Modern burial chamber near Wem to host winter solstice events

Tim Ashton in the Long Barrow

The Soulton Long Barrow near Wem is a modern take on an ancient burial chamber, in which families can remember loved ones and celebrate services in a space used as the final resting place for cremated remains.

As large as two double-decker buses and comfortably accommodating 80 people, it is believed to be one of the largest stone corbelled structures built in modern times.

And now the owners of Soulton Hall, on the grounds of which the Long Barrow was created, are looking for sympathetic ways to bring the arts into the underground building.

The stained glass
Tim Ashton at Long Barrow

To mark the winter solstice, the Shropshire-based Jarualda String Quartet will play the first part of a concert in the Long Barrow on Wednesday December 1 before they and the audience enter the hall itself. .

Tim Ashton of Soulton Hall said, weather permitting, the concert would begin with the sunset through the stained glass window of the Long Barrow.

“The tickets will initially be offered to families with the remains of their loved ones here before they are released to the community at large,” he said.

“We are very aware of the importance of the tumulus for these families and we are looking for how we can also use this space to support the arts.

“It will be done in a very thoughtful way.”

Tim Ashton at Long Barrow

The structure was completed last year in time for the 2020 winter solstice and celebrated in a modest way.

Earlier, as the lockdown hit the arts, the Ashton family were looking for ways to help support the industry.

Over the summer, successful outdoor productions took place in the grounds of Soulton Hall, in a specially constructed amphitheater.

Then, in October, the living history and archeology group Thegns of Mercia Shropshire, Beowulf at the Barrow presented the Anglo-Saxon epic poem by the fabulous living history / reconstructive archeology group Thegns of Mercia.

“It was an incredibly atmospheric performance,” said Tim.

“We have decided to bring the arts to Soulton as a way to help those who really struggled during the lockdown. It has been really successful and we want to continue. It also means that we have a place in Shropshire for that to happen. people can see and hear and enjoy the productions and performances locally instead of having to travel and spend a lot of money. “

“This is the interest Beowulf sold in five hours.”

More details on the string quartet concert will be posted shortly on the Soulton Hall website and Facebook page.

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