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RC Cathedral and information.

Brought forward as it is a separate subject.

"Dave, was St Peter and St Paul church (Cathedral) used for both Catholic and Christian Weddings in those days and if so when did the Catholic Cathedral of Norfolk Row open?"

From JohnS.

Hi John, Trying to answer your question. I had always wondered that myself.

One of the tours I had of the Cathedral (CofE) I am sure they mentioned that the "SHREWSBURY Chapel" had been used for just that...... but I question that.

The first marriages at St Marie were recorded in 1844 and at St Vincent 1853.

All marriages prior to 1848 were supposed to take place at Sheffield Parish Church. That note is on our marriage search page.

The Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829. Removed the most substantial restrictions on RC's.

The Marriage Act 1836.
Allowed marriages to legally be registered in buildings belonging to other religious groups.
They were to apply to the Registrar General to allow the marriages to take place but with a Registrar present. I believe that that was the fact until the 1870's I have not checked that out.

Elaine in Ottawa.

Re: RC Cathedral and information.

Before St Marie's was built Catholic marriages took place in the Norfolk Row Chapel which it replaced. I am sure I have seen records of these marriages somewhere but I am not sure where. Pre 1837 records would probably have been surrendered to government archives on the introduction of General Registration, and there may be copies in Sheffield Archives. There are some indexes at FamilySearch.

I am sure I have seen evidence of couples getting married in this catholic chapel and then getting married in Sheffield Parish Church (St Peter's).

An example of this I just found in a newspaper:

Sheffield Independent
15 Nov 1834
On Tuesday the 11th inst. at the Catholic Chapel, by the Rev. G. Keesley, and afterwards at the Parish Church by the Rev. W. Carter, B.A., Mr. Geo. Hammond, merchant and manufacturer, of this town, to Miss M.A. Furniss, niece of the late J.B. Furniss Esq. of Belle Vue.

I was surprised to see that PictueSheffield has a photo of the chapel. This must be one of the oldest photos of Sheffield as the chapel was demolished in 1847.;EQUALS;s05077&prevUrl=


Re: RC Cathedral and information.

For those of you that might be interested in information on St Vincents
under our "Cherished Memories" section there is a story of that church written by
Ted Cummings.

Makes for interesting reading.

Elaine in Ottawa.

Re: RC Cathedral and information.

From 1534 to 1837 the only LEGAL marriages in England and Wales were carried out in Anglican churches by Anglican clergy in Anglican ceremonies. Synagogues and Quaker Meeting Houses were the only exceptions to this rule.
Civil Registration was introduced in Q3 1837 making it possible to have a LEGAL marriage in a non-Anglican place of worship by non-Anglican clergy in a non-Anglican ceremony PROVIDED THE CIVIL REGISTRAR IS PRESENT TO PROVIDE LEGAL REGISTRATION.
I believe that rule still applies today.


Re: RC Cathedral and information.

Hi Dave,

In reply to your comment......

I believe that rule still applies today."

I married in a RC Church in 1965 and no registrar present. I believe as I said by the late 1800's Vicars and Priests had the same rights. Whether they are registrars or that the building it's self was registered. That I dont know. I am the Anglican part of the marriage. My Vicar offered to give us a blessing after the Catholic ceremony. I didn't feel it was necessary.

Elaine in Ottawa.

Re: RC Cathedral and information.

Hi All,
The following short excerpt from Wikipedia about St.Marie's, may help explain. A more detailed account can be read on Wikipedia and some of their links:

Sheffield Catholics bought the ageing house, which stood on the corner of Fargate and Norfolk Row. They built a small chapel in its back garden on a site which is now between the Mortuary and the Blessed Sacrament Chapels. The names of the priests who served Sheffield before the cathedral was built and the dates of their deaths are on the wall of the Mortuary Chapel. The rest of the land where the cathedral now stands became a cemetery. (Bodies from the cemetery were moved to the new Catholic cemetery at St Bede's in Rotherham and work on St Marie's began in 1846.)

Prior to Henry V111 (c.1534) the present Anglican Cathedral of SS. Peter & Paul (or just St.Peter's as it was originally called) was a Roman Catholic place of worship for Sheffield.
The house (referred to above and owned by the Duke of Norfolk) was at the corner of Fargate/Norfolk Row. During the Reformation, the house had a chapel hidden in the roof, after the Reformation the chapel was in the back garden. Then in 1846 work began on St.Marie's Cathedral and completed in 1850.
HAPPY HUNTING:sleuth_or_spy:

Re: RC Cathedral and information.

My apologies. I was going off the fact that my marriage in 1968 in a small Methodist Chapel had the registrar present.

The reason for my confusion is that I was not aware of The Places of Worship Registration Act 1855. This was introduced in 1855 to effectively spread the load of the Registrars.
This specifies that any individual place of worship may apply to the Registrar for a licence to carry out marriages. Granting the licence provides that individual place of worship with an official Marriage Registration Book and demands that there will be an appointed person (AP) at that place who sees to it that the marriages are correctly recorded in that register and that copies of the records go to the Registry Office. So that person is basically a substitute Registrar.
If the place of worship is not registered then it is still true that the Civil Registrar must be present.

Once again my apologies

Re: RC Cathedral and information.

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the clarification. I knew that the building had something to do with it but its a longgggggg time ago where I had seen that explanation.


Re: RC Cathedral and information.

Hi all

Some of my RC Ancestors were married in the 'RC Chapel on Norfolk Row' and the marriage record (Parish Register section) I found on So the early Norfolk Row RC chapel marriages are on there.

Re: RC Cathedral and information.

Hi again

The record collection for the RC Chapel on Norfolk Row I mentioned above is:

England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1936

The baptism I found was in Feb 1820 in that collection.

Re: RC Cathedral and information.

May I make a few clarifications?

The (Anglican) Cathedral's Lady Chapel, or 'Shrewsbury Chapel', formerly had a screened-off space at the East end, where now the pre-Reformation altar again stands, which was said to belong to the Duke of Nolfolk (and before that, the Earls of Shrewsbury). As Lord of the Manor, he probably had legal obligations towards the upkeep of the whole of the church's east end, but I doubt whether that was enforced. I don't believe that interments were made in the chapel during the period that the Dukes professed Catholicism, nor have I heard of marriages being celebrated there, either before or after the 1753 Marriage Act.

From then until 1837 (the implementation of the 1836 Marriage Act) no marriage in England was considered valid (with the exceptions as mentioned by others) unless solemnised in an Anglican church, by an Anglican priest. I have tried to research the families of John Curr (1756-1823) and his brother George (my ancestor), and it seems that the usual practice was that a wedding ceremony was celebrated in the Norfolk St Chapel (which was completely rebuilt in 1816), then, possibly on the next day, an Anglican service was held in the Parish Church (now Cathedral), and afterwards a reception was held, to which the clergy of both churches were invited. The second service was the one that counted in English Law, but the first was required to satisfy RC Canon Law.

John Curr, who was for many years the Supervisor of the Duke's Sheffield collieries, was also partly responsible for the building of the Chapel of Our Lady, of which the Sheffield Archives have an engraving print (not a photograph, I think). His acquisition of extra land, to provide a small churchyard, also enabled the construction, 30 years later, of the present (Cathedral) Church of St Marie. Unfortunately, in that construction, John Curr's grave was subsumed into the new church (designed by Curr's son-in-law's first cousin), but until the past forty years or so, an inscription was said to be visible in the porch.

On the 26th January, the day before the bicentenary of the Engineer's death, I left a framed copy of that inscription (translated from the Latin of John's son, the Revd Joseph Curr), propped up in the porch. As far as I know, it's still there.

Geoffrey White
(Retired Rector of Norton).

Re: RC Cathedral and information.


Aaaaah that explains and clears up a lot then.Thank you.

Many apologies for mine, my family's, and my ancestors walking over that grave plate in that entrance area in St Marie's Cathedral and wearing it out. It is a wonderful feeling to know that the place I was married was the same place as my parents, and a lot of my ancestors in Sheffield, some of which, on my so called assumed English side, I only found out recently were catholic and married and or baptised on that site (chapel or church) for many many years in early Sheffield. So were likely to be even earlier Irish immigrants than the wave from the famine via Liverpool much later. But then those thrills and feelings of belonging are what family history is all about.

Love it....keep up the good work y'all!!! With our eternal gratitude.