The truth behind Grimsby’s very own legendary imp

Most of us will be familiar with the legend of the Lincoln Goblin, who went to the cathedral to wreak havoc and was turned to stone.

The goblin motif has become a symbol of the city, but what many people don’t know is that two goblins were involved in the story and the second avoided punishment.

A variation on the story, as told by team vicar Katherine Farrell, suggests the second goblin may have come to Grimsby, and a peculiar carving in the minster hints at his fate.

Grimsby Live went to the minster to hear the story and find out the truth behind our town’s own goblin.

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The Grimsby goblin in all its glory, you can find it in the minster if you are careful

The well-known legend probably dates from the 13th or 14th century and tells how two goblins were sent to earth by Satan to cause as much disaster and chaos as possible.

When they got to the north of England, they went to work with joy and malice, causing chaos and mischief everywhere.

They settled on the tower of St Mary’s Church in Chesterfield and viciously twisted it out of shape, and the results of their calamities can still be seen today.

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The goblins were not satisfied and went on a rampage of mayhem when they soon reached Lincoln Cathedral, where they set out to cause as much devils as possible.

They broke chairs and tables and destroyed everything in sight and are even said to have tripped the bishop.

They caused so much damage that an angel was sent to look after the goblins and put things right.

Legend has it that the angel came out of a hymn book and told the goblins to stop. One of the goblins, frightened by the angel, obeyed and hid under a broken table, while the other brave goblin threw stones and insults at the angel.

The angel immediately turned him to stone, the other goblin who had obeyed the angel was spared the same fate as his friend and received a warning instead.

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A variation on the legend can be found in Grimsby and tells how the second goblin who escaped petrification by the angel in Lincoln Cathedral found his way into the city.

The goblin wreaked havoc in Grimsby and went to the parish church of St. James, as it did then, to cause more damage and calamity.

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The angel who had been lenient at Lincoln was sent to deal with the goblin, and when he saw it was the same one he had spared earlier, this time gave him a slap on the back and then transformed him in stone.

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The figure of the goblin is on top of a column that carries the bell tower directly in the main entrance of the minister on the left.

Reverend Farrell has a more logical and historical explanation for the figure, suggesting that one of the artisans who built the minster carved the figure of a man bowing over the support of the church.

Grimsby Live leaves it up to the readers to choose this particular story!

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