Sunday 19 January 2014

The Crooked Spire, Chesterfield

Yesterday A and I decided to visit Chesterfield. This is a nearby town on the outskirts of Sheffield. I have driven through it often but never actually visited it. It is most well known and famous for its Crooked Spire church, which can be seen rising high above the town from the surrounding areas. I’ve never seen it up close and so A and I decided to pay it a visit. I often think we should play tourist more often in the places we live. We often travel to London or places abroad and make sure to take in the local history but very rarely do it where we actually live.

Once arriving in Chesterfield we had a wander round the local shops and market. It was a mix of traditional high street shop chains and then a few local bakeries and book shops nestled in amongst them. I love looking round special independent shops, they have their own rustic charm that you just don’t get from chains. One local shop, Jackson’s The Bakers seemed quite popular and had a lovely traditional display of breads and cakes in the window. They were proudly displaying a photo of the Hairy Bikers visiting the shop, so it must be quite well known.

As we drew closer to the Spire, I was surprised at how large the church was. I’ve only ever seen glimpses of the spire in the past and never actually stopped to think about the church it is attached to. In my mind it was quite a small church, but in reality it’s actually quite a large and grand affaire. It is in fact the largest church in Derbyshire.
The church was open to visitors so we got to have a look around inside. It was very impressive with tall columns, a vaulted ceiling and some original stained glass windows. The hushed reverence inside was very peaceful. You can even take trips up the tower if you visit between Easter and Christmas. I bet the views are spectacular.

The church itself is called The Church of St Mary’s and All Saints and its now famous Crooked Spire came about completely by accident. When it was being constructed in the late 13th Century, young green timber was used, meaning it was still soft and subtle. This was a mistake and meant when the heavy cladding and tiles went on top it twisted and warped into the Crooked Spire it has now become famous for. It actually leans 9 foot, 5 inches from its true centre, and in some ways I’m amazed it’s still standing.

Before we left we had a light lunch in a little café we happened across called Organic Kitchen. It was a fairly simple café serving a selection of hot and cold sandwiches, soup and omlettes. Nothing fancy, but nice freshly prepared lunchtime faire. They had a small selection of gluten free items listed on the menu which always pleases me and I enjoyed a tasty mushroom omlette with a side of beans. I don’t know why more places don’t offer omlettes, when cooked fresh they are delicious.

I’m pleased I finally went to Chesterfield and visited the Crooked Spire after only seeing it from a distance for so long. Anyone got any other suggestions of local Yorkshire places I should visit?


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A wonderful place and intriguing church!



Bobbi said...

I'd recommend the underground tour at the National Coal Mining Museum. Everyone I've ever taken thought it was excellent.

The Caked Crusader said...

Wow - that is crooked; I've never seen it before!

Katie said...

Hi Bobbi,

Thanks for the suggestion. I've looked it up and it sounds like a great day out. Didn't know they did mining tours

Johanna GGG said...

That church looks amazing - I would feel a little worried today was my unlucky day and it was about to collapse but I guess generations before me would have felt the same and survived. Sounds like a great day out.

Penguin's Waddle said...

I'm really glad you enjoyed your visit to our lovely Chesterfield. We have many famous links, so next time you come do try and visit Tapton Park. The views over Chesterfield from the park are beautiful. George Stephenson once lived at Tapton House. The house is not open to the public unfortunately but you can see it very closely from the leafy gladed footpaths in the park.

Elle said...

What an astounding spire that is. Yummy looking omelette, too.