We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion


Publication details for Ms Jennifer Susan Uzzell

Uzzell, Jennifer (2018). ‘And Raise Me Up a Golden Barrow’ Narratives of Ancestry and Continuity in Contemporary British Druidry and Beyond. Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religion (JBASR) 20: 67-82.

Author(s) from Durham


The stories we tell ourselves about our beginnings are a vital part of our sense of identity and belonging. For Druids living in the UK those stories tend to be deeply rooted in a sense of connectedness with the landscape and with the ‘Ancestors’, usually situated in an imagined and often idealized pre-Christian past. Since the time of William Stukeley, himself associated with the Druid Revival of the Eighteenth Century; the Druids have been associated in the popular romantic imagination with the ancient burial mounds that proliferate in the landscape. The fact that this association is not historically correct has done little to weaken its power.
This paper will focus on the construction, in recent years, of a number of barrows, mimicking the Neolithic monuments, and designed to take human cremated remains in niches built into the construction. The fact that this initiative has proved hugely popular with Druids, but also with many others testifies to the power that the barrows hold over the imagination. Why is this? What stories are being told about the barrows, and do those stories have to say about connections to ‘deep time’, to the land, to each other, to community and to the future.