Dunmow Flitch Trials, Essex, UK

Dunmow Flitch Trials, Essex, UK

July 13

Tabard's Lay - Great Dunmow, Essex, UK

The origins of this tradition date back to 1104 when, according to one version, the Augustinian monastery of Little Dunmow was founded. Other sources suggest that the first trials were established by the lord of the manor of Dunmow, Robert Fitzwalter, sometime in the 13th century. By the 14th century, these competitions were already well-known, mentioned in such classic works as "Piers Plowman" by William Langland and "The Wife of Bath" by Geoffrey Chaucer.

According to legend, Robert Fitzwalter promised to reward a substantial piece of salted pork (flitch) to any couple who could prove that they had lived together in complete harmony for a year and a day without any quarrels. Although records of winners were kept only starting from 1445, the tradition of awarding the flitch continued until the 18th century. The last person to receive the coveted prize under the ancient custom was Richard Wright of Norwich on June 20, 1751.

Dunmow Flitch Trials 2024 Program

On July 13, 2024, participants from all over the UK and other countries will gather in Great Dunmow

On July 13, 2024, participants from all over the UK and other countries will gather in Great Dunmow. The celebration will begin with a colorful parade in the town center. The main event will be a court session in the format of a competitive trial. Flitch contestants will answer tricky questions from judges and lawyers, undergo amusing tests, proving their marital bliss. The jury will consist of 6 unmarried women and 6 single men from Essex, aged 18 to 25.

The winners will be honored with a grand ceremony of awarding the prize - a huge piece of salted pork weighing about 20 pounds. They will be carried on a four-hundred-year-old Flitch chair to the market square at the "Star Inn" hotel. There, they will kneel on pointed stones and take the traditional Flitch oath. In the evening, guests will enjoy a grand festive dinner with dancing, music, and fireworks.

How to get to Great Dunmow

How to get to Great Dunmow

Great Dunmow is located in Essex, about 60 miles northeast of London and near Stansted Airport. You can reach the event in the following ways:

  1. By car: From London, follow the M11 motorway towards Cambridge, then take the A120 towards Great Dunmow.
  2. By train: The nearest train stations are Broads Green and Braintree, from where you can take a taxi or bus.
  3. By bus: Regular bus routes run from London and Chelmsford.
  4. By plane: Stansted Airport is just a few miles from Great Dunmow.

Tips for visitors

  1. Book accommodation in advance, as hotels and guesthouses fill up quickly during the festivities.
  2. Bring folding chairs and blankets for comfortable viewing of the parade and court hearings.
  3. Charge your gadgets to capture bright photos and videos.
  4. Be sure to try the local pork dishes at the festive dinner.
  5. Be ready for jokes, pranks, and a festive atmosphere - this tradition is steeped in humor.
  6. Register to participate by February 14, 2024, if you want to compete for the flitch. The process is open to everyone, including same-sex marriages.

The trials will take place in three sessions: at 10:30 AM, 2:00 PM, and 7:00 PM on July 13. Tickets are already on sale at www.dunmowflitchtrials.co.uk or at Flitch Travel on Dunmow High Street. Prices range from £12 to £22 depending on the session.

The trials will take place in three sessions: at 10:30 AM, 2:00 PM, and 7:00 PM on July 13

Dunmow Flitch Trials is truly a unique event that combines medieval traditions, romance, and fun!