The cute figures shown below were the brainchild of Will Young, not the Young Will featured on the hit British TV show Pop Idol, but a retired policeman living just outside the Devon town Buckfastleigh.
Buckfastleigh is known to many people as home to a monastery and the South Devon Railway, but Will retired to Runnaford, just outside, in 1951 after sustaining a head injury forcing him to retire form the police force.
These quirky figures were sometimes marked as Runnaford Pottery, sometimes as Widecombe but were also advertised as Pickwick Pottery at a fancy goods fair in Torquay in 1962.
Often comical, all sorts of figures were made from Cornish smugglers to dickens characters, but most loved are the Widecombe fair figures, Old Uncle Tom Cobley, complete with his men and of course the Old Grey Mare…often with more than one jockey!
Will Young died in 1995 and his son Alan continues to make pottery figures in his fathers style, although these are chunkier than their older counterparts.
Updated 20 March 2008