|Iron Age figurines of pigs/boars. British Museum;|
at least the one on the left was probably the crest of a helmet– c/o Johnbod – Wikipedia
Proverbially pigs are ‘either muck or money’ and have been wandering the earth for many millennia. When Britain became an island the boar was already here and over time less aggressive animals evolved.
Can you imagine a hundred pigs running around in the woods, surrounded by vineyards, in the middle of London - yes - this was Bloomsbury as described in the Domesday Book (1086).
A Gloucestershire Old Spots boar
In the Middle Ages they were used to clean the streets by eating the refuse. But the numbers of pigs became such a nuisance that in 1292 four men were appointed ‘killers of swine’, with a licence to slaughter any pig found wandering along the king’s highway.
The countrymen rejoiced! – as they found an increased market in the towns for pork meats. Wild pigs were all but eradicated by the 17th century ... the pigs that survived in medieval times were half-wild and sometimes dangerous.
During the 19th century with the knowledge gained from journeys overseas, and the necessary transporting of livestock on the exploration ships for food or settlement in foreign lands, the more docile Asian varieties, which were brought to these shores, were crossed with our wild pigs, which gave us today’s breeds.
|1885 – 1890 Schweine: (Berkshire; Japanese, Yorkshire, Hampshire breeds).|
Meyer’s (1796-1856) Konversations-Lexikon was a major German encyclopedia,
merging with the Brockhaus encyclopedia in 1884
Farming practices in the late 19th and first part of the 20th century nearly eliminated most of the pure breeds, fortunately common sense returned and today our artisan farmers realise the value in variety and ensure we nurture our specialist varieties.
Pigs have always been popular because they are such a versatile provider of foods – pork, bacon and ham, while every part of a pig could be utilised ... as sausage, pigs’ trotters, brawn, fat crackling ... bristles for brushes, and the skin for hides.
Long Live the Pig -
This is Pig - that is what P is for ..
Part of the ABC - April 2011 - A - Z Challenge - Aspects of the British Countryside
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories