western flying post or yeovil mercury

western flying post

or Yeovil Mercury


The first newspaper printed and published in Somerset was produced in Taunton in 1725, the second was produced in Bath in 1744. Just five months later on Monday, 30 July 1744 the first issue of 'The Western Flying Post, or Yeovil Mercury' was launched in Yeovil by Robert Goadby.



Robert Goadby had moved to Yeovil in 1744 and set up hand printing press in a property known as The Bow on the corner of Grope Lane (today's Wine Street) and High Street, facing the Borough.

Goadby's newspaper was set up in direct competition with the Sherborne Mercury, founded in 1734 and printed and published in Sherborne, Dorset. In 1746 the founder of the Sherborne Mercury died and his widow sold the publication to Robert Goadby. He amalgamated his Western Flying Post or Yeovil Mercury with the Sherborne Mercury and on Monday, 30 January 1749 produced the first issue of 'The Western Flying Post; or Sherborne and Yeovil Mercury' (see photograph below). At this time Goadby left Yeovil and moved to Sherborne.

Below is a facsimile of the front page of the Western Flying Post or Yeovil Mercury from 1748. Click on this image to view a full sized image in a new window.

In its edition of 26 June 1867 the Taunton Courier & Western Advertiser recorded (see below) the history of ownership of the newspaper "From Messrs Brittan it passed into the hands of Mr John Noake Highmore. He sold it to Mr May, of Taunton. Mr May disposed of it to Mr Manfield, of Dorchester, who in turn disposed of it to the Church and County Newspaper Company."





The Bow, in the Borough on the corner of Grope Lane, the building where Robert Goadby set up his hand printing press.

A painting made in 1810 of the Borough looking towards High Street which runs to the distance at left. At extreme left is the old house known as The Bow and at extreme right is the Tolle Hall surmounted by its clock. The building at centre was the Market House, built in 1740, and behind it to the right was the butcher's Shambles, built in 1803.


A typical front page, this edition from 22 August 1748.


From my collection

The top half of the 'Western Flying Post, Sherborne and Yeovil Mercury' dated Saturday 2 September 1826.


An article from the Taunton Courier & Western Advertiser's edition of 26 June 1867 outlining the ownership of the Sherborne Mercury.


The former offices of the 'Western Flying Post and Yeovil Times' between 1861 and 1867. It was later Yeovil's second Post Office (from 1876 to 1902).