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Free bacon for married couples – If they are still in love

Every four years in the English county of Essex, the village of Great Dunmow hosts an event called ‘The Dunmow Flitch Trials’.

This year the ‘Trials’ will be held on July 14. Married couples, from anywhere in the world, who have been married for more than a year-and-a-day will try to convince a jury, of 6 maidens and 6 bachelors, that they still love each other and that they have ‘not wisht themselves unmarried again’. If the jury decides that any of the couples are still in love, and have always been, they are awarded a Flitch of Bacon and carried aloft by husky locals to the market square, where they will kneel on pointed stones and take the ‘Flitch Oath.”


A winning couple is carried to the market square.

What is a Flitch of Bacon?

A Flitch of Bacon is half a pig cut lengthways. If the jury decides that a couple do not deserve the Flitch, they are awarded a small ham. Every couple entered could win the Flitch, some years nobody wins, so its ham all round.

The Dunmow Flitch Trials have been held since 1104, with gaps for persecutions and wars. The winners have been recorded since 1445. The father of English literature, Geoffrey Chaucer, writing in the late 1300s, alludes to the Dunmow Flitch Trials in “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” in his best known work “Canterbury Tales.”

In 2008 a couple from Nashville, Tennessee win a Flitch

The last winners of the Flitch were Jeff Dotts and Erin Albers from Nashville. It was reported that there were no riots in Nashville in celebration of their great victory. Not sure if they were allowed by the USDA to bring the bacon back to Tennessee.


Jeff and Erin pose with their Flitch and a Union Flag – Picture Copyright Mark Burton Photography

The Flitch Oath

“You do swear by custom of confession
That you ne’er made nuptual transgression
Nor since you were married man and wife
By household brawls or contentious strife
Or otherwise in bed or at board
Offended each other in deed or in word
Or in a twelve months time and a day
Repented not in thought in any way
Or since the church clerk said amen
Wish’t yourselves unmarried again
But continue true and desire
As when you joined hands in holy quire.”


Jeff and Erin take the Flitch Oath kneeling on the pointed stones – Picture Copyright Mark Burton Photography

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Posted by on June 27, 2012. Filed under Bizarre/Oddities,PETS—POLITICS—NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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Jeff Dotts
Jeff Dotts
8 years ago

The bacon did not make the ride home. Instead, we tasked the local Rotary to “do good” with it. The traded the flitch to the local butcher for a whole hog. Then, on Thanksgiving Day of 2008, they hosted a Hog Roast and Barn Dance, raised $3000 pounds, and donated the money to Over the Wall, a camp for children with chronic and life threatening illnesses near London.

Michael John Scott
Reply to  Jeff Dotts
8 years ago

Thanks for that update Jeff.