|Little Dunmow, St Mary Churchyard|
Also known as: Priory Church of the Virgin Mary, St Mary Churchyard, Little Dunmow
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Little Dunmow is a village situated in the Uttlesford District of rural Essex, England, in the vale of the river Chelmer about three miles east-southeast of the town of Great Dunmow. It can be reached from the Dunmow South exit of the A120 by following the road towards Braintree (B1256) for 3.2 km before turning right for the village. The old village, which has just 99 dwellings, is a further 0.6 km along the road. The new village, built on the site of a former sugar-beet factory, will be a self-contained community of 850 dwellings and is another kilometre along the road towards Felsted. The Flitch Way, a linear country park along the route of the old Braintree to Bishop's Stortford railway, links the old and new village.The old village has a long history centred around the Parish Church which was founded in 1104 by Lady Juga Baynard, sister of Ralph Baynard,a Norman baron.The monastic buildings stood to the southwest of the church but, along with much of the Priory, were razed to the ground after the Dissolution.
Dunmow was the original home of the Flitch Trials which now take place in Great Dunmow every four years. This ancient custom rewarded a couple who had been married in church and remained 'unregreted' for a year, with a flitch of bacon. The claimants had to swear an oath kneeling on two sharp pointed stones in the churchyard. They were then carried through the village to be acclaimed. In later years they were carried in the Flitch Chair, thought to be made from pew ends from the Priory Church. The original Flitch chair and kneeling stones can still be seen in the church. (text by Geoffrey Gillon)
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