Explore historic Essex and experience centuries-old traditions

The county’s tourism body, Visit Essex, is encouraging visitors to experience the centuries-old traditions and events that take place around the county.

Visitors to the beautiful mediaeval village of Great Dunmow will be treated to the centuries-old, ‘The Dunmow Flitch Trials’ on Saturday 9 July. Every four years, the people of Great Dunmow gather to watch married couples convince a judge and jury of “6 maidens and 6 bachelors” that they have not “wish’t themselves unmarried” in a year and a day. The couple who convinces the jury, via a series of trials, that they are happy in their marriage wins a flitch of bacon – half a roasting pig. It is one of the oldest traditions in Great Dunmow, having been mentioned in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and is well worth the visit to this quaint picturesque town. Tickets for the trials need to be booked in advance and are priced from £8 – www.dunmowflitchtrials.co.uk.

The nearby village of Thaxted with its picturesque, windmill, thatched cottages and beautiful church spires is also home to Thaxted Morris Men. Founded in 1911, Thaxted Morris is the oldest revival in the country, and one of their first performances celebrated the coronation of King George V! From May to September, Thaxted Morris perform all over the county, including at the Dunmow Flitch Trials in 2022. The group holds practice every Monday from October to April and all men and boys are welcome to join. Their schedule can be found on their website – www.thaxtedmorris.org/.

Councillor Mark Durham, Chairman of Visit Essex, says: “There’s so much to Essex, from our picture-perfect villages to our centuries-old traditions. This is all part of our heritage as a county, and we want to show off all aspects of who we are and what we represent.”

To find out more about things to do in Essex, visit www.visitessex.com/things-to-do.

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