Avening Pig Face Day

Where: Formerly at Avening, Gloucestershire at the Church of the Holy Cross
When: Formerly Sunday nearest 14th September
Time: Formerly Church service 11am with Feast to follow


Way back in the eleventh century, a boars head feast was held to celebrate the completion of the Church of the Holy Cross at Avening in Gloucestershire. The tradition behind the building of the church is that Queen Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, had Brittric the Lord of Gloucester imprisoned in revenge for  his  rejection of  her advances years earlier; he died during his incarceration. When Brittric turned her down, Matilda was the unmarried daughter of the Count of Flanders; after her husband took the English throne, she was in a position to wield her authority over the Lord of Gloucester. To salve her guilty conscience for the persecution, Matilda funded the construction and the feast that followed. The event was commemorated by Pig Face Day when the villagers attended a hog-roast feast at the village hall following the church service. A procession made its way from church, with the pigs head carried on a platter. Medieval dress was worn for the event and there were medieval entertainments including music, jesters and jugglers.

Helpful Hints

In spite of the name, there were no prizes for gurning! Medieval dress was optional.

It was held every other year on even-numbered years only – last was  September 2014 on Sunday 14th but it was poorly supported so the decision was taken to stop holding the event. Some website listings suggest that it is held every year but this was NOT the case . In earlier years the feast took place after evensong, but in 2014 it was held after morning service instead to see if this increased support, but sadly it didn’t help.

Click here for the church website : http://www.aveningchurch.info/

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