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Colonial Garden Urn, Williamsburg Virginia USA. Photo: Shutterstock

Earlier this summer, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of a landowner who sold two 18th century urns without realising they were, in their own right, classed as listed buildings (and so subject to the protections of the listed buildings regime).

The urns in question were originally commissioned for Wrest Park in Bedfordshire. They were moved a number of times, ending up in the ownership of Major Dill, and located in Idlicote House. In 1966 Idlicote House was designated as a Grade II listed building, and in 1986 the urns were themselves designated as listed buildings. There is no record that the owner was ever notified.

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