Goofyness aside, I thought it was a good hook on which to hang the story of the garden gnome. Thee little blighters have their origins in Celtic, Scandinavian and Germanic mythology, and the first record of gnomes being made as ornaments comes from the Black Forests of Germany. Gnomes were male - there were originally no females, and their appearance with beard, jacket and pointy-hat is also directly descended from their Norse origins.
|© The "Gnome Rockery" at Lamport Hall by Chris Eaton
|The one and only Lampy - worth a million quid!
And what of the gnomes? Apparently Isham’s daughter Vere hated them and had the rockery and its inhabitants covered with soil. The subsequent restoration of the rockery, which reaches 7 m tall and looks a bit like a ruined castle, unearthed one sole survivor of Britain’s first immigrant gnomes. This rarity, known as ‘Lampy’ is on show int he house and insured for a million pounds!
And one last piece of gnome tomfoolery. Remember a few years back, the gnome became a political animal when it was revealed that the-then Prime Minister John Major's family had a gnome manufacturing business.