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Brecknockshire Churches Survey

Church of St Mary , Capel-y-ffin

Capel-y-ffin Church is in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, in the community of Llanigon in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SO2548031525.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 15876 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.


St Mary's church at Capel-y-ffin ('the chapel on the boundary') is a small rectangular structure, little more than 8m long internally. It shelters in the Vale of Ewyas about 6 miles south of Hay-on-Wye, its date of origin is unknown though the present structure is 18thC, and it contains a probable medieval font and some 18thC wooden furnishings.

Simple structure said to date from 1762 with a porch added in 1817.

Parts of the following description are quoted from the 1979 publication The Buildings of Wales: Powys by Richard Haslam


The chapel was built in 1762, replacing an earlier chapel of which nothing remains. However, there are gravestones of the earlier 18thC and the churchyard cross as reminders of an earlier chapel-of-ease, and it is conceivable that the font was an original fitting and not an import from elsewhere.

The porch was added in 1817.

In 1908 Capel-y-ffin was described as "still a chapel-of-ease...a small building of stone with a turret and one bell...surrounded by some fine yews".


The chapel consists of a single cell with a central south porch. It is aligned south-west/north-east but 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted here.

Fabric: rubble masonry, dressed stones for jambs, but the whole is whitewashed.

Roofs: shale slab tiles with reconstituted clay ridge tiles.

Drainage: no evidence of drainage trenches.


Nave and chancel. North wall: single small rectangular window with wooden frame and stone lintel.

East wall: two-centred arched window, no jambs, wooden frame, seven lights, slight evidence of a relieving arch.

South wall: east of the porch is a rectangular window of four lights in a wooden frame with a wooden lintel. Either side of this is a mural tablet (1736 to the east, 1776 to the west). West of the porch is a small rectangular window divided into six panes in a wooden frame with a wooden lintel.

West wall: plain wall. Above it is a timber bellcote, all four sides weather-boarded, the upper part outset, and capped by a pyramidal roof with shale tiles and lead flashing.

Porch. East and west walls: plain.

South wall: doorway has a segmental arch of unpainted stone and under this a wooden frame with two wooden gates. Over the doorway is a square stone plaque carrying the date 1817.


Porch. General. Flagged floor; walls plastered and whitewashed; roof ceiled.

North wall: rectangular doorway with 18thC oak plank door painted red, as is the frame; cross above with wooden inscription.

East and west walls: stone slab bench.

Nave and chancel. General. Floor carpeted. Walls plastered and whitewashed; all windows slightly splayed. Roof has two low collars visible, bolted to principal rafters, but otherwise ceiled. Late 18thC gallery against north and west walls served by stairs running up from south-west corner, and supported on stout chamfered posts.

East wall: window glass has an inscription referring to 1991 restoration.

South wall: brass of 1897.


The churchyard is of irregular form with two fairly straight sides on the north and east and a slightly more curving boundary on the other sides. It is sited on gently sloping ground, a spur between the valleys of Afon Honddu on the north-east and Nant Bwch on the south.

The graveyard is well maintained and is still used for burial.

Boundary: a well-made drystone wall capped with flat slabs.

Monuments: all lie to the south and west of the church. They are well spread but reasonably frequent, and the earliest date back to the 1730s.

Furniture: irregular rectangular shaft of a medieval churchyard cross. Set in a boulder in recent times.

Earthworks: none.

Ancillary features: single wooden gate gives entry from south-west with tarmac path to porch. Vertical slab stiles in north-west corner and on east side.

Vegetation: seven large yews and one smaller one together with a couple of larger deciduous trees, mainly around the southern perimeter.

Sources consulted

Cadw Schedule of Listed Buildings: 1995
Church Guide 1982
CPAT Field Visit: 24 November 1995
Dawson 1909, 55
Haslam 1979, 307
Jones and Bailey 1911, iii, 108
NMR Aberystwyth
Click here to view full project bibliography

Please note that many rural churches are closed to the public at certain times. It is advisable to check when the church will be open before visiting. Information about access, or how to contact parish clergy, can often be obtained from the relevant Diocesan Office which can be found through the Church in Wales website. Further information about Capel-y-ffin Church may also be found on the Swansea and Brecon Diocese website.

The CPAT Brecknockshire Churches Survey Project was funded by Cadw as part of an all Wales survey of medieval parish churches.

This HTML page has been generated from the Cadw Churches Survey database & CPAT's Regional Historic Environment Record - 17/07/2007 ( 22:00:34 ).
Further information about this and other churches surveyed is available from the Regional Historic Environment Record, Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 7a Church Street, Welshpool, Powys, SY21 7DL tel - (01938) 553670, fax - (01938) 552179, email -, website -

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