Three limestone monoliths mark a path to Shropshire's first long barrow in 5,000 years
Three limestone monoliths were todaydue to be erected to mark the path to Shropshire's first burial mound in 5,000 years.
They were being laid in the grounds of Soulton Hall, Wem, as part of a wider scheme to create the long barrow next year.
The impressive limestone features, each weighing a couple of tonnes, stand approximately 12 feet high and six feet wide, and are the first step in the building of the Soulton Long Barrow by Sacred Stones Ltd and the Ashton family.
The Soulton Long Barrow was granted planning permission earlier this month and will be made entirely by hand using natural limestone, lime mortar and traditional techniques.
Inspired by those built by our prehistoric ancestors, it will house cremation ashes and will provide a much-needed alternative venue for funerals and commemorative experiences.
It is hoped the barrow will act as a focal point for community to celebrate life, free from the constraints imposed by municipal alternatives. The long barrow will also provide a unique backdrop for educational and creative events.
Managing director of Sacred Stones, Toby Angel, said: "These beautiful standing stones are a precursor to what will be an historic build; the first long barrow in the region for 5,000 years. As well as marking the path to the barrow, these monoliths are our statement of intent and commitment to creating a natural, secular barrow in a rural setting where families can come with no time limitations and celebrate life.
"We established the company in response to our own experience of crematoriums and the frustration of spending longer in the car park than at the service. When we saw the public's reaction to the Wiltshire barrow and their engagement with the structure there, it encouraged us to form Sacred Stones. In death, as in life, choice is hugely important and grief needs time without constraint. We know, through testimony, this is what a barrow provides and we are honoured that a few local people have already reserved a space for their ashes here."
Tim Ashton, of Soulton Hall, added: "This is a special day for my family, and the community we serve. It's hugely exciting to be one of the first farmers to build a long barrow in modern times.
"My family have been stewards of this land for a long time; our passionate connection with Soulton is shared by the many people who live and work around us, and by the many that visit each year.
"By committing to the barrow, we amplify the honour it is to engage with the land, and I passionately believe this important structure will serve the community for generations to come."