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Parish Church of St Mary and All Saints II

John Hare

Thornton-Cleveleys, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

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:

Artwork Comments

  • Yhun Suarez
  • John Hare
  • Sharksladie
  • John Hare
  • Catherine Hamilton-Veal  ©
  • John Hare
  • photogaryphy
  • John Hare
  • snapitnc
  • John Hare
  • Vicki Spindler (VHS Photography)
  • John Hare
  • drj6
  • John Hare
  • drj6
  • John Hare
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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