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Chesterfield's crooked spire

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Chesterfield's crooked spire

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Chesterfield's crooked spire

The parish church of St. Mary’s and All Saints in Chesterfield may be the largest church in Derbyshire, and it may have several chapels, alabaster tombs and a full range of historic treasures, but the thing that most people recognise it for is its crooked spire. The spire wasn’t always crooked. It started life straight and stayed that way for several centuries, before developing its unique twist.

There are plenty of legends about how it came to be leaning nine-and-a-half feet to the south-west. Some say that a local blacksmith was asked to shoe the devil and was so nervous, he drove a nail into his foot. The devil flew off and kicked out at the spire as he passed by. In the second tale, the devil landed on the spire and sneezed violently when the smell of incense from the midnight mass reached his nose. And in the third, the spire turned around in amazement when a virgin was married in the church.

The most likely explanation, though, is the lack of skilled craftsmen during the Black Death in 1349, when the spire was being built, along with the use of green timber, a lack of cross-bracing and 32 tons of lead cladding.


Your comments

The Crooked Spire in Chesterfield is a testament to British Builders, who mean well but somehow manage to bodge the job and only in Britain could such a bodge job become a major tourist attraction. Like a slightly askew jewel in Chesterfield's crown, it sits at the top of our small market town and beckons visitors from all directions. Intriguing and welcoming, the Spire is a bit like Chesterfield folk really, who don't take themselves too seriously but have a warm, slightly crooked smile for all who visit the town.

Sally Quilford

You can see Chesterfield's crooked spire from miles around as it stands on the highest part of the town - a place where the original Roman fort was established. It's quite an amazing thing to behold - for those who haven't seen it , it really does twist in an incredible way and even from miles away you can tell there's something wonky going on - a bit like the town really. The name spire crops up all the time in Chesterfield and it has become the symbol of the town - there are countless businesses with the name spire in them - everything from Spire Plumbing to Spire Electrics and not forgettting the most entertaining football team in the land - Chesterfield FC - come on you Spireites!!!
Richard Moss

It is the most famous crooked spire in the world and can be seen for miles on the approach to Chesterfield from the M1
Harry Buxton

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry