The Bacon of Theology. Bishop Butler, author of the Analogy. (1692–1752.)
Bacon's brazen head.
To baste your bacon.
To strike or scourge one. The Saxons were called “hogs” by their
Norman lords. Henry VIII spoke of the common people as the “swinish
multitude”; and Falstaff says to the travellers at Gadshill,
“On, bacons, on!” (1Henry IV, ii. 2). Bacon is the outside
portion of the sides of pork, and may be considered generally as the
part which would receive a blow.
To save one's bacon.
To save oneself from injury.
But as he rose to save his bacon,
By hat and wig he was forsaken.
Coombe: Dr. Syntax, canto vi.
There seems to be another sense in which the term is used—viz. to
escape loss; and in this sense the allusion is to the care taken by our
forefathers to save from the numerous dogs that frequented their houses
the bacon which was laid up for winter store, the loss of which would
have been a very serious calamity.
A rustic. Till comparatively modern times the only meat which
rustics had to eat was bacon. I myself know several farm labourers who
never taste any meat but bacon, except on club and feast days.
He may fetch a flitch of bacon from Dunmow,
i.e. he is so amiable and good tempered he will never quarrel with
his wife. The allusion is to a custom founded by Juga, a noble lady, in
1111, and restored by Robert de Fitzwalter in 1244; which was, that
“any person from any part of England going to Dunmow, in Essex, and
humbly kneeling on two stones at the church door, may claim a gammon of
bacon, if he can swear that for twelve months and a day he has never
had a household brawl or wished himself unmarried.”
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894