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The Legend of the Lincoln Imp

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One day, according to a very old legend, 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 Cathedral that they were afraid to enter.  But soon, one imp plucked up 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 into stone, and made to sit for evermore in a cleft in the Angel Choir.

The Lincoln Imp is the best known of all the grotesque carved figures in the Cathedral.  Its half human, half animal form was probably meant to represent the devil – a popular theme for sculptors of the thirteenth century.  The stone figure of the Imp is about 12 inches high, and sits cross-legged high up between two arches on the north side of the Choir.

This booklet includes the oldest written version of the Legend of the Lincoln Imp, first published in 1904.  It includes illustrations and photographs of the Imp as he appears in the Cathedral.

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