Mr Corden, can we have our dolmen back, please?

HOPES of bringing a neolithic monument back to the Island have taken an unexpected showbiz twist after it emerged that it is currently sitting in TV presenter and actor James Corden’s back garden.

And Assistant Economic Development Minister Kirsten Morel, who has political responsibility for culture, may have to consider writing to the star asking if the stones can be repatriated to Jersey.

The actor and TV presenter acquired the Mont de la Ville dolmen when he purchased Templecombe House in Berkshire last December.

Mr Corden and his wife, Julia, paid £8.5million for the property near Henley-on-Thames, in the process becoming owners of a 43-acre estate that includes the dolmen. The monument was presented in 1788 to Henry Seymour Conway, the Island’s governor responsible for erecting many of the round towers that protected Jersey from French invasion.

Field Marshal Conway, as he later became, had the dolmen, which had been unearthed in the eighteenth century at the St Helier site where Fort Regent was later built, transported to the Park Place estate, where it was re-erected and remains to this day.

Deputy Morel said that he would like to ‘continue to look into the project’ of rehousing the dolmen in Jersey. He told the JEP last month that there was ‘a long way to go’ before the request might become reality, especially as the structure has Grade-II-listed status.

And given the listed status of the dolmen, it is likely that planning permission for any removal would have to be given by the relevant local authority – in this case Wokingham Borough Council.

Council Leader John Halsall said that no planning application had been made.

‘It’s not for us to make an application, or guide those who might wish to apply, but if planning permission is sought then we would judge the case on its merits,’ he said.

Estate agents Knight Frank and Savills jointly handled the sale of Templecombe House, describing it in a brochure as offering ‘parkland splendour with unique dwelling and great potential’ in a ‘very special setting’ with ‘complete privacy’.

The main house, which is described as c-shaped with an internal floor space of about 3,000 sq ft, was built in 1965 by an unknown architect said to have been inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. The property also has a two-bedroom gate lodge, a summerhouse, staff lodgings and a tennis court.

The Henley Standard quoted a spokesman for the Cordens as saying the couple knew nothing of the proposal and hadn’t heard from the Jersey authorities, so did not wish to comment.

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