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MATRIMONY ON TRIAL FOR A FLITCH OF BACON: ANNUAL CEREMONY AT DUNMOW

MATRIMONY ON TRIAL FOR A FLITCH OF BACON: ANNUAL CEREMONY AT DUNMOW

Here is a ceremony of great age and peculiarity. It began at Little Dunmow, a village next to the Essex town of Great Dunmow. In this village was once a priory, and the good monks instituted an annual trial of married couples. They had to prove that for a year and a day after their wedding they had lived in perfect amity and never for a moment wished themselves single again. The first record of the award dates from 1445, but the custom probably started in the early thirteenth century. At the Dissolution, the monastic jury being no more available, a committee of six maidens and six bachelors was formed. It was the novelist, Harrison Ainsworth who, in 1855, revived the custom now held in the town hall of Great Dunmow.

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