Chesterfields famous Crooked Spire - Mike Cummins 2009

The Parish Church of St Mary and All Saints in Chesterfield

...the world famous Crooked Spire

Chesterfield’s best-known attraction is the crooked spire of its parish church – a striking landmark whether glimpsed from a passing train, or towering lop-sidedly above the shopping streets and marketplace.

Common folklore provides numerous explanations as to why the spire is twisted.

One is that the spire was so shocked to learn of the marriage of a virgin in the church that it bent over to get a closer look. It is said that the spire will straighten and return to its true position should this happen again.

Another myth is that a Bolsover blacksmith mis-shoed the Devil, who leaped over the spire in pain, knocking it out of shape. 

Despite all the legends, and there are many more, the twist (45 degrees) and lean (9ft 6in from centre) are due to the absence of skilled craftsmen in Chesterfield, and the spire’s framework of unseasoned timber – and its covering of lead tiles weighing 32 tons. 

It is possible to climb up the tower to its base on designated open days.

The church - Derbyshire's largest - is well worth a visit; interior features include a 9th century stone font, a 400-year-old poor box, the Foljambe family tombs, a Jacobean pulpit of black bog oak, and a parclose screen featuring a number of rare blocked ‘elevation squints’ (peep-holes which allowed children or those kneeling to see the uplifted host during mass).

Contact details:


The Reverend Canon Michael Knight - 01246 232937


Mr John Hague
Mr John Gascoyne

Contact through Parish Office -  01246 206506


Mr Paul Wilson - 01246 206506

Assistant Verger:

Mr Paul Bates - 01246 270440

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015