The Flitch of Bacon

Read this today, from the Exempla of James of Vitry, cardinal bishop of Tusculum (d. 1240) in Italy. These collections of exempla were anecdotes used by preachers in their sermons. I think this one would go nicely with Chesterton’s “Defense of Rash Vows” and of course a couple of eggs over easy.


Concerning the bacon that was hanging in a certain town.

One time I passed through a certain town in France, where they had suspended a haunch or flitch of bacon in the town square with the following stipulation: that, he who would swear an oath that he had gone through a whole year after contracting marriage with a wife and had never regretted his marriage, should have the bacon. And although for ten years it had hung there there has not been found a single man who gained the flitch of bacon, everyone having regretted contracting their marriage within a year. (trans. mine)



the lucky couple in 1905, in the traditional flitch chair at Dunmow

According to Wikipedia, the historical Dunmow Flitch in Staffordshire, England, has been claimed successfully six times,

and of the four men whose wives’ names were recorded, three (!) were married to women named Ann(e). The fourth was a Jane, which bodes well for me.


4,000 flitches of bacon








Thanks, dear reader, should you ever find me, for being my gadfly.


About philokalos

Philologist, historian, and lover of great books, I started this blog to keep myself alert to the beauty of what I see amid the demands of my work.
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