A History of the County of York: the City of York. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1961.

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, 'Newspapers', in A History of the County of York: the City of York, (London, 1961) pp. 537-541. British History Online [accessed 25 May 2024].

. "Newspapers", in A History of the County of York: the City of York, (London, 1961) 537-541. British History Online, accessed May 25, 2024,

. "Newspapers", A History of the County of York: the City of York, (London, 1961). 537-541. British History Online. Web. 25 May 2024,

In this section


The York Mercury.

The city's first newspaper, the York Mercury, was printed by Grace White, the proprietor of her late husband's printing house in Coffee Yard, Stonegate. The first number appeared on 23 February 1719. In January 1721 the printing house and newspaper came into the possession of Charles Bourne, following the death of Grace White, and in 1724 Thomas Gent acquired them by his marriage with Bourne's widow. Gent's first issue, for the week 16-23 November 1724, appeared under the new title of the Original York Journal, or Weekly Courant; by 1728 he had renamed it the Original Mercury, York Journal, or Weekly Courant; and it continued to be published until at least 1739. Under Grace White and Bourne the paper contained twelve small quarto pages; Gent's paper of 1728 contained four pages. (fn. 1)

Thomas Gent published and wrote several works in London before his acquisition of the Coffee Yard press; in 1742 he moved his press to a house in Petergate. In York he suffered greatly from the competition of the press and newspaper established by John White in 1725; nevertheless, a large number of books was printed and published by Gent. Among his own works were several of antiquarian interest, notably his History of York. (fn. 2)

The York Courant.

As a result of the hostility between himself and Gent, John White (printer and bookseller of Newcastle and son of Grace and John White) established a press in Stonegate, near St. Helen's Church, and the first number of his newspaper, the York Courant, appeared in August or September 1725. In 1734 White sold his business to John Gilfillan; it later came into the possession of Alexander Staples of London who moved the press to Coney Street, almost opposite St. Martin's Church; Staple's business failed in 1738 and the press passed to Caesar Ward and Richard Chandler. The newspaper was published in Ward's sole name. Indiscretions of Chandler and the resultant bankruptcy of the firm led to Ward's sale of the printing house in 1745; the York Courant of 25 June was published by Ward's former assistant, Richard Bucktrout. With the help of the historian Francis Drake and others, Ward was able to re-establish his business, and by 4 February 1746 the York Courant was again appearing under his name. It was Ward's successful management of the newspaper which forced Gent to discontinue his own paper. In 1745 Ward was reprimanded by the Speaker of the House of Commons for contemptuous reporting of parliamentary proceedings. Under White the York Courant was a four-page quarto; under Staples and Ward it was a four-page folio. (fn. 3)

Caesar Ward was succeeded at his death in 1759 by his widow Ann who moved the press to a house next to the George Inn, on the opposite side of Coney Street. In 1788 Ann Ward took George Peacock into partnership, and the York Courant, still containing four pages, was published in their joint names. After Ann Ward's death in 1789, Peacock remained as sole proprietor until 1809 when he was succeeded by his son Caesar who published the paper until 1819. For six weeks in December 1819 and January 1820 the paper was printed and published by Ann Peacock but she was then succeeded by Henry Cobb; he renamed the paper the York Courant and Original Advertiser, and it was published under that title until 27 April 1848. The paper had in 1815 been bought by the proprietor of the York Herald, and it was amalgamated with that paper in 1848. The York Courant had remained a four-page paper until 24 March 1829 when it was increased to eight pages. (fn. 4)

The York Gazetteer.

Perhaps with the intention of replacing Gent's newspaper, which ceased publication at about this time, John Jackson, printer, began in 1740 to publish a new weekly journal, the York Gazetteer, from his office in Petergate. The paper was not long in existence: it was announced on 4 August 1752 that the publisher had been persuaded to cease publication. The York Gazetteer contained four pages. (fn. 5)

The York Journal.

John Gilfillan took over the printing house in Coffee Yard, vacated by Gent in 1742, and the first number of his York Journal, or the Weekly Advertiser appeared in November 1745. By April 1746 it had been renamed the York Journal, or the Protestant Courant, and by December 1749 the Protestant York Courant. From early in 1752 the paper was printed for Isabella Gilfillan; it was still published in 1753 but nothing is known of its demise. The York Journal contained four pages. (fn. 6)

The York Chronicle.

In 1772 the York Chronicle was established as a rival to the York Courant, the only newspaper then published in the city. The new paper was published weekly by Christopher Etherington, bookseller and publisher, at his press in Coppergate, and the first number appeared on 18 December 1772 under the title of the York Chronicle and Weekly Advertiser. It was at first an eight-page quarto. Etherington produced 3,000 copies of each of the first two numbers and distributed them free of charge; a price of 2½d. was fixed for the 1,650 copies of the third number. The circulation did not reach 2,500 until 1774, in which year the paper was renamed Etherington's York Chronicle; it was then a four-page folio. The circulation subsequently fell below 1,900 in May 1775, and decreased further as a result of an increase of ½d. in the price of the paper which followed the increased newspaper duty of 1776. With this increase in price, the paper was renamed Etherington's York Chronicle, or the Northern Flying Post and General Advertiser. The last number appeared on 24 January 1777 following Etherington's bankruptcy.

The paper continued to be published with the omission of Etherington's name from the title until, on 21 February 1777, it was published by William Blanchard as the York Chronicle and General Advertiser. In 1836, as the York Chronicle and Northern Standard, the paper was published by Henry Bellerby. The York Chronicle was bought by the proprietors of the Yorkshire Gazette in 1839. (fn. 7)

The York Herald.

The York Herald and County Advertiser was first published on 2 January 1790 from an office in High Ousegate by Messrs. Wilson, Spence, and Mawman. In October 1795 Joseph Mawman acquired the sole interest in the concern; he was succeeded in October 1799 by Alexander Bartholoman. After Bartholoman's death in 1811, the paper was printed for a short time by his widow, Mary, until on 8 June it appeared under the names of John Spence and Thomas Deighton. The York Herald's annual net profits at this time were claimed to be between £1,000 and £1,500. In October 1811 the printing office was moved to Spence's establishment adjacent to the former office, and by November the paper's title had been changed to the York Herald, County and General Advertiser. The paper was subsequently controlled by a succession of partnerships, but on 31 July 1813 it was for the first time said to be published by 'Hargrove and Company'; the publishers in February 1820 were William and John Hargrove and Henry Cobb. (fn. 8)

William and John Hargrove continued as pub lishers until July 1848; William was thenceforth sole publisher until in January 1856 William Wallace Hargrove and Alfred Hargrove were admitted as partners with their father. Alfred had been on the paper's staff since 1841 and William Wallace since 1843. William Hargrove died in 1862, and in 1873 Alfred retired (daunted by his brother's plan to publish the paper daily), leaving W. W. Hargrove, as sole proprietor, to found the York Herald Newspaper Company Ltd. in the following year. The Hargroves' paper was printed in Coney Street at the former office of the York Courant which had been bought by William Hargrove in 1815; the sales advertising office remained in Pavement for some years after the removal of the presses to Coney Street.

The York Herald of 1790 contained four pages, increased to eight in 1843 and twelve in 1855. In 1858 the Yorkshireman was incorporated with the Herald. In 1869 W. W. and A. E. Hargrove founded the weekly Yorkshire Telegraph in order to test the popularity of a 1d. newspaper, (fn. 9) and in 1871 the Yorkshire Advertiser was incorporated with the Telegraph. The success of the experiment with a 1d. weekly led to the York Herald's becoming a 1d. daily with four pages on 1 January 1874; by February it had been increased to eight pages. An eight-page weekly paper continued to be published as a supplement to the daily paper, however. The Yorkshire Telegraph was incorporated with the York Herald on 1 January 1877; and in 1882 W. W. Hargrove founded the Yorkshire Evening Press, its first number appearing on 2 October. (fn. 10)

In the Herald's centenary year, 1890, its title was changed to the Yorkshire Herald, and during subsequent years its size was occasionally increased from eight to ten pages for individual numbers. W. W. Hargrove retired in 1899 and died in 1918. The Yorkshire Weekly Herald was published as a Saturday supplement to the daily paper until 1 December 1933, when it appeared as a separate twelve-page publication. The daily paper was discontinued on 31 December 1936, and from 2 January 1937 the weekly paper was known as the Yorkshire Herald. (fn. 11)

The York Herald Newspaper Company founded in 1874 had had Lord Wenlock as its chairman, with W. W. Hargrove as vice-chairman. Sir Wilfrid Home Thomson acquired control of the company in the early 1900's, and he was succeeded at his death in 1939 by his son Sir Ivo. On 31 January 1945 Kemsley Newspapers bought the Yorkshire Herald and incorporated it into their group, but retaining Sir Ivo Thomson as managing director of the Yorkshire Herald Newspaper Company. In 1953 Kemsley Newspapers sold the Herald (together with the Yorkshire Evening Press) to the Westminster Press Provincial Newspaper Company; J. B. Morrell, Esq., was then the appointed chairman of the Yorkshire Herald Newspaper Company. On 25 June 1954 the first number of the combined Yorkshire Herald and Yorkshire Gazette appeared as the Yorkshire Gazette and Herald. (fn. 12)

William Hargrove (1788-1862) made perhaps his biggest contribution to civic affairs through the York Herald; but his activities were numerous, and he played a leading part inter alia in the preservation of the city walls, the construction of the Parliament Street market, and the establishment of the modern cattle market. In 1818 he published his History of York. The contribution of William Wallace Hargrove (1826-1918) was similarly crowned by his work for the York Herald. Among his other interests, that in art led him to be instrumental in the Burton collection being given to the city; and in 1893 he was appointed a J.P. for the city. Alfred Ely Hargrove (1824-94) played a prominent part in political life and was Lord Mayor of York in 1868. (fn. 13)

The Yorkshire Gazette.

A group of members of the York Book Society formed a joint stock company in 1819 in order to establish the Yorkshire Gazette; their publisher and manager was John Wolstenholme, bookseller, and the first number appeared on 24 April 1819, printed at an office in Pavement. On 19 July 1828 the paper was for the first time printed and published by Henry Bellerby, bookseller, who remained as publisher until 1851. The office was moved to Coppergate in January 1831 and to High Ousegate in April 1843.

The Yorkshire Gazette at first contained four pages; it was increased to eight in July 1838 and to twelve in July 1855. In 1839 the York Chronicle was purchased and, after being published separately for a few months, incorporated with the Gazette. On 3 January 1852 James Lancelot Foster succeeded Bellerby as publisher and retained that position until December 1882.

In January 1883 the Yorkshire Gazette was taken over by the North and East Yorkshire Conservative Newspaper and Printing Company Ltd. The first daily Yorkshire Gazette, containing eight pages, appeared on 14 May 1884, with an eight-page weekly supplement on Saturdays. After two changes in its status during 1885, the Gazette became a weekly paper once again in January 1886, and contained twelve pages. After several changes the number of pages was increased to sixteen in March 1905.

In 1898 the proprietor was said to be the Yorkshire Gazette Ltd., but in 1905 the paper was taken over by the North of England Newspaper Company whose first number appeared on 11 March. The office was then in Spurriergate; it was moved to Coppergate in April 1906 and to Castlegate in August 1913. Many changes in the size of the paper subsequently took place. The Malton Gazette was incorporated with the Yorkshire Gazette in October 1905, and the South Durham and Cleveland Mercury followed in October 1906. In 1954 the Yorkshire Gazette was amalgamated with the Yorkshire Herald. (fn. 14)

The Yorkshire Observer.

In October 1822 Philip Francis Sidney announced his intention of publishing a weekly newspaper called the Yorkshire Observer. The first number appeared on 2 November 1822; it was printed in Coney Street by R. Johnson and its editorial office was in Stonegate. The number of 19 April 1823 announced that Johnson had become the proprietor of the paper; he attempted to avoid the payment of stamp duty and was consequently forced to cease publication, the last number appearing on 14 June 1823. The Observer contained eight pages. (fn. 15)

A second paper of this name appeared late in the 19th century. The Malton Mail was established in October 1898 and published in York, but in February 1899 its title was changed to the Yorkshire Observer. It was a four-page weekly, printed and published by T. A. J. Waddington, at first in Cumberland Street and later in Mansfield Street. In 1904 the paper's name became the Yorkshire News; it was still being published in 1938, and had been produced by Waddington in Mansfield Street until at least 1929. (fn. 16) It did not survive the Second World War.

The Yorkshireman.

In 1834, 200 gentlemen established a joint stock company for the publication of a new paper which, they said, was necessitated by the shortcomings of existing newspapers. The Yorkshireman, a weekly paper, appeared on 29 March 1834, printed and published by Jane Deighton and Joseph Moxon at an office in Coppergate; by February 1836 Moxon was the sole printer and publisher. During that year the office was moved to Parliament Street. The Yorkshireman was incorporated with the York Herald in 1858.

The paper at first contained four pages, increased to eight in July 1837; in 1855 and 1856 a four-page Wednesday number was published in addition to the eight-page Saturday issue. (fn. 17)

The Farmers' Friend and Freemen's Journal.

More of an advertising sheet than a newspaper, the Journal was established in January 1850 by Henry Fairburn in Little Stonegate; 500 copies were distributed, free of charge, each week. The Journal may perhaps be regarded as the successor to Fairburn's York Monthly Advertiser, which had appeared throughout 1849, and it was in its turn succeeded by the York Free Press in June 1855. (fn. 18) It is not known how long this latter paper was published. Henry Fairburn was also proprietor of the weekly York Times, twenty-one numbers of which were published in 1855. (fn. 19)

Yorkshire Advertiser.

The weekly Yorkshire Advertiser first appeared in March 1859; in 1867 it was published by James Chapman in Little Stonegate. It was incorporated with the Yorkshire Telegraph in July 1871. (fn. 20)

The Yorkshire Chronicle.

A weekly paper, the Yorkshire Chronicle, is said to have been established in 1855; the proprietor and publisher was George Baskett and the office was in Castlegate. By 1885 the paper was published by Richard Storey, under Baskett's proprietorship. Baskett also produced the Ripon and Richmond Chronicle which was printed at the same office. (fn. 21)

In 1888 the paper first appeared as the Yorkshire Daily Chronicle, and 1889 the Yorkshire, Ripon, and Richmond Chronicle was published weekly from the same office. In 1888 the Daily Chronicle was printed and published by Arthur Marchmont, at an office in Stonegate, for the York News Printing and Publishing Company; Marchmont had been succeeded by Richard Storey in 1891. The final number appeared on 7 January 1893 when readers were recommended to transfer their patronage to the Yorkshire Weekly Chronicle—presumably the Yorkshire, Ripon and Richmond Chronicle. However, the Weekly Chronicle may itself have ceased publication by April 1893 when the office in Stonegate is said to have been vacated. (fn. 22)

Delittle & Company, printers, bought the goodwill of the Chronicle and continued publication under the title of the Yorkshire Chronicle and Delittle's York Advertiser; Delittle's erroneously claimed that their paper succeeded the York Chronicle (established in 1772) and they used its foundation date and numbering. The editor of the new paper was Thomas Storey, and the office (in 1894) was in Railway Street; T. P. Cooper acted as editor for three weeks in March and April 1898 before James Linnett took over. Cooper (1863-1937) became a noted York antiquary, compiling many works on its literary and historical associations, and wrote a number of fictional stories; his chief works were The History of the Castle of York and York, the Story of its Walls, Bars and Castles. (fn. 23) From at least 1901 until 1914 the proprietors were Delittle, Fenwick & Company. Publication appears to have ceased in or soon after 1914: the paper did not survive the First World War. (fn. 24)

A second paper was published, probably for a short period only, by Delittle at Railway Street. The one known surviving copy of this York Advertiser and Mid-Weekly Record is of 1892 (fn. 25) and the paper may therefore have been replaced by the Yorkshire Chronicle and Delittle's York Advertiser which first appeared in the following year.

The Thirks and District News.

A newspaper for the Thirsk (N.R.) district was first published in 1897 from an office in York. In 1929 it was pub lished by T. A. J. Waddington in Mansfield Street, and it was still published in 1938. (fn. 26) It did not survive the Second World War.

The Yorkshire Independent.

Following his resignation as editor of the Yorkshire Chronicle and Delittle's York Advertiser in 1898, Thomas Storey published the first number of the Yorkshire Independent on 18 April that year; the last number appeared on 1 November 1898. (fn. 27)

The York Sentinel.

From 1893 to 1896 a weekly paper, the York Sentinel, was published and printed by Rusholme and Whitehead of Skeldergate. It was continued until 1898 as the Weekly Sentinel. (fn. 28)

The Yorkshire Express.

Isaac Rowntree printed the first Yorkshire Express in September 1868; the last number appeared in March 1870. (fn. 29)

The York Star.

The first number of the York Star appeared on 2 February 1910; in 1919 it was printed and published by T. A. J. Waddington in Mansfield Street. It was a weekly paper and in 1919 contained four pages. It was still published by Waddington in 1929, and appeared until at least 1938. It did not survive the Second World War. (fn. 30)

The York Weekly Mail.

The first number of the York Weekly Mail appeared on 2 October 1924, printed and published by John Elliker at his Hull Road printing works. It was still published in March 1926 but probably not thereafter. (fn. 31)


  • 1. R. Davies, Memoir of the York Press (1868), 132-3, 139, 143, 159-60, 199; the earliest copy preserved in York Pub. Libr. is dated 27 Aug. 1722, and there are copies from 1723 and 1724.
  • 2. Davies, Mem. York Press, 144 sqq.
  • 3. Davies, Mem. York Press, 199,233,236-8,241-2,247-8, 261; York Courant files in York Pub. Libr.: these cover, though with gaps, the years 1728-35, 1742-74, 1778-86, 1790-95, and 1799-1848.
  • 4. Davies, Mem. York Press, 260-1, 311; York Courant files in York Pub. Libr.
  • 5. Davies, Mem. York Press, 314-15; York Courant, 4 Aug. 1752; 6 copies of the York Gazetteer from 1745 are preserved in York Pub. Libr.
  • 6. Davies, Mem. York Press, 321, 323; several copies of the York Journal, dated between Dec. 1745 and Apr. 1753, are preserved in York Pub. Libr.
  • 7. Davies, Mem. York Press, 331-4; Hargrove, Hist. York, ii. 261; copies of the York Chronicle preserved in York Pub. Libr. cover, with some gaps, the years 17721834, and there is one copy from 1836.
  • 8. Hargrove, Hist. York, ii. 272; T. P. Cooper, 'York newspapers, printers, booksellers, authors, artists, &c.' (scrapbk. in York Pub. Libr.), 83-84, 130; Centenary of York Herald, 1890 (pamphlet in York Pub. Libr.); York Herald, files in York Pub. Libr.
  • 9. Some copies of the Yorkshire Telegraph are preserved in York Pub. Libr.
  • 10. Copies of the Yorkshire Evening Press for the years 1882-1930 and 1937 onwards are preserved in York Pub. Libr.
  • 11. Cooper, 'York newspapers, &c.', 126, 130; 'York Authors, printers and booksellers' (scrapbk. in York Pub. Libr.), 53; Centenary York Herald, 1890; Anon. Progress of Brit. Newspapers in 19th Cent. Illus. (London, 1901); York Herald files in York Pub. Libr.
  • 12. Yorks. Eve. Press, 13 Dec. 1955; complete files of the York Herald and its successors are preserved in York Pub. Libr.
  • 13. York Herald, 6 Sept. 1862; Yorks. Herald, 4 Oct. 1918; Yorks. Gaz. 6 Jan. 1894.
  • 14. Cooper, 'York Authors, &c.', 88-92; Yorkshire Gazette files in York Pub. Libr.: the files are complete.
  • 15. Cooper, 'York newspapers, &c.', 55; 'York authors, &c.', 80; the files preserved in York Pub. Libr. are complete.
  • 16. Tercentenary Handlist of Eng. and Welsh Newspapers, Magazines and Reviews (1920), 301; Kelly's Dir. N. and E.R. and York (1929), 106; York City Year Bk. (1938), 217; 2 copies each of the Yorkshire Observer and Yorkshire News are preserved in York Pub. Libr.
  • 17. Sheahan and Whellan, Hist. York and E.R. i. 624; Cooper, 'York newspapers, &c.', 131; Yorks. Gaz. 18 Jan. 1834; Yorkshireman files in York Pub. Libr.: they are complete.
  • 18. Sheahan and Whellan, Hist. York and E.R. i. 624; Tercentenary Handlist, 235.
  • 19. Tercentenary Handlist, 252.
  • 20. Ibid. 245; Centenary York Herald, 1890; W. White, Dir. Hull. York, &c. (1867), 474.
  • 21. Johnson and Tesseyman, Dir. York (1872), 327; G. Stevens, Dir. York (1885), 58; Kelly's Dir. E. and N.R. and York (1889), 10; some copies of the Ripon and Rich. Chronicle from the years 1877 to 1887 are preserved in York Pub. Libr.
  • 22. Tercentenary Handlist, 283; Kelly's Dir. E. and N.R. and York (1889), 10; 6 copies of the Yorkshire Daily Chronicle from the years 1888 to 1893 are preserved in York Pub. Libr.; Cooper, 'York newspapers, &c.', 113.
  • 23. Yorks. Gaz. 21 May, 1937.
  • 24. Cooper, 'York newspapers, &c.', 63; 'York authors, &c.', 80; 5 copies of Delittle's paper from the years 1894 to 1909 are preserved in York Pub. Libr.
  • 25. York Pub. Libr.
  • 26. Tercentenary Handlist, 298; Kelly's Dir. N. and E.R. and York (1929), 106; York City Year Bok (1938), 217.
  • 27. Cooper, 'York newspapers, &c.', 60.
  • 28. Tercentenary Handlist, 294; copies are preserved in York Pub. Libr.
  • 29. Tercentenary Handlist, 253; three copies from 1868 are preserved in York Pub. Libr.
  • 30. Tercentenary Handlist, 317; Cooper, 'York newspapers, &c.', 138-9; Kelly's Dir. N. and E.R. and York (1929), 106; York City Year Book (1938), 217.
  • 31. Cooper, 'York newspapers, &c.', 106; 'York authors, &c.', 137; the first copy is preserved in York Pub. Libr.