Supporting the stone seats on either side are two tombstones. Although very worn, one
still shows a floriated cross, the other two rings and a shaft. There are three more such
tombstones inside church, each bearing a floriated cross. One is on the north wall of the
nave immediately opposite the porch and the others are in the south-west corner. They
are probably late 131h century and were used to cover the remains of the early priors or
vicars of Ecclesfield. The ornamental crosses indicate both the faith and the
ecclesiastical rank of the deceased.
The arch on the wall of the porch dates from the thirteenth century and was found under
the nave during re-pewing in 1823-5. It was probably over a doorway in the Early English
Half hidden on the walls of many old churches can be found a strange figure — a face
surrounded by leaves. He is known as the 'Green Man'. Ecclesfield has several green
men in the roof bosses. Medieval masons could speak with their hands and it is
astonishing how many human feelings — malice, humour, fear or tranquillity have been
expressed by a few deft strokes of the chisel in this one figure.
There are several interesting and unique monuments and memorials in St Mary's. On the
north wall of the chancel is a tablet to the memory of the Reverend Dr Alfred Gatty, Vicar
of the parish 1839-1903. On the south wall are tablets to two former Vicars; the Revd
Mansell, 1693-1704 and the Revd Steer, Canon of York, 1708-1745.
In the nave there are 3 interesting wall tablets. First is one made of alabaster and
mosaic, in memory of Henry John Hawthorn, F.R.C.S. who died in 1903 after devoting 44
years of his life to the relief of sickness and suffering in the parish. On the north side is a
small marble tablet placed by more than a 1,000 children to the memory of Margaret
Gatty "as a token of gratitude for the many books she wrote for them". She was the wife
of a former vicar of Ecclesfield, Dr Alfred Gatty. She wrote Parables of Nature and
others. Below this tablet is one in marble and alabaster to the memory of Juliana Horatio
Ewing, Margaret Gatty's second daughter who was well known for her books
'Jackanapes, The Story of a Short Life and other stories'. The Brownie movement took its
name from one of her stories.
The font is octagonal in shape, as was the custom in Perpendicular churches. The eight
sides stand for the seven days of creation and the beginning of the new creation in Jesus
Christ. The eight panels are carved in strong relief. Four make up the year 1662,
alternated with a heart, a Fleur-de-lys, a lozenge and a Tudor rose. During extensive
alterations in 1823-5 the font was turned out into the churchyard to make way for an
inferior substitute by the south transept door. It was put back in church in 1852. The font's
position in the centre of church near the west doors indicates that it is through baptism
we begin our Christian life. The font continues to be used regularly for baptisms today.
The pulpit was given in 1876 in memory of William Frederick Dixon of Page Hall and his
wife by their surviving daughters. The four panels depict scenes from the life of St Paul.
These scenes were carved in Antwerp and the rest of the work was carried out locally.
The pulpit continues to be used as the gospel is brought to the present generation. The
lectern was also installed in 1876.
On the west wall and above the west door are several hatchments. These are framed
heraldic bearings of deceased gentry. They contain the coats of arms of various local
families, including the Shirecliffes and Foljambes - who have a memorial window, vault
and several tablets in the church.
On the north wall are the colours of the Ecclesfield Volunteers. There are also six of their
swords and 3 of the 4 original bugles. The Ecclesfield volunteers were 200 local men,
who were "raised in 1803 towards the defence of the country during the war with
Napoleon". These military relics were placed in the church on the restoration of peace.
Two olive branches engraved on the plate enclose the regimental motto "Nothing is
difficult to the brave and faithful".
In the south aisle is a Saxon Cross shaft and base stone. This is probably the remains of
a double memorial cross or preaching cross.
|Church History - Building and Fabric
|St Mary's - Floor Plan
|Floor Plans Showing Old - Stall, Gallery and Pew Layouts
The drawings whilst small still give a good impression of the 'Older' floor layouts.
|Floor Plan showing
'Family Stalls' long
showing the Galleries
before removal due to
|'Maximum Pews' layout
prior to organ