Listed Building record MDR5337 - St Mary And All Saints' Church, St Mary's Gate, Chesterfield

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

St Mary And All Saints' Church, St Mary's Gate, Chesterfield, originally a 13th century building. 'The oldest major parts of St. Mary and All Saints' Church date from the late 13th century or a little later and most of the rest of the church is c1325-1350.' (1) 'St Mary and All Saints is a large medieval church of ashlar with nave, aisles, north and south transepts and chancel flanked by four chapels, originally Guild Chapels. The crossing tower is surmounted by the nationally famous warped spire of timber, 228 ft. high clad with herringbone lead plates and dating from c1400. The north transept was rebuilt in 1769 and the church restored by Gilbert Scott in 1843.' (2) 'A big long church with a crossing tower complete with nationally famous twisted spire. The church has a nave and aisles of 6 bays, south and north transepts and a complex east end. There are 4 chapels reflecting the wealth of the guilds in the town. The earliest, the guild of Our Lady and the Holy Cross was founded in 1218. The earliest architectural feature is an Early English piscina; the oldest major parts are the crossing tower supports, dedicated in 1234 and some transepts with piers separating them from an east aisle, dated to the late-13th century. Most of the rest of the church is 1325-1350. There was some restoration by Gilbert Scott in 1843. The church lies in the centre of the old part of the town.' (3) Tree-ring analysis was carried out in March 1993 on a medieval builders' wheel in Chesterfield Museum that is thought to be associated with the erection of the church tower in the mid-14th century. Two timbers were sampled, although only one could be dated satisfactorily. This provided a felling date of after 1345 but before 1400. (4) Although a church is known to have existed at Chesterfield by 1093, nothing of this structure remains above ground. The church appears to have been fairly extensively rebuilt from the later 13th into the early 14th century. It has been tentatively suggested that the church may have been damaged in 1266 during the battle of Chesterfield, when some fighting took place near to, or possibly inside, it and that this may have been a contributory factor in the rebuilding. The present church is the largest in Derbyshire and has a nave and aisles of 6 bays, south and north transepts and a complex east end. Twenty-eight timber samples from the spire were dated by tree-ring analysis. Three main groups or phases were identified. It was suggested that timbers for the original spire construction were felled sometime between 1345 and 1365. A second group with dates in the range 1498 to 1518 may represent later insertions, while a late 17th century repair phase was suggested by the third group, with a felling date range of 1653 to 1673. The church is now a Grade I listed building. (5-6) From the National Heritage List for England: 'SK 3871 SW, 908/1/1 ST MARY'S GATE (West Side), Parish Church of St Mary and All Saints 15/07/71 GV I Large mediaeval church of ashlar with nave, aisles, north and south transepts and chancel flanked by four chapels, originally Guild Chapels. Crossing tower with 228ft high spire of timber clad with herringbone lead plates. The spire, due to warping, is twisted and leans several feet in each of three directions. Extant architectural features generally of Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular styles but north transept rebuilt in 1769 and church restored by Gilbert Scott in 1843. C18 Schnetzer organ destroyed by fire. South transept screen of circa 1500, north transept. Holy Cross Chapel circa 1503 and St Katherine's Chapel north transept, contains part of original rood screen of circa 1475. Pair of brass chandeliers of 1760. Norman font and Jacobean pulpit. Monuments include those to Foljambe family, of C16 and early C17. C18 tablets and monuments (ref Gunnis R pages 56, 146, 370). C19 features include High Altar reredos of 1898 by Temple Moore and stained glass by Warrington, Hardman and Sir Ninian Comper. Listing NGR: SK385137112.' (7)

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1953. The Buildings of England: Derbyshire, 1st edition. 94-95.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: DOE (HHR) Borough of Chesterfield Derby Sept 1977 63.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Dilworth-Harrison, T. n.d.. Our Glorious Derby Churches. 32-33.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Groves, C & Tyers, I. 1993. Tree-Ring Analysis of Two Oak Timbers from a Medieval Builders' Wheel from Chesterfield.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Nottingham University Tree-Ring Dating Laboratory. Dendro Sample Record and Summary. Initial Report December 1995.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Stroud, G. 2002. Extensive Urban Survey: Chesterfield. Archaeological Assessment Report.. 24, Component 1.
  • <7> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England.



Grid reference SK 38513 71172 (point)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR727

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Record last edited

Aug 14 2022 6:26PM

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