The history of the pig in Victorian England was that the pig was an integral part of village life, both visible and essential. Living in close proximity to its owners and fed on scraps, it was the subject of perpetual interest.
The pig also has a place in literature featuring in Fielding’s pig-keeping Parson Trulliber to Hardy’s Jude the Obscure and Flora Thompson’s Lark Rise to Candleford. And not forgetting children’s stories such as “The Three Little Pigs” and in nursery rhymes “This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed at home…”.
During the late 18th Century children together with people who were not employed would collect acorns in autumn and sell them to the small pig keepers or to those known as “cottage pig keepers” who would purchase a pig and keep it in their back yard or have the pig sty attached to the house or even have the pig share their house.
The feeding of the Cottage Pig was the responsibility of the owner whereby he would feed his pig scraps that came from the kitchen and it was also widely recognised that neighbouring villagers would also help in the feed of the cottage pig and when the time came to kill the pig its meat would be shared with those that helped feed the pig.