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The Dunmow Flitch Trials are a genuine ancient English folk custom which is still performed today. Great Dunmow is a small town in Essex in south-east England, about 25 miles away from where I live. The earliest known references to the Flitch Trials date back to 1104 and it seems to have been a well-established custom even then. The Trial itself is a very simple concept:

A married couple, a year and a day after their wedding, can claim a flitch of bacon (basically half a pig) if they can prove that they have not argued since their wedding day.

Three hundred and sixty-seven days of wedded bliss (Flitch ceremonies are held on leap years only) ... can't be that hard, surely. Well amazingly less than 50% of the couples who try to claim their flitch succeed. The trial takes place before a court made up of town dignitaries and with a jury comprising six men and six women from the town. The most recent Flitch Trial was in July 2000 and two couples succesfully claimed their flitches.

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