Dunmow Flitch Trials make a comeback after being on hold due to COVID

Couples lined up to take part in the Dunmow Flitch Trials

Couples lined up to take part in the Dunmow Flitch Trials - Credit: Saffron Photo 2019

The Dunmow Flitch Trials returned this year to once again allow couples to express their love for one another in hopes of winning a flitch. 

After two years of being postponed because of COVID-19, the event was held once more in Great Dunmow on Saturday, July 9. 

Counsel Miss Sadie Nine from BBC Essex speaks for the Bacon

Counsel Miss Sadie Nine from BBC Essex speaks for the Bacon - Credit: Dunmow Flitch Trials

Hundreds of people came to see the 900-year-old tradition where couples must convince a judge and jury they are a good couple in hopes of winning a flitch - a side of bacon.

The event started with the procession lead by the Flitch Minstrels and Great Dunmow Town Crier, Richard Harris.

Court Chaplins Rev Tom Warmington, Vicar of St Mary's Dunmow with the Bishop of Colchester, Bishop Roger Morris

Court Chaplins Rev Tom Warmington, Vicar of St Mary's Dunmow with the Bishop of Colchester, Bishop Roger Morris - Credit: Dunmow Flitch Trials

This led to the three sold-out court sittings where the couples taking part took to the stand to prove to judge Daniel Pitt and a jury of six maidens and six bachelors that in the “twelvemonth and a day they” have not “wisht themselves unmarried again”.

This is the mark to pass - as to take part a couple must have been married for at least one year and a day.

Flitch Minstrels

Flitch Minstrels - Credit: Dunmow Flitch Trials

Judge Daniel Pitt used to be Counsel for the Bacon for 26 years but was promoted for this year's trials.

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This years counsel, whose job it is to combat the couple's claims of pure affection for one another to prevent them from getting the bacon, was BBC Radio Essex presenter Sadie Nine, barristers Tim Clark QC and Iain Daniels and writer, actor and stand up comic Steve Bugeja.

Flitch Trials Jury 2022

Flitch Trials Jury 2022 - Credit: Dunmow Flitch Trials

Three couples were awarded flitches this year; Mr Mike O'Reilly and Dr Zanna Voysey of Churchend, Great Dunmow, Mr and Mrs Desmond and Minette Carter of Berkely, Detroit, Michigan, USA and Mr and Mrs Chris & Helen Figg of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Successful couple Desmond & Minette Carter being chaired through the town

Successful couple Desmond & Minette Carter being chaired through the town - Credit: Dunmow Flitch Trials

Attendees then watched the three successful couples sit on the Ancient Flitch Chair, raised shoulder high and “chaired” from the trials to Market Place.

Successful couple Mike O'Reilly & Dr Zanna Voysey being chaired through the town

Successful couple Mike O'Reilly & Dr Zanna Voysey being chaired through the town - Credit: Dunmow Flitch Trials

It’s here that the couples take an oath, not dissimilar to pre-reformation marriage vows, while kneeling on pointed stones, and soon after each receive their own voucher for a flitch.

There were also couples who unfortunately could not persuade the judge and jury on the day. Mr Ian and Mrs Amanda Brown and Mr Rik and Mrs Joanne Williams of Great Dunmow were consoled with a gammon joint and made to walk behind the empty chair to Market Place as opposed to sitting in it.

The Dunmow Flitch of Bacon being carried

The Dunmow Flitch of Bacon being carried - Credit: Dunmow Flitch Trials

The Dunmow Flitch Trials returned at the weekend

The Dunmow Flitch Trials returned at the weekend - Credit: Saffron Photo 2019

The Dunmow Flitch Trials returned at the weekend

The Dunmow Flitch Trials returned at the weekend - Credit: Saffron Photo 2019

The Dunmow Flitch Trials returned at the weekend

The Dunmow Flitch Trials returned at the weekend - Credit: Saffron Photo 2019

The Dunmow Flitch Trials returned at the weekend

The Dunmow Flitch Trials returned at the weekend - Credit: Saffron Photo 2019

The Dunmow Flitch Trials returned at the weekend

The Dunmow Flitch Trials returned at the weekend - Credit: Saffron Photo 2019

The Dunmow Flitch Trials returned at the weekend

The Dunmow Flitch Trials returned at the weekend - Credit: Saffron Photo 2019