‘Mont de la Ville’ (The Town Mount) is the name of a neolithic dolmen which originally stood on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands but was moved to the south of England in 1788. This is its remarkable history.
A riverside town
Henley-on-Thames is a picturesque town to the west of London. Standing on the River Thames midway between Oxford and Windsor, it is very popular with tourists and as a home for singers, actors and other celebrities. Local residents in and around Henley have included George Harrison, Dusty Springfield, Uri Geller and George Clooney. Though not so famous, I was also fortunate to live in Henley for almost 30 years.
On a hill above the town stands Park Place, a mansion and large estate now owned by a Russian oligarch. Part of the estate was sold off in 1947 and became first a private school for girls and was later replaced by a modernistic 1960’s home, known as Templecombe House. The building is now derelict and the house and 43 acres (17 hectares) of land have been purchased by British TV celebrity James Corden for a reported £8.5 million. He intends to demolish and replace the house but plans to preserve one of the most interesting features on the estate – a neolithic dolmen which originally stood on Jersey in the Channel Islands.
From Jersey to Henley
The dolmen was unearthed in Jersey in the late 18th century by workmen building a fort. The Governor of Jersey at that time was Field Marshall Henry Seymour Conway, who also owned the Park Place estate. He was responsible for erecting a series of defences on Jersey to prevent a French invasion of the island. In gratitude, the island presented him with the dolmen and in 1788 the stones were shipped to England by barge and re-erected on his estate.
As it stands on private ground the dolmen cannot be visited. It is described as a covered passage leading into a circular unroofed chamber. Around the circumference are a number of cists, each with a capstone. There are no records of any finds at the original site.
More photographs, together with an interesting comment from archaeologist Dr Glyn Daniel, can be found at https://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=20277