The Blessed Sacrament Chapel is one of the holiest places in the cathedral and contains arguably the most evocative stained glass panel in the whole Cathedral in the centre of the chapel’s east window.
The panel shows Christ holding a chalice with the Host – a disc of unleavened bread that becomes His body, just as the wine in the chalice becomes His blood on consecration during the Celebration of Mass.
Immediately beneath this panel is another representation of the Last Supper, which we first met in the West Window.
The roof of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel contains bosses depicting sheaves of wheat, bunches of grapes and chalices.
The Sanctuary, to the right of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, is another of the most holy places in the church, with the High Altar in the centre and Bishop’s throne – known as a ‘cathedra’ behind it.
Angels lining the Sanctuary roof are themselves celebrating the Mass, holding, amongst other sacred items, a chalice – or deep cup – containing wine and a ciborium, a similar shaped receptacle for unleavened bread
The angels were designed by the Catholic artist, Henry Taylor Bulmer, and carved by Arthur Hayball, whose father, Thomas, was the contractor for all the carpentry in St Marie’s – a contract worth £1,870 in 1850 or more than a quarter of a million pounds in today’s money.
Arthur Hayball started carving as a child while convalescing, after breaking his leg.
He trained at Sheffield School of Design and became the School’s Master of Wood Carving in 1875.
His skills were such that, the year after the Cathedral opened he won a gold medal at the Great Exhibition for an eight foot high, four foot wide walnut cabinet, made in the Italian style to his own design. Arthur’s youngest daughter, Clara, later became a skilled carver and married the Sheffield artist William Keeling.