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Latitude: 52.0356 / 52°2'8"N
Longitude: -4.3972 / 4°23'49"W
OS Eastings: 235667
OS Northings: 240177
OS Grid: SN356401
Mapcode National: GBR DB.FXN5
Mapcode Global: VH3KN.Q3RB
Entry Name: Former P.O.W. Chapel at Henllan Caravan Park
Listing Date: 4 June 1996
Last Amended: 4 June 1996
Source ID: 17608
Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary
Location: Detached utilitarian building towards SE corner of caravan park, which is located on the E side of the B4334, 0.3 km SW of Henllan.
Traditional County: Cardiganshire
Built c1940, initially as a dormitory and converted shortly afterwards to a chapel for Italian prisoners of war. Formally dedicated in 1944. The site was a P.O.W. camp, set up c1940. The conversion of the building was carried out by the Italian prisoners, utilising basic materials, such as wood from cases, cement bags, tins and roofing felt. Paint was made by extracting natural dyes. The artist chiefly responsible for the painted schemes was Mario Felito.
Timber framed prefabricated structure, covered in bituminous felt (added metal sheeting to rear). Corrugated asbestos sheet roof. Front with boarded door: 8-pane metal casement window each side. Long sides each with eleven windows as above. Rear with paired 4-panel doors and 2-pane overlight.
Condition deteriorating at time of inspection (July 1995)
Divided into 9 bays by elliptical arches on pilasters which have moulded consoles. Small inner porch at N end, apse towards S end. The angular timber struts supporting the bays were inserted c1992. The N spandrel of each bay (i.e. facing entry) has painted decoration upon a ground of roofing felt, each spandrel with a roundel containing an illustration, flanked by symmetrical monochrome vinework. From N-S, the images are:- 1.inscription reading: "Caelestis vrbs Jervsalem Beata Pacis Visia"; 2.vase with spray of lilies; 3.the Dove; 4.Joseph and the Infant Christ; 5.celestial image of Virgin and Child; 6.chalice with grain and vines below and 7.Christ with the crown of thorns. The pilasters are of wood, covered in paper painted as white marble. The consoles are wooden, sheathed in tin with moulded tin cornice: painted as marble. Skirting painted as black marble. Painted figurative work as above over N door depicting the crossed keys. Cemented brick apse to S, whose domical ceiling has a painted scene representing the Last Supper. The coloured figures are relief-like, against a light blue backdrop. Above the apse is a small painted roundel depicting the Virgin, Child and infant St John.
Inner porch with paired swing doors to chapel and 4-panel door to each side. Painted metal plaque above N door reading: "Questa Ela Casa de Dio Ela Porta del Cielo". Above inner door is a painted plasterboard tablet reading: "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"
Fittings include a cast concrete communion rail, bowed out to centre opening: plain uprights and low step. Concrete polished and veined to imitate marble. Cast concrete altar with recessed front and concave sides: 3 tiers of moulded shelving, recessed to centre for Crucifix. Portable upper shelving in 3 sections, constructed of wood and covered in marble-painted paper. Two stage bullnosed footpace. Two side altars with timber framing covered in roof-felt. Set-back curved sides and plinth: painted monogram to front. Detachable tiered shelves. Simple painted timber lectern, plain wooden Bible-stand. Lesser fittings include about 30 candlesticks with wood uprights fronted by moulded tin (from food tins): they are similar in design, but vary in size. Tapering tin vases. Small wooden Crucifix.
Listed at II* as an unique and unusually elaborate example of a P.O.W. Chapel in Wales.
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