The Dunmow Chair - 1250?

There is a custom, in Essex, that has very early origins. A flitch or gammon of bacon was presented to any couple who claimed it but they had to prove that for a year and a day after their marriage they had never once had a cross word, or ever wished themselves unmarried.

An old oak chair, the Dunmow or Bacon Chair, in which it is said that the successful couple were carried, still survives in the Priory Church at Little Dunmow. The original chair has slots back and front under the seat where the carrying poles were inserted. I have omitted these in the miniature.

It is no longer used in the modern Flitch Ceremony which is held every four years. More information can be found about this on


All text and images © Ann High 2004 - 2009