Crooked Spire Chesterfield
...characterising a whole town
Chesterfield's famous `Crooked Spire' is said to be Derbyshire's most well known visible landmark.
The spire rises to a height of 70m (228'). It is both twisted and leaning, twisting 45 degrees and leaning 2.89m (9'6") from its true centre. The leaning characteristic is believed to be the result of the absence of skilled craftsmen (the Black Death had been gone only twelve years prior to the spire's completion), insufficient cross-bracing, and the use of unseasoned timber.
There have been other explanations: one is that the spire was so shocked to learn of the marriage of a virgin in the church that it bent down to get a closer look. Should that happen again, it is said that the spire will straighten and return to its true position. Another is that a Bolsover blacksmith mis-shod the Devil, who leaped over the spire in pain, knocking it out of shape.
However it is now believed that the bend began when the original wooden roof tiles were replaced by heavier slate and lead. The bend in the spire (the twist being deliberate) follows the direction of the sun and has been caused by heat expansion and a weight it was never designed for. There is also no record of a bend until after the slate change. An interesting point is that the spire is not attached to the church building but is kept on by its own weight.
The local football team is known as The Spireites.
There are church Open Days each Bank Holiday Monday with guided tours up the Tower throughout the day. Tours are available at other times and by prior arrangement with the Parish Office. Tower trips are also conducted by the verger on most Saturdays.
Check the church website for further details.
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015