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Help and advice for Little Dunmow

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Little Dunmow

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"DUNMOW (LITTLE), a parish in the hundred of DUNMOW, county of ESSEX, 2¼ miles (E. S. E.) from Great Dunmow, containing 342 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Middlesex, and diocese of London, endowed with £200 private benefaction, £600 royal bounty, and £200 parliamentary grant. N. R. Toke, Esq. was patron in 1824. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, consists only of the south aisle and part of the nave of a church which belonged to a priory of Augustine canons, founded in 1104., the revenue of which, at the dissolution, was £173.2.4. Under an arched recess in the south wall is a coffinshaped tomb, supposed to be that of Lady Juga, sister of Ralph Baynard, foundress of the priory; near it is a monument, with the figures of an armed knight and a lady, said to have been erected for Sir Walter Fitz-Walter, who died in 1198; and on the opposite side of the church, a monument with a female figure in alabaster, said to represent Matilda Fitzwalter, famous in legendary story as the wife or mistress of Robin Hood, and the object of the illicit passion of King John, who is stated to have caused her to be poisoned, in revenge for her having rejected his addresses. There is an ancient custom connected with the manor of Little Dunmow, of delivering a gammon, or flitch of bacon, on demand, to any couple, who, after having been married a year and a day, will, swear that neither party has repented, and that no cause of quarrel or complaint has arisen between them. Before the Reformation, the oath used to be administered, and the bacon given by the prior of the convent; and since, the ceremony has been occasionally performed at a court baron before the steward of the manor. The institution of this custom is supposed to have taken place soon after the Norman Conquest, but the earliest instance on record of the delivery of the bacon is in the 23rd of Henry VI., and the latest in 1751; and the whole number of successful claimants is said to have, been but six couple." [From Samuel Lewis A Topographical Dictionary of England (1831) - copyright Mel Lockie 2016]



  • Census returns are available from the usual sources for 1841-1911, which includes most copies held at the ERO, Wharf Rd, Chelmsford. More information on other ways to view these census returns on the Essex


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Little Dunmow area or see them printed on a map.


Description and Travel

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Historical Geography

  • Little Dunmow was a member of the Dunmow Hundred

You can see the administrative areas in which Little Dunmow has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • Little Dunmow was a member of the Dunmow Poor Law Union