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The Lincoln Imp

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posted on Jan, 14 2004 @ 09:36 PM
Some of the recent threads about the devil made me remember the story of the Lincoln Imp.
About 5 years ago I worked in Lincoln for a while and visited the Cathedral. It is there that the imp sits near the roof with his legs crossed and an 'impish' grin on his face.

The legend goes like this :

Back in the 14th Century Satan sent his two little Imps out one day to do his evil work. First they went to Chesterfield where they sat on a church spire and began twisting, which is how Chesterfield's Crooked Spire came to be crooked.

After vandalising Chesterfield's spire the two little Imps headed east to Lincoln Cathedral. Upon their arrival they did as Satan had instructed them, causing as much mayhem as possible. They began by tripping up the Bishop and then went on to smash all the tables and chairs. It was whilst they were in the process of destroying the Angel Choir that an angel appeared and told them to stop at once. One of the Imps was braver than the other so he flew to sit on a stone pillar and began to throw heavy objects at the Angel. His punishment for his bad behaviour and defiance was to be immediately turned to stone by the Angel leaving the little imp sitting on the pillar forever.

Whilst this was happening the other imp was hiding amongst the broken tables hoping that the Angel would not see him and do the same to him. During the confusion the second imp seized his chance to escape from the cathedral and hitched a lift on a passing witch's broomstick (honest !). Unfortunately he was not as safe as he thought and in exchange for his safe passage from the cathedral the lonely witch turned him into a black cat for companionship. That is why all witches are portrayed with a black cat on their broomstick.

Since the Lincoln Imp is associated with the Devil many people believe that the Imp is bad luck. That though is untrue and is proved by the Imp's royal connections as in 1928 the then Prince Of Wales, later King Edward VIII was presented with a Lincoln Imp tie pin. The following year his gelding won The Grand National whilst his colt won The Epsom Derby.

The Lincoln Imp

A cartoon postcard depicting the legend of the Lincoln Imp

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