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Llandovery, Carmarthenshire.jpg
Monument to Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan at Llandovery
Llandovery is located in Carmarthenshire
Location within Carmarthenshire
Population2,065 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceSN763346
  • Llandovery
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtSA20
Dialling code01550
FireMid and West Wales
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
51°59′42″N 3°47′42″W / 51.995°N 3.795°W / 51.995; -3.795Coordinates: 51°59′42″N 3°47′42″W / 51.995°N 3.795°W / 51.995; -3.795

Llandovery (/lænˈdʌvəri/, [ɬan-]; Welsh: Llanymddyfri [ɬanəmˈðəvrɪ]) is a market town and community in Carmarthenshire, Wales. It lies on the River Tywi and at the junction of the A40 and A483 roads, about 25 miles (40 km) north-east of Carmarthen, 27 miles (43 km) north of Swansea and 21 miles (34 km) west of Brecon.



The name of the town derives from Llan ymlith y dyfroedd, meaning "church enclosure amid the waters", i. e. between the Tywi and the Afon Brân just upstream of their confluence. A smaller watercourse, the Bawddwr, runs through and under the town.

Roman legacy[edit]

The Roman fort at Llanfair Hill to the north-east of the modern town was known to the Romans as Alabum. It was built around AD 50–60 as part of a strategy for the conquest of Wales. A Roman road heads across Mynydd Bach Trecastell to the south-east of Llandovery bound for the fort of Brecon Gaer. Another heads down the Towy valley for Carmarthen, whilst a third makes for the goldmines at Dolaucothi.

Norman and medieval castle[edit]

Llandovery Castle, Carmarthenshire, by Henry Gastineau, seen about 1830

Attractions in the town include the remains of the Norman Llandovery Castle, built in 1110. It was almost immediately captured by the Welsh and changed hands between them and the Normans until the reign of King Edward I of England in the late 13th century. The castle was used by King Henry IV while on a sortie into Wales, when he executed Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan in the market place. It was later attacked by the forces of Owain Glyndŵr in 1403.

Welsh hero[edit]

A 16-foot-high (4.9 m) stainless-steel statue to Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan was unveiled in 2001 on the north side of Llandovery Castle, overlooking the place of his execution 600 years earlier. He had led the army of King Henry IV on a "wild goose chase", under the pretence of leading them to a secret rebel camp and an ambush of Glyndŵr's forces. King Henry lost patience with him, exposed the charade and had him half hanged, disembowelled in front of his own eyes, beheaded and quartered – the quarters salted and dispatched to other Welsh towns for public display.

The design of the statue, by Toby and Gideon Petersen, was chosen after a national competition. It was funded by the National Lottery and the Arts Council of Wales.

Other activity[edit]

According to folklore, the Physicians of Myddfai practised in the area in the 13th century.

The Bank of the Black Ox, one of the first Welsh banks, was established by a wealthy cattle drover. The original bank building was part of the King's Head Inn. It later became part of Lloyds Bank.[2]


Llandovery Town Hall

The town has a theatre (Llandovery Theatre), a heritage centre, a private school (Llandovery College) and a tourist information and heritage centre, which houses exhibitions on the Tonn Press, the area's droving history, and the 19th-century geologist Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, whose work here resulted in the name "Llandovery" being given to rocks of a certain age across the world. The Llandovery epoch is the earliest in the Silurian period of geological time.

In the small central market place stands Llandovery Town Hall (1857–1858) by the architect Richard Kyke Penson. This has a two-storey courtroom with open arcades in an Italianate style, over an open market. Behind are police cells with iron grilles and entry to the old courtroom (now a library) under a clock tower.[3] Many use Llandovery as a touring base for the western Brecon Beacons National Park immediately to the south of the town. For others it is a stop on the way to Pembrokeshire and West Wales. Motorcyclists congregate, particularly at weekends, at the West End Cafe in Broad Street, part of the A40.

The 12th-century Grade I listed St Mary's Church in the north of the town is among the largest medieval churches in Carmarthenshire.[4][5]

The Memorial Chapel in Stryd y Bont was built as a memorial to the hymnist William Williams Pantycelyn.

The population in 1841 was 1,709.[6]


The town's comprehensive school, Ysgol Pantycelyn, with about 300 pupils,[7] was closed on 31 August 2013[8] and merged with Ysgol Tre-Gib in Ffairfach to form Ysgol Bro Dinefwr.

The town has an independent day and boarding school, Llandovery College.


Llandovery has a leading Welsh Premiership rugby union team, Llandovery RFC, nicknamed The Drovers, active as such since at least 1877 and a founder member of the Welsh Rugby Union. It has successful junior and youth sections. A number of former players have gone on to represent Wales (and some other nations) in international rugby. Home games are played at its ground in Church Bank.

Llandovery Junior Football Club has a membership of over 70 from Llandovery and its surrounding area. It provides coaching and competitive scope for all aged 6 to 16 years. The club currently has an Under 14 team in the Carmarthenshire Junior League, and Under 11 and Under 8 teams playing in the Carmarthen Mini Football League.

A Llandovery Golf Club, founded in 1910, survived until the onset of the Second World War.[9] Golfing now takes place on the Llandovery College 9-hole course.[10]


An electoral ward of the same name exists. This covers Llandovery and stretches to the north. The total ward population taken at the 2011 Census was 2,689.[11] The community is bordered by those of Llanfair-ar-y-bryn, Myddfai, Llanwrda, and Cilycwm, all being in Carmarthenshire. As of May 2019, the mayor of Llandovery is Councillor Louise Wride.

Llandovery is twinned with Pluguffan in Brittany, France.


Llandovery stands at the junction of the main A40 and A483 roads.

Llandovery railway station is on the Heart of Wales line, with services in the direction of Swansea and of Shrewsbury.

Notable residents[edit]

In date-of-birth order. See also Category:People from Llandovery

Llandovery from the south

Nearby places[edit]

The Dolaucothi Gold Mines are located 10 miles (16 km) away near Pumpsaint on the A482. The road follows an original Roman road to Llanio fort.

Llandovery lies just north of Brecon Beacons National Park and Fforest Fawr Geopark, whose geological heritage is celebrated. These designated landscapes are centred on Bannau Sir Gâr or the Carmarthen Fans, themselves part of the Black Mountain extending north towards the town, as Mynydd Myddfai and Mynydd Bach Trecastell. The village of Myddfai lies within the National Park, 4 miles (6 km) to the south-east of Llandovery.

The Llyn Brianne dam is 11 miles (18 km) to the north is in rugged countryside above Rhandirmwyn. The route to the dam also passes Twm Siôn Cati's Cave at the RSPB's Dinas reserve.


  1. ^ "Community population 2011". Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  2. ^ "David Jones, his family and the history of Banking". Llandovery History Society. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  3. ^ T. Lloyd, et al, Buildings of Wales: Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, 2006, p. 258.
  4. ^ "Church of St Mary, Llandovery". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  5. ^ "St Mary's Church". Coflein Database Record. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  6. ^ The Cyclopaedia of Useful Knowledge Vol. III, London (1847), Charles Knight, p. 1,013.
  7. ^ "Carmarthenshire schools: Flood fears over Ffairfach site". BBC News. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Ysgol Gyfun Pantycelyn". Gov.uk. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Llandovery Golf Club, Carmarthenshire". Golf’s Missing Links. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  10. ^ "Llandovery golf facilities improved thanks to Ryder Cup". Sport Wales. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  11. ^ "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  12. ^ George Borrow, Wild Wales: Its People, Language and Scenery, Chapter 93.
  13. ^ Casglu'r Tlysau. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  14. ^ [Glyn Tegai Hughes, Meic Stephens and R. Brinley Jones, eds, Writers of Wales – Williams Pantycelyn, University Press of Wales on behalf of the Welsh Arts Council, 1983.
  15. ^ Selwyn Jones, "Rees, Rice (1804–1839), cleric and scholar", Welsh Biography Online. National Library of Wales.
  16. ^ Dictionary of Welsh Biography. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  17. ^ Election intelligence in The Times, 2 April 1857; 11 April 1859.
  18. ^ "Deaths", Western Mail, Cardiff, 6 July 1869.
  19. ^ "The General Election", Western Mail, Cardiff, 10 March 1880.
  20. ^ "Deaths", Western Mail, Cardiff, 6 July 1869.
  21. ^ "Sudden Death of Mr Jones, Bluenose, Llandovery", Weekly Mail, 6 March 1886, p. 7.
  22. ^ David Watkins, 2008, Sporting Highlights of Merthyr Tydfil, Merthyr Tydfil: TCC Books. ISBN 0-9539376-6-6.
  23. ^ David Smith and Gareth Williams, 1980, Fields of Praise: The Official History of The Welsh Rugby Union. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 0-7083-0766-3, pp. 40 and 57.
  24. ^ "Conway Rees". WRU Searchable Player Archive. Welsh Rugby Union. Retrieved 13 May 2008.
  25. ^ Obituary, The Times, 18 March 1941.
  26. ^ "Carwyn Davies - Wales". ESPN.co.uk. Retrieved 4 January 2015.

External links[edit]