Derbyshire Places of Worship

St Mary (Our Lady) & All Saints Parish Church, Chesterfield (1) (33k) St Mary (Our Lady) & All Saints Parish Church, Chesterfield (2) (35k) St Mary (Our Lady) & All Saints Parish Church, Chesterfield (3) (42k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Rosemary Lockie/Allan Petrie
St Mary (Our Lady) & All Saints Parish Church, Chesterfield
St Mary (Our Lady) & All Saints Parish Church,
Church Way, S40 1XJ,
Chesterfield, Derbyshire.


This Church has (or had) a graveyard.

Note: any church within an urban environment may have had its graveyard closed after the Burial Act of 1853. Any new church built after that is unlikely to have had a graveyard at all.

Church History

This Place of Worship was founded in the 7th century, and we understand it is still open.

Chesterfield Parish Church was dedicated to All Saints prior to the Reformation, but since then jointly to St Mary and All Saints.

The following information about the Church has been provided to accompany the photographs on the right. A list of people who have supplied the information is included in the Acknowledgements, below.

[Image 1] This is of course the (in)famous "Crooked Spire". There are various explanations, or legends to explain why it is crooked. The most rational one is that the timber used for the framework of the spire was unseasoned, and as it dried out so it warped. It has also been suggested that as its construction was suspended by the Black Death (1349), perhaps exposure of the timbers to the elements during the hiatus caused warping.

However, Folklore also has explanations. One legend is that the Devil sat on the spire, and his weight caused it to buckle - OR that he wrapped his tail around it to keep his balance, and it twisted in sympathy. Another is that the Spire was so amazed to hear of a virgin being married in the Church that it twisted round in an effort to see this wonder for itself. This legend further adds that should this ever happen again, the Spire will straighten up!

It is believed there was a church, or small chapel at Chesterfield as early as the 7th Century. The Normans however replaced the first building, although proof wasn't found until 1848 when a Norman font was dug up in the Vicarage garden! In 1093 William Rufus granted the Church to the newly built Lincoln Cathedral, the Deans of Lincoln becoming Lords of the Manor. The present building was dedicated in 1234, but wasn't finished until 1360. The spire is 228 feet high and leans almost 8 feet.

A photograph of Inside St Mary & All Saints Church, Chesterfield is also available, and a reproduction of a pen and ink drawing of St Mary & All Saints Church (1907) sketched from an almost identical viewpoint as the above, but with gravestones still in the churchyard.[1]

[Image 3] This delightful pen and ink drawing was by Walter W. NEEDHAM, and dated 1907. The drawing was in the possession of Issac & Elizabeth McGANN and their daughter Lucy, when they emigrated from Nottingham to Southern Alberta, Canada in 1912. Walter was a friend of the family, and Lucy was Allan Petrie (the submitter's) mother.

A more recent photograph of St Mary & All Saints Church from a similar viewpoint shows how the gravestones in the foreground have been removed.[1]


Now or formerly Church of England.

If more than one congregation has worshipped here, or its congregation has united with others, in most cases this will record its original dedication.


This Church is located at OS grid reference SK3852271132. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:


A special thanks to the following people who have contributed information for this web page:

1. Information provided by Rosemary Lockie.

Information last updated on 19 Oct 2018 at 15:17.

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This Report was created 27 Jul 2021 - 08:02:43 BST from information held in the Derbyshire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 3 Feb 2021 at 08:33.

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