A Barrow is defined as an “ancient burial place covered with a large mound of earth“. As stated by the Britannia Encyclopedia, Barrows were constructed in the Neolithic area of British history dating as far back as 4000BC. Often, these sites connotated the sacred burial ground of a family or clan, and “bodies were placed in stone or wooden vaults, over which large mounds of soil were heaped.”
Within the outskirts of Sunderland, there are many surviving examples of these barrows, the most famous being that next to Hasting Hill, as well as those in Warden Law, amongst others. However are you aware of the one which dwells adjacent to Thorney Close? Here in this article, we explore this ancient landmark which according to scholarly excavations, continues to be a resting ground for many ancient bodies.
The Thorney Close barrow is located immediately off the Bridle Path behind Tilbury Road. The barrow itself is smack bang in the middle of Hasting Hill farm, which has been built around it given its historical significance, and is thus clearly present as an island of trees within on a mound like shape.
If one ventures inside of the barrow, passing through the trees, you will quickly discover ancient rocks which have been in place for thousands of years. These rock formations are common place in such Barrows and can also be found on the top of Warden Law itself, either for defense purposes or as a stone circle for religious reasons.
Due to being surrounded by trees and in isolation, as well as its centre point being deep set, the Barrow is prone to seasonal flooding and exists as an impromptu pond.
Although there isn’t much more to see, the Thorney Close barrow is nonetheless a spooky and intriguing experience for people seeking small adventures, and it’s also worth reminding us of the history which lies on our doorstep. This is not some random assortment of trees in the field, this is an ancient monument.