The Shrewsbury Chapel
The Shrewsbury Chapel was added to the Parish Church around 1520 by the Lord of the Manor of Sheffield, George Talbot, the 4th Earl of Shrewsbury. It was built to be a private family chapel with a burial vault underneath.
The monument to the left (north) of the chapel is of George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury, who died in 1538. His first wife Anne who died around 1520 is on his right and his second, Elizabeth (died 1567), on his left. The figures are alabaster and rest on a marble tomb. The detail on each figure is extraordinary; the Earl is dressed as a Knight of the Garter and his feet rest on a Talbot dog. There is even a tiny Talbot dog on the ring he is wearing. The two Countesses wear their coronets and robes and the effigies would originally have been brightly coloured.
Opposite, on the south wall of the chapel, is the magnificent memorial to George, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury. Whilst married to Bess of Hardwick (his 2nd wife, her 4th husband), Queen Elizabeth I entrusted him with the task of acting as custodian to Mary Queen of Scots who, having a claim to the English throne, was suspected of plotting against Queen Elizabeth.
Mary spent fourteen years in Sheffield under the Earl's supervision and the Latin inscription on his memorial details his faithful and loyal service to Queen Elizabeth I and his military achievements. He is depicted wearing armour, lying on a woven mat with his feet also resting on a Talbot dog. High above his head are the helmets which were carried on top of his coffin at his funeral.
The altar in the Shrewsbury Chapel is a rare pre-Reformation stone 'Mensa' marked with carved consecration crosses. The Reredos (screen) behind dates from the restoration of the chapel in 1935 and features Christ and the Saints whose chapels were part of the medieval church.
The Tudor oak screen which used to separate the Shrewsbury Chapel from the Lady Chapel can now be found next to the Window of the Six Sheffield Worthies, beside Old St George's Chapel.
In front of the Shrewsbury Chapel is the Lady Chapel. The ceiling is decorated with 'bosses' - carved imagery - which date to the medieval period. Amongst them can be seen examples of two images which occur in various forms in many English churches and cathedrals: the Green Man who is usually depicted with foliage, leaves or branches sprouting from his mouth, and the Sheela-na-gig, an exaggerated female form. The reason for their use in medieval churches and other buildings is not clear; the Sheela-na-gig may be a fertility symbol or an ancient symbol of protection against evil; the Green Man a pagan symbol of rebirth which would have been familiar to medieval Christians and perhaps used to help illustrate the resurrection.
On the south wall of the Lady Chapel is a 13th century scratched sundial or 'Mass clock'. This would originally have been on the outside wall of the church and used by the people of Sheffield to tell when it was time to come to church; when this part of the church was rebuilt in the 15th century it was faced inside which has preserved it to this day.