A tomb with a view – 5,500 years on: Wiltshire farmer brings back the long barrow burial mound

When full, it could house the remains of up to 2,400 people

They have been out of fashion for about 5,500 years. But a Wiltshire farmer is hoping to bring back the long barrow – pre-historic tomb – by building one on his land.

Tim Daw, 52, has been granted planning permission to create a 50m (164ft) walk-in burial mound at his family farm near Devizes. Several members of the public have already signed up to have their ashes buried there. It will contain seven circular chambers lined with niches for storing ash-filled urns. When full, the barrow could house the remains of up to 2,400 people.

Mr Daw, who works as a steward at Stonehenge, plans to start construction shortly. He will charge up to £1,000 for a "family niche" holding six to eight urns. The working barrow will be constructed of local materials to a design of his making. The entrance will be aligned so that the sun shines down the central chamber on the Winter Solstice.

Mr Daw, an atheist, says the project is a response to the decline in conventional Christian burials. "Unless people are particularly religious, they often don't know what to do with the ashes of their loved ones," says Mr Daw. "I realised I had a very special site here on my farm, so it sort of made sense. The council said it was an 'unusual application' but has granted permission."

The All Cannings Long Barrow will be made from local sarsen stones, similar to those used at Stonehenge and Avebury. This part of Wiltshire, the North Wessex downs, is sprinkled with sarsen stones, left behind after the last ice age. One of the best preserved long barrows in Britain is at West Kennet, six miles away. It was built in about 3,600 BC, almost 1,000 years before Stonehenge was begun, and is thought to have been in use for about 900 years.

Barrows were traditionally built for the social elite. Ordinary citizens were cremated or buried in less elaborate graves. Britain's best-known burial mound, although more recent, is at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk – where a 7th-century Anglo-Saxon king was found buried in a wooden ship, surrounded by priceless grave goods.

Mr Daw graduated in agricultural sciences from Oxford, but became interested in archaeology because of the Iron Age site at All Cannings. As well as running his father's 220-acre arable farm, he started working at Stonehenge two years ago. His other business is in durable shoe laces. Tired of his shoe laces wearing out, he developed his own. They are so tough, he promises a refund if they don't outlast your boots.

 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Financial Controller

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is a busy and varied role w...

Maths Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teacher require...

KS1 Teacher

£21500 - £31500 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to work...

Java Developer - web services, XML and API

£330 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Lond...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style