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Places ShowcaseThe Crooked Spire of Chesterfield

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Graham Smith
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The Crooked Spire of Chesterfield

Post by Graham Smith » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:23 pm

The spire was added in the 14th-century tower in about 1362. It is both twisted and leaning, twisting 45 degrees and leaning 9 ft 6 in (2.9 m) from its true centre. The leaning characteristic was initially suspected to be the result of the absence of skilled craftsmen (the Black Death had been gone only twelve years before the spire's completion), insufficient cross bracing, and the use of unseasoned timber

It is now believed that the twisting of the spire was caused by the lead that covers the spire. The lead causes this twisting phenomenon, because when the sun shines during the day the south side of the tower heats up, causing the lead there to expand at a greater rate than that of the north side of the tower, resulting in unequal expansion and contraction. This was compounded by the weight of the lead (approximately 33 tonnes) which the spire's bracing was not originally designed to bear. Also, it was common practice to use unseasoned timber at the time the spire was built as when the wood was seasoned it was too hard to work with, so as unseasoned wood was used they would have made adjustments as it was seasoning in place.

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Post by minniev » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:50 pm

What an interesting structure and image! It does look sort of melted/twisted, like something made of candy that sat in the sun. Your angle shows the weirdness of the spire as well as the contrast to the "normal" part of the church.

Great conversion too, the tonalities take the image more than a capture of a curiosity.
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Post by Graham Smith » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:17 pm

minniev wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:50 pm
What an interesting structure and image! It does look sort of melted/twisted, like something made of candy that sat in the sun. Your angle shows the weirdness of the spire as well as the contrast to the "normal" part of the church.

Great conversion too, the tonalities take the image more than a capture of a curiosity.
Thanks, Minnie.

"In common folklore, there are numerous explanations as to why the spire is twisted. One well-established legend goes that a virgin once married in the church, and the church was so surprised that the spire turned around to look at the bride, and continues that if another virgin marries in the church, the spire will return to true again. Several local legends hold that the Devil was responsible. In one tale, a Bolsover blacksmith mis-shod the Devil, who leapt over the spire in pain, knocking it out of shape. A similar story has the Devil causing mischief in Chesterfield, seating himself on the spire and wrapping his tail around it. The people of the town rang the church bells and the Devil, frightened by the clamour, tried to jump away with his tail still wound about the spire, causing it to twist".
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Post by Charles Haacker » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:19 pm

Graham Smith wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:17 pm
Thanks, Minnie.

"In common folklore, there are numerous explanations as to why the spire is twisted. One well-established legend goes that a virgin once married in the church, and the church was so surprised that the spire turned around to look at the bride, and continues that if another virgin marries in the church, the spire will return to true again. Several local legends hold that the Devil was responsible. In one tale, a Bolsover blacksmith mis-shod the Devil, who leapt over the spire in pain, knocking it out of shape. A similar story has the Devil causing mischief in Chesterfield, seating himself on the spire and wrapping his tail around it. The people of the town rang the church bells and the Devil, frightened by the clamour, tried to jump away with his tail still wound about the spire, causing it to twist".
Extraordinary picture of an extraordinary phenomenon! I like the folkish explanations far better than the scientific ones. I'm very much an evidence-based guy but that's no fun! :D
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Post by Graham Smith » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:39 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:19 pm
Graham Smith wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:17 pm
Thanks, Minnie.

"In common folklore, there are numerous explanations as to why the spire is twisted. One well-established legend goes that a virgin once married in the church, and the church was so surprised that the spire turned around to look at the bride, and continues that if another virgin marries in the church, the spire will return to true again. Several local legends hold that the Devil was responsible. In one tale, a Bolsover blacksmith mis-shod the Devil, who leapt over the spire in pain, knocking it out of shape. A similar story has the Devil causing mischief in Chesterfield, seating himself on the spire and wrapping his tail around it. The people of the town rang the church bells and the Devil, frightened by the clamour, tried to jump away with his tail still wound about the spire, causing it to twist".
Extraordinary picture of an extraordinary phenomenon! I like the folkish explanations far better than the scientific ones. I'm very much an evidence-based guy but that's no fun! :D
If they are waiting for a virgin to marry in order to get the spire untwisted I'm thinking they will be waiting an awful long time :D
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Post by St3v3M » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:31 am

I'm shocked it can even stand with 33 tons of lead on it, wow! S-
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Post by PietFrancke » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:01 am

that is frigging cool! I can imagine walking out of a pub and seeing that for the first time

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