If you’re travelling up the Mi motorway from the south of England to Yorkshire or Scotland or all points north then watch out for a sign directing you to Chesterfield.

This lovely Derbyshire market town is worth visiting for several reasons but a tourist attraction not to be missed is the crooked spire of the church of St Mary and All Saints. As you can see, it’s decidedly off-kilter and leans away from its centre.

There are many stories about the reason for this – ranging from the relatively sensible to the downright daft – but nevertheless entertaining. REasonably sensible is the theory that when the spire was built there was a shortage of suitably talented craftsmen due to the population erosion caused by the Black Death.

Even more sensible is the theory that the twisting was caused by the lead used in the construction which expanded and contracted at a different rate than the timber and hence the materials got themselves into a pickle and mungled up the spire.

However, how come this didn’t happen everywhere?

My favourite theory, which is probably one of the dafter ones (never mind ‘probably’), is that a virgin was married in the church and the spire was so astonished by this that the spire craned its neck and twisted around to have a good look at this phenomenon. And it never twisted back.

The story further states that if another virgin should marry in the church, then the spire will once again crane its neck and the spire will be as good as new again – straight and untwisted.

This, of course, is not very complimentary towards the brides who have married in the church over the years!


Church of St Mary and All Saints

Chesterfield Parish Church,
Church Way,
Chesterfield S40 1XJ,




JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.

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