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SHEFFIELD ST MARIE (RC CATHEDRAL)

Amazing architectureGlorious green men & gargoylesSpectacular stained glassLink with famous peopleInterpretation of site available

Welcome to St Marie’s Cathedral, which has stood on this site for over 100 years. This beautiful church is much loved and much used by Catholics in Sheffield, and is a haven of prayerful peace and quiet in the busy city centre. You are welcome to spend time praying or exploring this magnificent building.

Until 1559 Catholic worship had for centuries been celebrated in the medieval parish church of St Peter and St Paul, now the Anglican Cathedral. As the protestant reformation took place in England Catholic worship was outlawed. Attendance at the new protestant services was enforced by law with heavy fines for non attendance. Only rich families or country people working on their estates could continue with the Catholic faith. Priests were hunted down, imprisoned and suffered martyrdom. Throughout the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries Catholics hung onto their faith. In Sheffield, Mass was celebrated in a few houses belonging to the gentry – including the house belonging to the Duke of Norfolk in Fargate (where the Next shop is now). In 1814 the ‘Lord’s House’ was due to be sold. Local Catholics managed to buy it and build a small chapel in its back garden. By now the law had been relaxed and modest churches could be built. Later, a larger church was built to accommodate the growing number of Catholics, together with a small graveyard on the site where the present cathedral now stands.

A larger church was needed for the expanding population, and building was started in 1846. The leading local architect ME Hadfield was engaged to design the church, based on a 14th century church in Heckington. The church was completed in 1850 and was opened with great grandeur. The old graveyard was emptied and the bodies re-interred at St Bede’s in Rotherham. In 1902 a new presbytery, now known as Cathedral House, was built. Prior to that the Priests lived at Rectory Chambers in Norfolk Row (now the Coventry Building Society).

When you visit, stand at the back of the Cathedral (the west end) and admire the elegant architecture, the gold coloured stone work indicating the sacred and the roof panels bearing shields of the 3 English martyrs – St John Fisher, St Thomas More and St Philip Howard. There is also a magnificent stained glass window featuring these three saints. Filling the whole of the east end is the great east window, designed by George Goldie. The top half depicts heaven with saints and angels and the lower half shows the story of Mary, Mother of God, to whom the church is dedicated.

The decorated style of the Cathedral, adorned with angels, stonework and original tiles is rich in symbolism. You can admire the beautiful Guardian Angel, made of alabaster and ascend a little spiral staircase to the Munster or Lady Chapel. From there you can see a modern stained glass window installed in 1980 to mark the creation of the Diocese of Hallam and a memorial to the Polish soldiers who died in the second world war.

If you know anything more about the heritage of this site and would like us to include it here please contact us.

VISITING ST MARIE

Open dawn to dusk every dayTours for groups and schoolsGenerally accessible to wheelchair usersAccessible by public transportRefreshments at site or nearbyToilets at site or nearby

Address: Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 2JB

Opening Times: Open dawn – dusk everyday.

Contact: 0114 2722522 or office@stmariecathedral.org

Directions: M1 J33/34. Follow signs for Sheffield City Centre. Follow brown signs for the Crucible Theatre. The Cathedral is off Fargate, look for the spire!

Grid Reference: SK 355 873 GB Grid

GOOGLE MAP LINK

http://www.stmariecathedral.org

The text has been written by volunteers from the site, more information can be found when you visit in person.

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