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Farmer builds own burial chamber

A Devon farmer has realised his dream by building a Bronze Age burial chamber on his land. He transported four huge pieces of granite from Dartmoor to his estate near Ivybridge to carry out the construction. It is thought to be the first time in 2,000 years that a cromlech - defined as a prehistoric monument made of stones and thought to be a burial tomb - has been built in the UK. Gavin Dollard has been planning the cromlech for four years.

Mr Dollard, 52, who wants to be laid to rest in the chamber, had hoped to have the edifice constructed in time for the Millennium celebrations. However, work was only completed on Tuesday when a huge crane lowered a 14-tonne piece of granite on to three 10-tonne standing stones which had already been erected to create the chamber.

Mr Dollard's family have farmed on Dartmoor for centuries. But in recent years he has diversified and turned part of his estate at Delamore in Cornwood into an open-air art gallery. He sees the cromlech as another piece of sculpture for his collection. But he admits that, when he dies, it will serve its more traditional purpose as a burial site.

He said: "The idea for this came to us in 1999, but it was impossible to get four stones that size safely off the moor in such a short period of time. But what's a year here or there when we are taking about 2,000 years?"
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
1st May 2003ce
Edited 2nd May 2003ce

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