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Llandovery, Carmarthenshire

Historical Description

Llandovery, a market-town, a township, a municipal borough, the head of a poor-law union, and county court district in Carmarthenshire. The town is in Llandingat parish, stands on the river Bran about a mile above its influx to the Towy, and is near the site of the Roman station at Llanfair-ar-y-Bryn on the Sam Helen Way, 26 miles NE of Carmarthen and 242 from London. Its situation is very tine, in a well-watered valley, encircled by hills clothed with wood. Its name was originally Llan-ym-Ddyfri, signifying " the church among the waters," and alluding to its position near the confluence of several streams, and was corrupted first Into Llanymthevery and then into Llandovery. The town is thought by some writers to have originated in the neighbouring Roman station, but it more probably sprang from acastle which was founded at it soon after the Norman Conquest. The castle was held in 1160 by Richard de Pons, was taken in 1208 by Rhys Vychan, was taken again in the time of Edward I. by Rhys ap Meredydd, made some figure in the Civil Wars of Charles I., and was dismantled by Cromwell. Some remains of it, consisting of part of the keep and outworks, still stand on a knoll nearly in the centre of the town, and present a picturesque appearance. The town comprises one main street and some smaller streets. A curious house at its E end was built in 1620 by Pritchard, a celebrated vicar of Llandingat and a poet. The Town-hall, built in 1857, stands in the centre of the town, and is used for municipal offices, county courts, petty sessions, &c.; thecorn market is held in the basement. The general market-house is adjacent. The church of Llandingat, with a Perpendicular tower, is in the town, and the church of Llanfair is on the N. The latter was formerly the parish church of Llanfair-ar-y-Bryn, but a new church having been built for that parish, it is now used as a chapel of ease to Llandingat parish church. In the churchyard of Llanfair church is a handsome granite monument, erected in 1887 to the memory of Rev William Williams, a celebrated Welsh poet who died in 1792. There are Baptist, Congregational, and Calvinistic Methodist chapels. The Collegiate Institution was founded by Mr T. Philips, of Brunswick Square, London; is a handsome edifice in the Tudor style; and provides a good education for Welsh bbys. The town has a head post office (R.S.O.), A station on the G.W.R. and L. & N.W.R., and two banks; it is a seat of petty sessions and county courts. A weekly market is held on Friday, and fairs are held on 16 Jan., 16 Feb., 24 March, 17 April, 15 May, 19 June, 8 July, 2 Aug., 8 Sept., 22 Oct., 16 Nov., and 15 Dec. There are two small breweries. The town was incorporated by Richard III.; is traditionally said, but without evidence, to have contributed with Carmarthen in sending a member to Parliament; and is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors. Its limits and those of the township are conterminate. Population, 1728. The workhouse is at Llandingat.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Carmarthenshire is available to browse.

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers online: