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