbidding a near approach. Whether this appellation was formerly applied to the people of this county in that sense does not appear.

Entry taken from Provincial Glossary, edited by Francis Grose.

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Hertfordshire hedge-hogs

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