History – Horses and Pigs

The keeping of pigs and horses was commonplace and very much part of rural life in Treoes.

Morgan Mordecai and his family moved into TY-Phillip in 1963. Mog, as he was known, was a horse dealer and also sold hay, straw and stock potatoes.  His wife Nancy was a character too, she helped with the family finances by selling good second hand clothes and surplus stock leather goods. Customers would come from miles around to buy from her.  Whenever Mog killed a pig, Nancy would make faggots to sell. 

Mog was a familiar character in the village, often seen around the village in his tractor and herding his horses through the village as he moved them from field to field.  He was a prankster and a favourite with the village children. When off on his visits to Llanybyther and even The Royal Welsh Show he would take several of the village children with him, riding on the back of his lorry, they would have a wonderful time, blissfully unaware of the dangers that Health and Safety have since made us all aware.

He once found a badger that had been killed on the road, he skinned it, and kept the skin hanging in the yard at Ty-Phillip. One day, for a joke, he took the skin to the Star with him, and furtively placed it on the seat of the ladies toilet, which was upstairs.  He waited and in due course sure enough, an elderly lady, greatly agitated, ran down the stairs frantically looking for help to remove the “thing” that she had almost sat on and had “frightened her half to death”.  When the cause of her fear was revealed Mog was accused, but to death never admitted his guilt.

Then there was his Old Brown Sow – who refused to stay in the Pigsty at Ty-Phillip, she would wander the village, being fed by all and sundry. The only time she would return home was when she was due to farrow (have piglets).

 A Typical Pig Sty
A Typical Pig Sty

The Mordecais’ weren’t the only folk who were still keeping pigs at this time, as Marilyn Jenkins (now Wallace) recalls waiting patiently for her mother Connie to finish peeling the potatoes for dinner, so that she could take the peelings, in the bowl to Aunty Mary Ann Llewellyn for her to use to feed her pig. This was not the Aunty Mary Ann Llewellyn who ran the Sunday school, but the one who lived in Sunnyside.  Marilyn said “Aunty Mary Ann always had crocheted lace runners on her sideboard, under which she had hidden several thru’penny pieces ready to give us children for keeping her supplied in food for her pig” needless to say there was always plenty of food for Aunty Mary Ann’s pig.

 

Mr Loosemoore of Persondy, was a Butcher and Slaughter man, he would slaughter the pigs for the villagers. The parts that could be salted would be kept and hung for due course consumption as bacon, whilst the remainder would be shared amongst friends and neighbours – the more favoured getting the best parts.  Brawn made from the pig’s brains, Pigs Trotters, Faggots made from the offal and Tripe (with onions, cooked in milk) being staple meals.  Villagers today recall the horrific sound of the pigs squealing as they were slaughtered. Jean Thomas recalls one pig in particular that her Father had kept when she was a little girl, she called it Rosie and had got so attached to the pig that she wept bitterly when she realised it had to be killed, and will never forget the experience.

 Pigs were only killed in months containing an “r” i.e. not in the summer months.  There is a story that one cottager insisted that his pig be killed in the summer and on his continued insistence Mr Loosemore did the deed. The pig, however, had its revenge and its meat would not accept the salt, with the consequence that the cottager could not save any of the pig and in order for the pig meat to be used before it rotted most of it had to be given away.

It was an everyday occurrence to see the cows being herded through the village or the roads surrounding the village as they were moved from field to field for fresh pasture. Graham Groom lived in Kahloke, just opposite Ty-Ellis and New House. In his front garden he had built a fish pond fully stocked with fish.  The cows soon realised that here was somewhere they could stop for a drink, and poor Mr Groom’s fish became “fish out of water “if they hadn’t already been frightened half to death by these great noisy animals lapping up their water with their lolloping tongues.  The fish had the last laugh however when Mr Groom installed an electric fence.

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