The Parish Church of St Mary and All Saints
There has always been a church on this site as far as the Saxon times. The current church's parts go back as far as the medieval times and most of the present building was completed in the 14th Century.
The church is synonymously known for its crooked spire which has always been visible in the town's landscape. The church's 14th Century tower had the spire added 1362 with its 150 tons of wood until it was covered in lead sheeting in the 17th Century. The cause of the crooked spire goes down to the use of unseasoned timber wood and unskilled craftsman and it wasn't intentional.
Please read more about the church including a depth analysis of the crooked spire can be found via the Friends of the Friends of the Crooked Spire Chesterfield.
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
CHESTERFIELD MARKET HALL
The market hall in Chesterfield was built in 1857 by the Chesterfield market company. It was bought by the Chesterfield corporation in 1872 for £11,500.
Dancing classes and penny readings (for a penny you could hear a person read from a novel or a newspaper. This was very popular at the time as very few people could read or write) were held here. The hall was extended into New Square.
At the time of my visit the Market hall is undergoing refurbishment, at a cost of £4 million, and was not open to the public. A temporary building has been erected for the market.
CHESTERFIELD MARKET PLACE
There is said to have been a market here before a market charter was granted by King John in 1204. The market place was threatened with closure in the 1960’s and 70’s due to redevelopment. Locals refused to support the development and plans for it were scrapped.
The market is the largest open air market in Britain with over 250 stalls.
The market sells all the usual products from household items to foods and clothes. It was quite busy despite the snow.
Thomas Secker was the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1758. He was born in Sibthorpe, Nottinghamshire in 1693. Although the blue plaque on the wall states that this was his childhood home, there is some doubt as to whether this is the right building
He went to school in Chesterfield from the age of 6, staying with his half-sister.
After studying medicine in London and Paris he took holy orders and became rector (a type of priest) at Houghton-le-Spring in County Durham. He became rector at Ryton, County Durham, St James’s Westminster until in 1733 he became Bishop of Bristol. He spent 8 years as Dean of St Paul’s before becoming the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1758. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the second highest person in the Church of England (after her majesty The Queen, who is defender of the faith). He officiated at the Coronation of George III. He died on 3rd August 1768 after ten years as Archbishop of Canterbury.
THE PORTLAND HOTEL
This now a Wetherspoons, (it became a Wetherspoons on 27th June 2001) where I had a little stop on my Chesterfield Town Trail.
The Portland Hotel was built in 1898 and was well used by travellers on the new rail network. The train station was then just across the road and very convenient for weary travellers.
The name comes from a local “Lord of the Manor” The Duke of Portland. The railway line ran through his land.
Mon - Sun: 7am to 11pm
NO. 1 FUTURE WALK
The General Post Office offices moved from London to Chesterfield in 1960 to save on running costs to the Royal Mail.
A housing estate named “Loundsley Green” was built to accommodate the workers.
The new building that stands today was built in the 1990’s and opened on 5th July 1999. Over 1000 staff worked here when it belonged to the Post Office.
Today it is the offices of CPP, a credit card protection company.
Before this building was built the first train station in Chesterfield stood here. it was demolished in 1973.
THE FORMER MAGISTRATES COURT
The courthouse opened in 1965. It sits on the site of Lady Baden-powell’s childhood home. Lady Baden-Powell and Lord Baden-Powell both founded the boy scouts and girl guides movement.
Because it was Lady Baden-Powells former home and due to the shape of the courthouse, the building was given a grade II listing.
The courthouse closed when a new court building was opened in 2004.
CHESTERFIELD TOWN HALL
The area that the town hall is built on is known as Rose hill, it was once an estate with a manor house at the centre. The borough council bought the land and built the Town Hall in1938.
It is a grade II listed building, built by architect A.J.Hope.
ROSE HILL UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
This is a grade II listed building that was built in 1822. It was built by “the independents” who later became known as “the congregationalists”. The Congregationalists descend from a protestant theologian Robert Browne in 1592.
ELDER YARD CHAPEL
Elder Yard Chapel was the first dissenting place of worship in Chesterfield when it was built in 1694.
The dissenters came about when Charles II brought out a common prayer book in 1662. He then introduced “the act of uniformity”, priest who would not consent to the new prayer book had to leave the church. They then worshipped in private until 1686 when James II granted non-conformists the right to worship publicly.
THE WINDING WHEEL
The Winding Wheel opened as a picture house in 1923. It was then bought by the Odeon cinema chain in 1936. The building was also used as a ballroom and a restaurant. The Winding Wheel closed down in 1981 and was bought by the local council. It reopened as a concert hall and conference centre. It was named “The Winding Wheel” in 1987 and became a listed building in 2000.
THE POMEGRANATE THEATRE
The theatre was opened on 19th February 1949. Diana Rigg (Emma Peel in the Avengers) was once assistant stage manager here, she also made her first stage appearance here in “the passing of the third floor back” on the 31st March 1958.
The theatre was originally called the Civic Theatre changing its name in 1982.
The name Pomegranate is thought to have come from the pomegranate tree that was on the towns seal in 1470 that was later used in the borough coat of arms.
GEORGE STEPHENSON'S RESTING PLACE
Holy Trinity church was built on land owned by the 6th Duke of Devonshire (he owned nearby Chatsworth house ). The Duke laid the foundation stone on May 17th 1837. The east window was given to the church by Robert Stephenson as a memorial to his father.
George Stephenson who lived at Tapton house was buried here after his death in 1848.
This church is normally closed to visitors.
STEPHENSON MEMORIAL HALL
George Stephenson (1781-1848) was a civil engineer born in Northumberland. He built the world first public railway line. He moved to Chesterfield in 1838 during the building of the Derby to Leeds section of the North Midland railway.
The memorial building was built in 1879 as two mechanics institutes and named in honour of George Stephenson.
The local council bought the building in 1889 and it was then used for council meetings until they moved to a new town hall. After the council moved to the new town hall the building remained a public library until 1984 when it became Chesterfield museum.
The current museum and art gallery opened in 1994 and it tells the history of the town.
NO. 2 ST MARY'S GATE
This house was built in the 17th Century by the Heathcote family, who were a local Derbyshire family. Caleb Heathcote emigrated to America and became Mayor of New York City. At the same time his brother Gilbert became the Lord Mayor of London. Gilbert was also the governor of the Bank of England three times. The Heathcote family also owned other homes including Cutthorpe hall.
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