The Curious Tradition of Lucky Chimney Sweeps

Chimney sweeps are thought to be bearers of luck, particularly for weddings and newlyweds. But why? With Valentine’s Day a heartbeat away, it seems fitting to explore this some more.

We’ve mentioned the notion of the good luck chimney sweep once before.  Notably, chimney sweeps are thought to be bearers of luck for weddings and newlyweds.  But why?  That’s an interesting question to ask, namely because the answer varies.  Several legends serve to explain why sweeps are so good to have around on your wedding day, and with Valentine’s Day a heartbeat away it seems fitting to explore this some more.

King George and the Dog

The legend we’ve shared previously dates back to the 1700s, surrounding King George II.  According to this, the King was riding his horse in a procession when a growling dog appeared before him, scaring the King’s horse.  Upon losing control of the frightened horse’s halter, the King was aided by a chimney sweep, who calmed the horse and saved the King from falling.  As a gesture of thanks, King George II henceforth declared chimney sweeps to be lucky, and the tradition carried throughout Europe.

King William and his Carriage

Even earlier than the previous legend, King William of Britain in 1066 is said to have been rescued by a chimney sweep who pushed him out of the path of a runaway carriage.  Believing that the sweep brought him luck and wanting to express gratitude, King William invited the sweep to his daughter’s wedding.  Not only this, but King William also declared chimney sweeps to be lucky and therefore permitted the workers to wear top hats, usually reserved only for the distinguished.  From then on the presence of a chimney sweep at a wedding has been a sign of good luck, and his/her visit may also cancel out bad luck.

The Falling Chimney Sweep

For our final legend, no date exists, however it is an amusing tale.  Once upon a time, it is said that a seemingly unfortunate chimney sweep slipped while working and fell from a rooftop.  The man was spared, however, upon getting stuck on the gutter, when a young woman saw him from inside her window and pulled the sweep inside to safety.  Though she had been engaged to someone else, the woman instantly fell in love with the chimney sweep. The man was equally enamored — you could say the young lady “swept him off his feet”.  The two eventually married very happily.


Regardless of the story you choose to believe, each comes with the notions that not only should chimney sweeps come to your wedding, but simply seeing one, shaking his hand or receiving a kiss from him on your wedding day will bring luck to your new marriage.  Inviting chimney sweeps to weddings in places like Great Britain or Germany is still popular today, and some sweeps welcome invitations by renting themselves out as wedding guests.  Still more, several chimney sweeps will announce their arrival at the reception, sometimes entering to music!  What do you think?  Are chimney sweeps really lucky?

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