Thursday, 23 July 2009

Sky Watch

Chesterfield's Crooked Spire
The famous "Crooked Spire" in Chesterfield, which belongs to St Marys and All Saints Parish Church but everyone just refers to it as the Crooked Spire. The church may be the largest church in Derbyshire, and it may house several chapels and beautiful alabaster tombs. In fact it as a range of historic treasures to see and enjoy. It might have all that but the thing that as folks coming to see and marvel at is it's crooked spire.
The spire wasn’t always crooked. It started life straight and stayed that way for several centuries, before it started to twist this way. There's a few stories or more like local legends as to why it came to lean over 9.5ft to the south-west. One legend is the local blacksmith was asked to shoe the devil and because he was scared and nervous he drove a nail into the devils foot. At this the devil flew off in a rage and kicked out at the spire as he passed by.
Another story is told that the devil landed on the spire and sneezed violently when the smell of incense from the midnight mass reached his nose. The one that I like the best, and the one that is most unpopular in Chesterfield is that the spire inself turned around in utter amazement when a virgin was married in the church. ha!... no wonder the locals do not like that.
The most likely explanation though is a lack of skilled craftsmen caused by the Black Death in 1349, when the spire was being built. It is thought that unseasoned green timber, was used in parts, there seems to have been a lack of sturdy cross-bracing and of course the Church spire is topped off with over 32 tons of lead cladding.
This is my contribution for this weeks Sky Watch Friday to see more follow this links. :O)
Pictures taken by 'Big Pete'.. cheers mate.


RuneE said...

Tom - that must be the most interesting post today! Both story and pictures were absorbing. I liked that one about the virgin...

PS All is well with Imac and Julie, and they send their best.

Tom said...

Thanks Rune....
Please look after Imac and Julie... I have yet to met up with them.. but we speak on the phone and exchange much banter... I'm sure you will enjoy their company.


Anonymous said...

Great shots! Beautiful spire and such interesting history.

bowledover said...

Thanks for the write up to your great shots of the crooked spire. I had a chuckle at your rendering.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Spectacular post, Tom! Love all the tales...especially about driving a nail through the devil's foot...but I suppose the truth is the one about unskilled workmen using green timber. ;-)

Erin said...

whatever the cause of its current is quite unusual. great captures.
have a wonderful weekend.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Tom,

Greetings from just down the road :0)

I've been through Chesterfield and seen the spire from a distance but never that close up.

Great photos.



Kerri said...

Oh a GREAT post Tom!! What a neat looking spire!!

Patty said...

I just hope it never topples over. But I suppose after this long of time, no chance that will happen.

I'm with you Tom, I like the one about the virgin getting married.

James said...

I love this post. The spire is amazing and so old. Wonderful and very interesting pictures and story.

J Bar said...

That's so interesting. Thanks for sharing.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

kjpweb said...

That's one cool looking Church Tower! Good job, my friend! Cheers, Klaus

(P.S.: - the embedded commenting does not work with Firefox...)

Carolyn said...

What a fabulous post and great pictures. That steeple can't be that badly built if it is still standing after 600 years!!
Have a wonderful weekend.

Lew said...

Unusal and interesting spire!Sixhundred years gives a lot time for tales about the church!

SandyCarlson said...

I like all the stories, and your favorite is mine. I was thinking as I read, "The danger of using apprentices...." So I was pretty close! These are wonderful photos, Tom.

alicesg said...

The Legend sounds so interesting. The twisted roof is really beautiful and an eye catcher too. Thanks for your visit and comments in my blog. :) Have a nice weekend, Tom.

Dina said...

Utterly fascinating!!

lv2scpbk said...

That's very unusal and really interesting. Great shots.

Deslilas said...

Let's twist again as we did some decades ago !

Eric said...

Very nice and also strange architecture, very nice fot SWF.

Have a nice weekend!

Greetings from NL

Arija said...

Tom. this is such a wonderful post! Absolutely superbly photographed and accompanied by a delightful explanation. The virgin certainly gets my vote as well.
During the war when we were refugees in Germany, we lived in a little villave where the church spire was twisted too but had no sneezing devils to make it leanA really joyful post that still has me grinning.

mkreider said...

Wonderful post. I've never seen anything like it.

Tammie Lee said...

holy moly 32 tons of led, that might have something to do with its swirling.
I like the devil sneezing story. Great to see your photos of this.
Thank you.

Alexander said...

Great display. I like the "Crooked Spire" too. It is always stunning to look at.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Alex's World! -

i beati said...

fascinating story

Ida said...

The last version seems like the most credible to me... ;)
Great post.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Tom: What a neat place, I hope it doesn't crash down some day.

Babooshka said...

I always liked the spire. Just so mad. one of those things you just wouldn't believe was real until you see it.