Lincolns Legendary Imp, Lincolnshire
Lincoln Cathedral is one of the most majestic buildings in Britain: the third largest church in England; its tower finished in 1311 reputedly the tallest medieval spire in Europe. But on a far smaller scale the building contains the Lincoln Imp, an interior gargoyle about which several legends are spun, though the core of the story is constant.
It seems that the devil sent two imps to make trouble on earth, the little creatures blown hither and yon by the winds – their itinerary taking in Chesterfield where they bent the spire. When they were blown into Lincoln Cathedral they made terrible trouble: tripping a bishop; upsetting prayer books; threatening the choristers; and blowing out candles. But worse than all that they began to attack the angels in the angel choir, throwing stones at them and saying they would pluck their wings.
The angels could stand by no longer: one of the imps was chased into the roof of the building, and there turned to stone. But his companion escaped, some say with the help of a witch. The escape was brief: on the south wall outside this second imp can be found; or perhaps it got as far as Grimsby, where after a thrashing it was also turned to stone in St James’ Church, holding its suffering rear.
Lincoln has the imp on its crest; and Lincoln City FC are known as ‘the mighty imps’ by their faithful fans.
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