An undertaker family has branched out and built a modern version of a prehistoric grave to meet the demand for an alternative to burial.
The Round Barrow in Corscombe, Dorset, is only the fifth tomb of its kind in the country and was recently opened.
The project with 990 niches for urns with the ashes of loved ones was launched by the Vassie family.
The Round Barrow in Corscombe, Dorset (pictured) is only the fifth tomb of its kind in the country and was recently opened by the Vassie family
They invested a six-figure sum and five years in creating the traditional neolithic style burial mound.
The ancient mounds that were built over the dead, known as long or round wheelbarrows, have been in use since about 2,000 BC. Chr. No longer used.
However, its popularity has increased since farmer Tim Daw created the first on British soil in 5,500 years in 2014.
The Round Barrow was built entirely from 900 tons of Purbeck stone and has 11 passages and chambers around a central chamber.
The hill with 990 niches for urns with the ashes of loved ones was built entirely from 900 tons of Purbeck stone
Most of its 990 niches have two or three urns, and 105 larger families have six or nine urns made by two Dorset potters.
Jo and Peter Vassie have operated natural burial sites on Higher Ground Meadow for 11 years, and son Tom joined them in 2013.
They performed nearly 600 full burials there, and hundreds of people have reserved their property for the future.
On the outside, the structure is covered with earth and over time wildflowers will grow everywhere so only the entrance is visible.
It has 11 passages and chambers around a central chamber. It will be covered with earth and in time wildflowers will grow everywhere so only the entrance will be visible
When Jo heard about Tim Daw's long wheelbarrow, she knew she wanted to create her own.
They scribbled some ideas on paper until they came up with a plan that worked.
The main goal was to have a fairly large cart that could fit more niches so that families could stay in them permanently.
Ms. Vassie, 71, said, "When I saw the first one built, the Langbarrow in All Cannings, I thought, 'oh, I want one".
The Vassie family invested a six-figure sum and five years in creating the traditional Neolithic style burial mound
“I was sold before I even saw it, but we went to see it and thought we'd like to try and build our own.
She added that it should be "another option" for families, as "nationwide, about 70 percent of the population is likely to go to cremation rather than burial".
She said that once the cremation took place, people could hold a ceremony on site and "then the ashes will be put in the cart".
Ms. Vassie added, “What you notice when you go inside is the complete silence, it is very peaceful.
“We have families waiting, but the problem right now is that Covid means they can't come together to put urns in the cart.
Most of its 990 niches have two or three urns, and 105 larger families have six or nine urns made by two Dorset potters
“Once the landscape has time to settle, it will look like it has been there for centuries.
"It will be a legacy for the future – in thousands of years it will be an ancient monument, just like the ancient ones we cherish now."
The first ashes were buried in the Round Barrow on September 10th.
Prices start at £ 1,995 for a pass-through niche and go up to £ 6,335 for a family niche with nine urns.
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