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Parish Church of St Mary and All Saints II by John Hare

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Parish Church of St Mary and All Saints II by 

This Church is better known as ‘The Crooked Spire’ in Chesterfield Derbyshire. It is the most famous landmark in Chesterfield, so much so that the local football team ‘Chesterfied FC’ are known as ‘The Spireites’.

Hand held 3 shot HDR processed in Photomatix with curve and other adjustments in photoshop.

Nikon D5000 Sigma 10mm-20mm @10mm. ISO800 f8 1/160 e/v +-2.

The Spire

The spire was added to the 14th century tower about the year 1362. The structure is an oak frame, clad with lead, and an interior view of the timber frame is one of the most remarkable sights in the whole church. Where the top of the stone tower and base of the wooden spire meet no fixing is apparent, so that the spire merely sits balanced unattached on the top of the tower.

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. It is unfortunate that most people use the word ‘crooked’ unhelpfully, combining the above two features.

The inclination (lean) 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.

Why was the spire built from ‘green timber’?
The use of ‘green timber’ was a normal part of medieval carpentry, owing to the fact that it could be bent and shaped during construction. It was also less wearing on tools.

Recent examples of the use of ‘green oak’ are to be found in York Minster, Windsor Castle and the Globe Theatre in London.

A Grade 1 listed building.

Official Church website:

John enjoys capturing images mainly around his home in the North West of England with a leaning towards land and seascapes. John also enjoys using modern processing techniques designed to give images a more in-depth feel to them. John is happy to discuss individual customers image requests.

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  • Yhun Suarez
    Yhun Suarezover 3 years ago

    you are early with this hdr business…lol…cool angle John..i think i was right behind you when you took this :)

  • Hi Yhun, yes we were trying to get the best perspective to see the curve and twist of the spire.

    – John Hare

  • Sharksladie
    Sharksladieover 3 years ago

    NICE one! Very good : )

  • Thanks Stephanie for you kind comment.

    – John Hare

  • Catherine Hamilton-Veal  ©
    Catherine Hami...over 3 years ago

    This is a wonderful capture and nice treatment dear John.x

  • Thanks Catherine for your comment. If I was a little braver I’d tell the folklore reason for the spire being twisted and bent but it may offend some!

    – John Hare

  • photogaryphy
    photogaryphyover 3 years ago

    Great shot John, that is a wonky spire isn’t it?

  • Thanks Gary, yeah the crooked spire, it does not look that crooked in this shot but trust me it is!

    – John Hare

  • snapitnc
    snapitncover 3 years ago

    great shot mate,cheers mike

  • Thanks Mike.

    – John Hare

  • Vicki Spindler (VHS Photography)
    Vicki Spindler...over 3 years ago

    Stunning shot!!! :)))))))))))))))))))))))))

  • Thank you very much for your comment Vicki

    – John Hare

  • drj6
    drj6over 3 years ago

    I do like this! I’ve never seen a photo of the twisted spire before despite having heard of it. I can’t imagine a better view of it than this.

  • Thanks David, this sounds daft but I was too close. Because of how it twists and bends you get different aspects of it from different angles. It was not the best light when we visited. I had some crackers shot on 35mm film from the late 70’s but sadly lost them all in a cellar flood!

    – John Hare

  • drj6
    drj6over 3 years ago

    Oh no, sorry to hear that. A couple of weeks ago I lost thousands of images I was storing on an external hard drive which decided to die. Now I’m storing my stuff in the clouds rather than risk any more technological failures. I must get up to Chesterfield in particular and Derbyshire in general as I’ve never visited and there’s a lot to see up there.

  • I was born and raised there David so before you go drop me a mail and I will recommend places to visit. I need to return for a serious shoot as well.

    – John Hare

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