Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
"vehicle for carrying a load," c.1300, barewe, probably from an unrecorded Old English *bearwe "basket, barrow," from beran "to bear, to carry" (see bear (v.)). The original had no wheel and required two persons to carry it.
"mound," Old English beorg (West Saxon), berg (Anglian) "barrow, mountain, hill, mound," from Proto-Germanic *bergaz (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German berg "mountain," Old North bjarg "rock"), from PIE root *bheregh- "high, elevated" (cf. Old Church Slavonic bregu "mountain, height," Old Irish brigh "mountain," Sanskrit b'rhant "high," Old Persian bard- "be high"). Obsolete except in place-names and southwest England dialect by 1400; revived by modern archaeology.
In place-names used of small continuously curving hills, smaller than a dun, with the summit typically occupied by a single farmstead or by a village church with the village beside the hill, and also of burial mounds. [Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names]Meaning "mound erected over a grave" was a specific sense in late Old English. Barrow-wight first recorded 1869 in Eirikr Magnusson and William Morris's translation of the Icelandic saga of Grettir the Strong.
in England, ancient burial place covered with a large mound of earth. In Scotland, Ireland, and Wales the equivalent term is cairn. Barrows were constructed in England from Neolithic (c. 4000 BC) until late pre-Christian (c. AD 600) times. Barrows of the Neolithic Period were long and contained the various members of a family or clan, while those of the Early Bronze Age (c. 1900 BC) were round in shape and were used to bury a single important individual, perhaps a chief or clan leader. The bodies were placed in stone or wooden vaults, over which large mounds of soil were heaped. Both types of barrows continued to be used in England until the advent of Christianity. Their sites are most common in the county of Wiltshire.