What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
=How to get there.=–Train from St. Pancras. Midland Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Chesterfield. =Distance from London.=–146 miles. =Average Time.=–Varies between 3 to 3-3/4 hrs.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 19s. 2d. ... 12s. 1d. Return 38s. 4d. ... 24s. 2d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"The Angel Hotel,” “Station Hotel," “Midland Hotel,” “Hotel Portland,” etc. =Alternative Route.=–Train from Marylebone. Great Central Rly.
Chesterfield, now the second largest town in its own county, was at the time of the Doomsday survey merely a bailiwick to Newbold, which at the present time has dwindled down to a small hamlet to the west of the parish. In the middle of the thirteenth century a battle was fought here between the Earl of Derby and Prince Henry, nephew of Henry III., in which the Earl was defeated and taken prisoner. It was also the scene of a fierce engagement during the civil wars of Charles I., in which the Earl of Newcastle routed the Parliamentary forces in 1643.
The great feature of interest in Chesterfield is the parish church of All Saints, with its extraordinary twisted spire 230 feet in height. This “crooked” spire, which leans over to the south-west, has been the object of much discussion amongst antiquaries, as to whether it was designed in such a fashion, or whether the present state of affairs has been brought about by a warping of the timber frame under the outside covering of lead. The latter seems the more feasible theory.
There was a church at Chesterfield in the eleventh century, but the present structure is mainly of the fourteenth century, with later additions. In the interior there are several features of interest, among them being the screen separating the transept from the chancel. This is carved with a set of mysterious figures, supposed to be emblematical of the crucifixion.
There are many extremely fine and interesting monuments in the church, especially two belonging to the Foljambe family. At the east end is a very good modern stained-glass window, erected as a memorial to a former vicar, the late Archdeacon Hill.
In the neighbourhood of Chesterfield there are a number of interesting places, notably the fine old churches at Old Brampton and Wingerworth, and a small disused chapel with a Norman doorway at Newbold.
[Illustration: G.W. Wilson & Co. CHESTERFIELD CHURCH.
With its strangely-distorted spire, probably due to the unequal shrinking of its timbers.]