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The Church of the Crooked Spire. Church of St Mary and All Saints, Chesterfield, Derbyshire

The spire really is twisted and crooked. The photo has not been distorted.


The church was built in the late 13th Century and finished around 1360. It is the largest church in Derbyshire.


The spire was added to the 14th century tower about the year 1362. The structure is an oak frame, clad with lead.

It rises to a height of 70m (228 ') above the ground and leans 2.89m (9' 6'') to the south-west. The spiral twist at the base is about 45° from west to east.


Why is it crooked?

It is important to distinguish two elements in the spire’s ‘crookedness’ : The inclination and the twist.

The inclination is due to a number of factors: the use of unseasoned (green) timber, the absence of skilled craftsmen (Black Death) and the neglect of cross-bracing.


The spiral twist is considered to be by design.


An interesting point is that the spire is not attached to the church building but is kept on by its own weight.

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Taken on November 6, 2011