According to local folklore, the term originates from an incident in which a monkey was hanged in Hartlepool. During the Napoleonic wars, a French ship of the type chasse marée was wrecked off the coast of Hartlepool. The only survivor was a monkey, wearing a French uniform (allegedly)-(presumably to provide amusement for those on board the ship). On finding the monkey, some locals decided to hold an impromptu trial on the beach; since the monkey was unable to answer their questions, and many locals were unaware of what a Frenchman may look like, they concluded that the monkey was in fact a French spy. Just to make sure, the animal was thus sentenced to death and hanged from the mast of a fishing boat on the Headland.