It was brought to my attention by Dave, who reads my blog. He sent me some photos and messaged me, saying: "The Bexley Gnome Cult has been running most of this century. At the moment it's a bit bedraggled, but it's maintained regularly. It sometimes reminds me of Latin American voodoo altars Something for the psychogeographers?"
I hadn't heard about this before, so I asked for more details. This is what Dave replied:
"Firstly let me say that the Bexley Gnome Cult and the rival Crayford Church of Dagon are purely my embroidery on some actual observations of mine. Old Bexley is first mentioned in C8th Anglo-Saxon records. It lies on the edge of the London conurbation - if you turn right at my gate it leads to the 200-year-old cricket club and beyond that to rolling Kent countryside and the ancient Joydens Wood with its Neolithic flint mines and Saxon earth works and further still the remains of Cadwallon's City. Unlike most parts of London, about half of the people were born, grew up and often work in the area, the rest being deracinated incomers like myself. My other half thinks that Old Bexley is twinned with Twin Peaks.If you have spotted any modern folklore in your area, do send me a picture and any details you know.
"I first came across what I call the Gnome Sanctuary in 2003, not long after moving here. It comprises two trees by a footpath, with groups of gnomes, dolls, small statues at the foot, each surrounded by a small enclosure. Later an enclosure of the entire area was added. Windchimes and ornaments are hung from the trees and sometimes signs are added to the trees. Last year, what I think are Buddhist prayer flags were added. It is clearly maintained and altered from time to time. A couple of times, some mean spirited scrote has kicked everything over, but both times it was restored, with a message to the perpetrator attached to the tree.
"I've not idea who put them there. As a coordinator in the Bexley Stasi, I could probably make enquiries. Realistically, it's probably children from the nearby houses. I prefer theories about primordial cults. I make hints that I wouldn't go there after dark. Whatever it is, it's a work in progress."