Left: the whole window. Right: The first tier. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

West Window of the Cathedral Church of St Marie (R.C.), Norfolk Row, Sheffield. The window was designed by A. W. N. Pugin, and executed for him by John Hardman in 1850.

Sheffield's Roman Catholic Cathedral is Grade II* listed, and among its points of special interest and beauty are its stained glass windows. The listing text tells us that the "nave and south transept west windows" were by Pugin: this is the nave one. It shows many Biblical scenes, including the Crucifixion and the Ascension in the lowest tier. In the highest tier, depicted on the right above, we can see (left to right) a procession of saints; the baptism of Christ; the young David with the head of Goliath; and Jesus riding on the donkey on Palm Sunday.

The middle tier.

Each scene is packed with incident and figures. Scenes shown from left to right in this middle tier are the Old Testament High Priest Melchizedec with Abraham; the Last Supper; Abraham with Isaac, and the angel stopping Abraham from sacrificing his child; and St. Veronica, holding out the cloth to Jesus as he carries the cross to Golgotha. In addition, each scene is ornamentally framed and each tier is linked with geometric patterning, enclosing small figures like those in the tracery lights. It is a busy and instructive window, using a large palette of colours, but hard to read sequentially in the usual way (from bottom to top).

Ruth Harman and John Minnis describe both the east and west windows in the cathedral simply as depicting "sacred events in several tiers" (59), adding that Pugin's design is superior to that of the larger east window, designed by George Goldie, and executed by William Wailes.

Photographs by Colin Price, reproduced here by kind permission of the Cathedral Dean. Commentary and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee.

Related Material


"Cathedral Church of St Marie, Sheffield." Historic England. Web. 14 January 2020.

Harman, Ruth, and John Minnis, with contributions by Roger Harper. Sheffield. Pevsner Architectural Guides. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004.

O'Donnell, Roderick. The Pugins and the Catholic Midlands. Leominster: Gracewing, and the Archdiocese of Birmingham, 2002.

Created 14 January 2020