The Chancel and Sanctuary
The Chancel, Sanctuary, Tower and Spire were built in the early 15th century and this area forms the structure of the medieval Parish Church, built in the perpendicular style typical of many English churches.
The Sanctuary is the most easterly part of the original church and its east wall contains several stones which are patterned in a chevron or zig-zag design - these are stones from the previous Norman church dating back to the 11th century. It is thought that this earlier church suffered the same fate as Sheffield Castle, being destroyed during the 12th century 2nd Barons' War) and these ancient stones can clearly be seen set into the 15th century walls.
This part of the Cathedral was built around 1430 and its tower and spire rising above have dominated the skyline of Sheffield for six hundred years.
Behind the High Altar, the east window is a memorial to James Montgomery (1771 - 1854) who spent most of his life in Sheffield and had a great impact on the city as a newspaper editor, social reformer, anti-slavery campaigner, hymn-writer and supporter of the Sunday School movement. The stained glass window shows Saint Matthew, Moses, David and Saint John and was given to the Cathedral by the Mappin family.
To the left, on the north wall of the Sanctuary, are memorials to three former Vicars of Sheffield: Rev Thomas Sale, Rev James Wilkinson and Rev Thomas Sutton. James Wilkinson was Vicar of Sheffield Parish Church for fifty years and was also a Justice of the Peace who had James Montgomery imprisoned for sedition when Montgomery criticised him for forcibly dispersing a political protest in the town. Wilkinson is possibly best remembered for denying John Wesley the chance to speak from the church pulpit in 1779; Wesley then went on to address 'the largest crowd I ever saw on a weekday' in nearly Paradise Square, a Georgian square to the north of the Cathedral which still survives to this day.
Wilkinson's monument is the first commissioned work by Sheffield-born sculptor Sir Francis Chantrey who also sculpted the 'Sorrowing Woman' monument in the nave and the memorial to Rev Alexander Mackenzie in the Parker Transept.
The gilded angels on the ceiling of the Sanctuary and Chancel are all different and are medieval; however their wings were added in the 1960s.
Close to the Sanctuary is the Bishop's throne or 'Cathedra' - this is where the word 'Cathedral' comes from - which was added to the Chancel after the former Parish Church was granted Cathedral status in 1914. The Cathedra was designed by Sir Charles Nicholson whose plans to greatly extend the building were only partly completed, interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War and never finished. The Cathedra is made of oak, painted and gilded and depicts the figures of Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Christ. The bird at the top is a pelican, a Christian symbol of sacrifice, shown feeding its young with drops of its blood as it pecks its own breast.