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S T.    M A R Y S  &  A L L   S A I N T S

Here are my photographs of the parish church of St Marys' & All Saints in Chesterfield. This is the largest church in Derbyshire but is most famous for its 'crooked' spire. The spire itself although it has a spiral twist, it is concidered part of the design and not a fault as most people think, the actual problem is the lean which is measured every year in April to check how far it leans (it has progressively got worse each year except in 2008 when it actually straightened up). The spire actually just sits on top of the tower with no visable fixings, meaning that the spire is freestanding and only held in place by sheer weight
The reason for the lean is said to be down to a few facts, firstly is said to be down to the unseasoned (green) wood used and lack of skilled craftsmen due to the black death (plague) and also down to the  lack of cross bracing. Unseasoned wood was commonly used in large stuctures though because it is easier to bend into shape and is easier to cut and less wearing on the tools of the day. Many recent restorations have still used green wood in constuction (Windsor Castle & York Minster etc...) There are no records of the spire leaning until after the lead waterproofing was added which added a lot of weight, so this will also be part of the reason for the lean. There are other stories of why the spire is 'crooked' but they are just fancy tales, two that blame the Devil and one (my personal favourite) that the spire was so amazed to hear that a virgin was getting married in the church that it bent over and twisted to see for itself and now it can't straighten up until another virgin is married in the church
The pictures were taken on the 10th of February 2009

I would give this location 5 stars in friendliness towards photographers, everyone was welcoming and they allow you to take photos everywhere without a permit. We actually paid 3.50 each (February 2009) for the tower tour which is well worth the money and Paul who took us on the tour was very knowledgable, funny and friendly, this and the tea rooms across the churchyard are well worth a visit.

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All photographs are Copyright of John Webster at Decadence.me.uk do not copy or use without permission (contact)