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Lincoln Imp

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The Lincoln Imp in the Angel Choir is only one of the grotesque figures carved in the stones of Lincoln Cathedral.

He is situated on the south side of the most north-easterly pillar of the Angel Choir.  In Medieval iconography he represents the evil side of all of us. He is about 18 inches high and weighs 10kg.

The legend is that a small devil entered the Cathedral out of curiosity and plagued the Angels.  To prevent further mischief they turned him to stone. If you prefer, as a very old legend has it, one day the devil sent his imps out to play, and the wind blew two of them all the way to Lincoln. At first they were so awestruck by the splendour of the Minster that they were afraid to enter. But soon one imp took courage, flew into the Cathedral where he tried to trip up the Lord Bishop, and to knock down the Dean and teased the Vergers and Choir. When he started to break windows the Angels told him to stop his wicked doings; he cheekily replied “Stop me if you can!” Whereupon he was at once turned to stone and made to sit evermore in a cleft in the Angel Choir.

The little figure became popular in the nineteenth century when the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, was presented with a cravat pin on the occasion of a visit to Lincoln, made by James Usher, the Lincoln jeweller.  Mr Usher had used the Imp as a design for the pin.  According to the story, shortly afterwards the Prince won at the races, and he jokingly attributed his success to the mascot on his pin.  The Imp then became a popular mascot.

Lincoln City Football Club are known as the Red Imps. The Imp is something of a symbol for Lincoln

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