General

Harvest Moon Fayre

Today we drove to Chesterfield to pick up the multi-gym that I’d bought on eBay (we’ll NEVER get that thing put back together, now that it’s in pieces!!!). Chesterfield has an interesting church with a crooked spire:

The tinternet has this to say:

“How did it happen? Legend tells of a powerful magician who persuaded a Bolsover blacksmith to shoe the Devil. The blacksmith, however drove a nail into the Devil’s foot. Howling with rage, the Devil took flight towards Chesterfield. Skimming over the Church, he lashed out in agony, caught the spire and twisted it out of shape. Then again, was it lightning? Or did Lucifer sit on the Church and spitefully let his massive weight crush its elegant spire? Local people of course have their own explanation. Rumour had it that a virgin was getting married at the church,and the spire, never having seen a virgin bride before, leaned over to have a closer look. Should the event ever happen again, the spire will think it commonplace and straighten up.

There are, of course, more mundane explanations.

Historians tell us of the dark year 1349 and the outbreak of the Black Death in Chesterfield – around the time that the spire was being built. Did too many skilled craftsmen fall to the Plague? Did the survivors use too much green timber in the spire?

Architects note the lack of cross-bracing in the 8 sides of the structure, and remind us of the weight of those lead tiles which cover the wooden spire – all 32 tons of them!

The rest of the damage is blamed on sun, rain, wind and, according to one expert, bell-ringing!”

On the way back, we noticed signs for a “Harvest Moon Fayre”, and had to stop. (Phil started moaning and groaning about hippies as soon as we saw the first set of dreadlocks.) It was interesting, although they needed many more stalls and activities to justify the amount they wanted at the gate. There were some amazing blacksmiths making quite delicate fireplace tools, etc. – including two women, which was interesting. There were craftsmen demonstrating how to weave straw and how to make wooden implements on a foot-turned lathe. The rest of the stalls were fairly ordinary local crafts or hippie tat. They needed more local foods stalls, and really needed a pagan element, which was why I wanted to go in in the first place, and which would have fitted in very well with the rest of the stalls. There were Morris dancers, which we missed (oh, darn) and a mummers’ parade, along with different groups of pranksters, including a small group of men dressed in black tights and bee costumes (had to be seen to be believed) who would sneak up behind people, look over their shoulders, and then all buzz off loudly in a group, making everyone jump. lol…made us jump, anyway.

3 Comments

  • bellanna

    There is a story about why horseshoes are lucky, apparently a blacksmith agreed to shoe the devils horse. In the terms of the agreement the devil was not allowed to enter a house with a horseshoe nailed above the door. So they came to mean luck. So many superstitions/tales seem to stem from blacksmiths.

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