Great Dunmow listening bench

Essex Sound and Video Archive / Dunmow Historical and Literary Society

Great Dunmow bench

Listening bench being unveiled in Great Dunmow
Essex Record Office

Welcome to the information page for the listening bench installed in Great Dunmow, Essex.

Here you can find out more about the clips featured on the bench. There is also information about the Dunmow Historical and Literary Society, which put the clips together.

As 2016 is a Flitch Year (to be held on 9 July 2016), it was decided that for the launch of the Dunmow Listening Bench, a preview of the famous Flitch Trials for marriage fidelity would be interesting.  The recordings currently on the bench were carried out by BBC Essex in 1987 and 1988. The Dunmow Historical and Literary Society have edited the recordings with the help of the Essex Record Office. You can read more about the full recordings on Essex Archives Online: the 1987 programme and the 1988 programme.

The clips on Button 1 outline the history of the Dunmow Flitch, as well as a snapshot of the court proceedings. There is also an interview from a name linked to the Flitch for many years, that of Claire Rayner, a well-known broadcaster, novelist, campaigner for health issues, and agony aunt. For many years she acted as one of the barristers during the court room procedures of the Flitch. The clips on Button 2 were taken from the Flitch courtroom, with anecdotes from the candidates.


Location of the bench in Great Dunmow

The bench is located in the town square, opposite the Library.


This bench was put together by the Dunmow Historical and Literary Society in collaboration with the Essex Record Office, as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded project, You Are Hear: sound and a sense of place. The Society aims to promote and support an interest in history (both local and national). The Society holds a series of talks each year on various widely ranging topics by local and national speakers. The Society has also published a series of books on various aspects of Dunmow history. The bench has been installed with the support of the Great Dunmow Town Council.


QR Code generously provided by Visualead.


Audio clips on this bench

Introduction to the listening bench

Introduction to the listening bench and to the Flitch Trials (Button 1).

History of the Flitch Trials

History of the Flitch Trials and how it has changed over the years (Button 1).

Interview with Claire Rayner about her role as Defender of the Flitch

Interview with broadcaster Claire Rayner about her participation in the Flitch trials and her role as Defender of the Flitch (Button 1).

Extracts from Flitch courtroom scene: How the couple met

Clips from the Flitch trial courtroom scenes, including story of how one couple met, and interview with participants (Button 2).

Extract from Flitch courtroom scene: The wedding day

Clip from a Flitch Trial courtroom scene recounting a hitch on the couple’s wedding day (Button 2).

Extracts from Flitch trial courtroom scenes: Pleading the case

Clips from Flitch Trial courtroom scenes, including summaries from Counsel (Button 2).

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