Inspiration

‘Moch Sain Fagan’ is a response to a family visit to St Fagans and the pigs that are kept on the farm there.

St Fagans aims to portray traditional agricultural activities as realistically as possible. In the grounds of the museum you can see traditional livestock breeds commonly found in Wales.

The Welsh pig is somewhat similar to, and often crossed with, the Large White in modern pig-rearing.

Circular pigsties like the one at St Fagans were once common in south Wales. Most of them were probably built towards the end of the 18th century and during the early decades of the 19th century.

Before this time, most pigs would have been allowed to roam free or were kept in small enclosures or folds. Circular pigsties were built of dry stone and roofed using a technique known as corbelling, where each circle of stonework was gradually reduced until a dome-shaped structure was formed.

Nearly all of the eighty or so examples recorded in Wales to date were to be found in the south. Similar, but smaller, stone corbelled structures were also erected in Wales to house geese and ducks.

This ancient technique has been used from prehistory onwards, for both human and animal occupants. Examples of corbelled houses can still be seen in parts of France and Italy today. The dry-stone walls around the St Fagans pigstie are typical of parts of south-east Wales.

Rectangular pigsties were far more common in Wales, and examples can be seen on the museum site at Llwyn-yr-eos Farmstead, Rhyd-y-car houses and Nantwallter cottage.