Exceptional discovery in England: an archaeological relic found under a toilet hatch

Lincoln, an English city steeped in history, recently found itself in the spotlight following a surprising discovery by a local couple. A couple, while cleaning their bathroom, revealed a wooden panel concealing a sculpture of Lincoln Imp, a mythological figure carved in stone that has deep roots in regional folklore. VS

The remains, potentially from an ancient drainage system from the 14th century, open a new chapter on the medieval architecture and popular beliefs of the time, while highlighting the cultural importance of this symbol to the community of Lincoln.

A mythological past revealed to Lincoln

Tracy and Rory Vorster, a couple living in historic Vicar’s Court, right next to the majestic Lincoln Cathedral, England, experienced an unexpected moment that transformed a household routine into an archaeological discovery. Indeed, while they were busy cleaning their bathroom, a simple act of removing a wooden panel revealed much more than just pipes or an ordinary wall structure.

Beneath this panel was a heavy slab of stone decorated with detailed and mysterious carving. It was an effigy of Lincoln’s Imp. It wasn’t just an artistic find. It was a piece of local history, embedded within the walls of their own home.

Lincoln Imp, according to folk tales, is an iconic figure in the city. It is often associated with stories of mischief. According to legend, this Imp, accompanied by another of its kind, was sent by Satan himself. Their goal ? Sow discord and chaos in Lincoln Cathedral, a place steeped in spirituality and history.

The two Imps are said to have caused havoc, smashing stained glass windows and disrupting the clergy, until an angel, emerging from a hymn book, intervened. With divine power, the angel would have petrified one of the Imps. He turned him into stone as an everlasting warning against such mischief.

While the other would have escaped this fate and would continue to haunt the place. The discovery of this sculpture among the Vorsters not only confirms the depth of the roots of this legend in Lincoln culture. But it also offers a tangible perspective on how these myths and legends were represented and integrated into daily life in past eras.

A sophisticated medieval drainage system

Experts from the Lincoln Civic Trust provided essential technical insight into the stone slab discovered by the Vorsters. They suggest that it was an integral part of an elaborate drainage system dating back to the late 14th century. This specific piece could have been used as a decorative element covering a drain or even as a functional component of a primitive urinal.

The opening present in the mouth of the Imp indicates a conduit through which sewage or rainwater passed. This illustrates a design that is both practical and aesthetic. This functional and decorative duality reflects the skill and ingenuity of Lincoln’s medieval builders. They integrated artistic elements into utilitarian infrastructures.

Tracy and Rory Vorster. © Local Democracy Reporting Service

This discovery demonstrates the notable technical advances in Lincoln during the medieval period. The craftsmen had an advanced understanding of hydraulic engineering. At that time, the development of sophisticated drainage systems was crucial. On the one hand, it was necessary to support public health efforts. But on the other hand, it seemed obvious to have effective water management in a growing city.

The fact that such systems were adorned with detailed carvings like that of Lincoln’s Imp suggests that people of that era valued aesthetics over functionality. These construction practices thus created an urban environment that was both practical and visually enriching.

A local symbol rediscovered

As previously mentioned, the Lincoln Imp is an iconic figure deeply rooted in the city’s cultural heritage. Its traditional representation, with cow ears and horns, makes it an immediately recognizable figure for residents and visitors alike.

This capricious creature, from medieval English folklore, symbolizes the mischievous and sometimes subversive nature of mythological beings. The rediscovery of its representation in a context as domestic as that of a bathroom also illustrates how elements of folklore can transcend the ages to become enduring symbols of a community’s cultural identity.

The couple told the BBC that the discovery is an example of why Lincoln is ” amazing “, adding that they are ” proud » of the history of their house. The Vorsters’ house is in the Vicar’s Courtyard. It is a building founded by the college of priests in the 13th century in the cathedral courtyard, just south of the cathedral. Part of it was demolished during the English Civil War. But among the remains today is a select group of rental houses belonging to Lincoln Cathedral.

By bringing the Lincoln Imp back to life, the local community is reconnected to its history. This thus reinforces its attachment to a heritage which visibly shapes the unique character of the city. Today, the Lincoln Imp is the city’s mascot. The town’s football team is nicknamed “The Imps” and features the Imp on its logo. Copies of the imp can be found all over the city and have even reached Oxford University. A reproduction of the imp is located on the wall of the Front Quad at Lincoln College.

Source: BBC