Chester Imp – Chester, England - Atlas Obscura
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Chester, England

Chester Imp

A mysterious demonic figure peers down from its perch within the gorgeous Chester Cathedral. 

High up on the left side of the nave of Chester Cathedral is a mysterious carving of a diabolical figure bound in chains. From where it lies nestled in its niche, it gazes blankly over anyone who enters the centuries-old cathedral. 

The demonic figure’s origin, age, and even purpose are unknown. A local legend holds that a monk or priest, while walking through the cathedral during its construction in the Middle Ages, was terrified to see the Devil himself gazing in at him through one of the great windows. The clergy responded by having an image of Satan wrapped with chains carved next to the window to frighten him off or show him what would happen should he return. 

Though overlooked by most visitors, the Imp inspired Scottish artist Eoghan Bridge to create the Chester Imp Trail, a scavenger hunt of about 25 imps—some modeled after the figure in the cathedral, some of his own design—hidden around the buildings of Chester. Until 2014, visitors could get maps of the trail from the Chester Glass shop.

The shop has since closed, however, and no more maps are to be had. One local has created a Facebook and Twitter for the “Lost Chester Imp Trail,” dedicated to tracking down every hidden imp in the city.