As we mentioned earlier, vines represent the growth of the church, grapes symbolise abundance, prosperity and fertility, but above all Christ’s Blood, received during Mass in the form of wine and oaks and acorns are also symbols of growth, specifically the growth of the church.
More examples of vine leaves can be found in the main window of the South Transept, with panels dedicated, left to right, to St Teresa of Avila, St Anne, St Joachim and St Joseph, Christ’s adopted father, shown as a carpenter.
While Saints Anne, Joachim and Joseph are surrounded by vines, St Teresa is shown surrounded by white flowers with six petals, while the window above, however, contains red roses, representing Christ’s wounds and lilies signify purity, rebirth and virginity.
Look to the right of the window and you will see the Hallam Window, installed to mark the creation of the diocese and St Marie’s becoming a Cathedral in 1980.
It commemorates the lives of two English martyrs, Robert Ludlam and Nicholas Garlick, two priests from the local area who trained in France during the Reformation and were sent to England during the reign of Elizabeth I.
They were arrested by the Earl of Shrewsbury at the mansion of Mr. John Fitzherbert, in Padley Wood, about six miles from Sheffield, on July 12 1588, taken to Derby jail tried 11 days later and martyred the following day, July 24 1588.
Both carry palm fronds and are shown on either side of the Virgin Mary, who has a dove, representing the Holy Spirit, above her.
As you turn to leave the South Transept, take a look at the shields over the doorway to the left of the main window and the entrance to the chapel, dedicated to Saint Joseph. Look, also, at the capitals of the columns and you will find yet more vines, bunches of grapes, oak leaves and acorns.