Pottery pigs

Pottery pigs

Rye Pottery and the Sussex Pig who ‘wun’t be druv’

Sussex pottery pigs have a detachable head which forms a drinking cup.  The tradition of these pigs was revived by Frederick Mitchell at the Bellevue Pottery from the late 1860s and those of Rye Pottery still fetch large sums at auctions.  The pigs were especially popular at weddings so guests could claim to consume ‘a hogshead of liquor’.  Predictably, the term was also sometimes used to lure the unwary into losing a bet!

The words ‘Wunt be Druv’ are often incised around the pig’s neck.  The phrase, meaning ‘will not be driven’  is the unofficial motto of Sussex whose people are reputed to have minds of their own and to refuse being pushed around or ordered what to do.  Examples cited to illustrate this independence of spirit are two late Middle Age Wealden peasant revolts—the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 under the leadership of Wat Tyler and another in 1450 under Jack Cade.

rye pig 2We have several Sussex pigs from Rye Pottery in our collection at the Rye Museum.


NOTE:  There are lots pf other curious items in our East Street collection. One way to get acquainted with them is to become a volunteer steward.  From the end of March, we would like this site to be open throughout each weekend.  You can help make this possible by giving just 3 hours a month.  It’s a rewarding thing to do, and  not difficult.  Interested?  Contact Shane Redmond who will tell you all you need to know.  01797-229910 or click here to send an email.

First posted in Featured, From Our Collection on 9th March 2015
Last updated: 11th March 2015