An ancient form of burial is coming back from the dead thanks to the initiative of a Thurleigh-based company.
Sacred Stones has this week started work on the first barrow to be built in the county for more than 3,500 years.
The burial monument has been inspired by the Bronze Age round mounds close to Stonehenge.
Once complete, this new creation on a decidedly prehistoric-style theme will hold the ashes of hundreds of people looking for a meaningful final resting place.
The barrow will be built on the Bedfordshire border near Little Staughton,by farmer Richard Squire and his wife Cordelia.
Sacred Stones managing director Toby Angel is overseeing the work.
He said: “With an estimated 250,000 urns left uncollected in UK funeral parlours and crematoria, with still more sitting on mantelpieces or in wardrobes, we believe society is in need of a more inspiring resting place for a loved one’s ashes. By adapting the remarkable aesthetics of the ancient burial grounds to create a contemporary place of rest, the Sacred Stones’ barrow will capture the essence of what these monuments meant to our ancestors.”
Once complete the barrow will offer spaces for 345 niches for cremation urns – 295 designed for two urns, and a further 50 with space for up to five urns.
Capsules for single sets of ashes will also be available.
The monument will also offer a welcoming design for families wanting to visit the memorial all year round.
The cement-free build is set to take between 2,500 to 2,800 man hours to finish and will be worked on by Pinnacle award-winning stone masons. The circular chamber will be 11 metres wide and five metres high at its tallest.
It will be completed almost entirely by hand.
Sacred Stones say that the site is non denominational, and ‘full of faith,’ with the barrow designed for everyone.
The Squire family has worked the land where the barrow is being built, for more than 200 years.
“For our family, being custodians of such a unique monument is a wonderful opportunity to create something very special,” Richard Squire said.
“As guardians of the land we have a deep sense of continuity and look forward to the Barrow being here for many generations to come.”