About this church
The story of this church begins over 300 years ago in a house built by the Duke of Norfolk in Fargate. It was known as The Lord’s House. It stood just round the corner from where the present cathedral entrance is, in Fargate (just where the Next shop now stands). This house held a secret. Discretely hidden within it was a Catholic chapel. After the Protestant Reformation and under Queen Elizabeth, Catholicism in England had been outlawed and to practice as a Catholic was punishable by fines or even death. Therefore, Catholics needed hidden places to celebrate Mass.
Times slowly changed, and by the early 1800s Catholics were allowed to practice their religion openly and could build churches, provided they were set back from the public roadway. A modest chapel was built in the garden at the rear of The Lord’s House.
As Sheffield expanded with the Industrial Revolution, workers came from Ireland and continental Europe and the little chapel became too small. By 1850 St Marie’s was completed and opened. The nationally famous Catholic architect, Augustus W Pugin was commissioned to design a window and the original high altar. The new church covered the whole area of the former chapel and the cemetery. The magnificent St Marie's with its tall spire towering over Sheffield was opened on 11th September 1850.
By 1889 the huge cost of building St Marie’s was paid and the church was consecrated. During the first fifty years, St Marie’s church was enriched and embellished with stained glass, fine carvings and tiled decoration.
During the Second World War a bomb destroyed the stained glass windows of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. The remaining glass was then removed and stored in a mine shaft at Nunnery Colliery. In 1970, following the revision of Catholic liturgy after the Second Vatican Council, St Marie’s was reordered. Much dark woodwork was removed, new lighting was installed and in 1972, a new altar facing the people was consecrated. In 1980 the church became a Cathedral.