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Chesterfield Twisted Spire
Chesterfield, the second largest town in Derbyshire, England, is most famous for its twisted and crooked spire. The spire towers above the church of St Mary and All Saints in the centre of the town of Chesterfield and is a visible landmark from road and rail. Not only is this crooked spire twisted but it also leans more than nine feet out from its true centre.
Why is the tower twisted? - Legends
- One story tells that the spire was so amazed to learn that a virgin was marrying in the church that it tried to turn around to take a better look. It is further said that should such an event recur it will untwist for such an event would become the norm.
- Some say the Devil once sat on the top of the Spire to rest but he sneezed because of the smell of incense wafting up from below. As he tried to hold on he twisted his tail around to prevent falling and twisted the Spire at the same time..
- A magician persuaded a Bolsover blacksmith to shoe the devil. The blacksmith drove a nail into the devils foot causing him to run screaming away. As he passed the church he knocked the Spire out of alignment with his foot. It is said his footprint can still be seen on the Spire buttresses.
Why is the tower twisted? - Reality
In truth no-one really knows why the tower is twisted but it certainly wasn't deliberately built that way. There are several likely explanations though the real reason is likely to be a combination of these.
- Unseasoned green timber was used in the Spire construction.
- The weight of the lead used in the building.
- That many professional carpenters died in the 1349 Black Death leaving the construction completion to apprentices.
- Lack of cross braces within the Spire.
- The Twisted Spire rises some 228 feet.
- There are 144 steps leading up to the Spire.
- The Spire is clad with 32 tons of lead tiles.
A wet day in Chesterfield
Chesterfield - Is it worth a visit?
Chesterfield makes an ideal base for exploring the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. Bakewell and Matlock are both within easy reach and well worth a visit. Chesterfield town itself is unremarkable though it does have some cobbled streets, a lot of coffee shops and a few very old buildings. The market in the centre of the town is well worth a visit, selling a variety of goods, both new and second hand depending on the day of the week..
There is quite a lively night life especially at weekends and it will bring in people from as far away as Sheffield.
How to reach Chesterfield
Chesterfield can be reached from anywhere in the United Kingdom by rail and is just a short drive from Junction 29 on the M1.