Dunmow Flitch Trials make a comeback after being on hold due to COVID
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Attendees then watched the three successful couples sit on the Ancient Flitch Chair, raised shoulder high and “chaired” from the trials to Market Place.
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.