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Capel Eidalwyr, Henllan Bridge Prisoner Of War Camp, Henllan

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Capel Eidalwyr is a Catholic chapel, situated at Henllan Bridge Prisoner Of War camp (NPRN 419278). The chapel was formally dedicated in 1944. It contains a number of wallpaintings of Italianate baroque style, chiefly produced by Mario Felito. The paint was made by extracting natural dyes.

The chapel, a Grade II* listed building, is a timber-framed prefabricated structure. It was constructed around 1940 as a dormitory, and shortly afterwards converted to a chapel for the Italian prisoners of war. Conversion was carried out by the POWs, who utilised basic materials, such as wood from cases, cement bags, tins and roofing felt. The building is covered in bituminous felt, with added metal sheeting to the rear. The front elevation has a boarded door, with an eight-pane metal casement window either side. The side elevations each have eleven eight-pane windows. The rear has a pair of four-panel doors and a two-pane overlight. The chapel has an inner porch with paired swing doors. A painted metal plaque above the north door reads 'Questa Ela Casa de Dio Ela Porta del Cielo'. A painted plasterboard tablet above the innner door reads 'Al Chore sacratissimo di Gesu via Verita e vita di tutte le Genti Prigionieri Italiani a Testimonianza di Fede Dedicano. 70 P.O.W. Camp 3-9-44'. The interior is divided into nine bays by elliptical arches on pilasters with moulded consoles. The pilasters are of wood, covered in paper painted as white marble. The consoles are wood sheathed in tin, with moulded tin cornices painted as marble. The north spandrel of each bay has painted decoration on a ground of roofing felt, each with a roundel containing an illustration flanked by symmetrical monochrome vinework.
The skirting is painted to look like black marble. There is a cemented brick south apse, whose domical ceiling has a painted scene representing the Last Supper. Above the apse is a small painted roundel depicting the Virgin, Child and infant St John. Fittings include a cast concrete communion rail, polished and veined to imitate marble. The alter, also of cast concrete, has a recessed front and concave sides, with three tiers of moulded shelving, recessed to the centre for a crucifix. There are two side altars with timber framing covered in roof-felt. There is a simple painted timber lectern, and a plain wooden Bible-stand. Fittings also include about 30 candlesticks with wood uprights fronted by moulded tin (from food tins), tapering tin vases and a small wooden Crucifix. The angular timber struts supporting the bays were inserted around 1992. The church is reportedly in urgent need of restoration and preservation.

Sources include:
Cadw, Listed Buildings Database
http://www.welshitalians.com/henllan-chapel

RCAHMW, 27 August 2013