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 a hand-printing press in a property known as The Bow, or Under Bow, on the corner of Grope Lane (today's Wine Street) and High Street, facing the Borough.

Goadby's newspaper, the Western Flying Post or Yeovil Mercury, was set up in direct competition with the Sherborne Mercury, founded in 1734 by Mr H Bettinson, and printed and published in Sherborne, Dorset. In 1746 Bettinson and Goadby amalgamated the 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.

In its edition of 26 June 1867 the Taunton Courier & Western Advertiser recorded 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."




Courtesy of Mrs M J Rogers

The Western Flying Post or Yeovil Mercury in Under Bow, in the Borough on the corner of Grope Lane, photographed in 1861 by photographer and artist Frederick Treble. At this time, Under Bow was the premises of baker and confectioner Charles Pyne, whose name appears above the door in this photograph.

From my collection

An original pastel and pencil sketch on paper (255mm x 190mm) of Charles Pyne's bakery and confectionary establishment 'Under Bow', showing part of the Wine Street elevation at the left. The sketch is by artist Walter Francis Tiffin (1819-1890) of Salisbury, Wiltshire - although at the time of this sketch he was in Sherborne. An attached label reads "Sherborne, W Tiffin, 1865" and a second label, in pencil, reads 'By W F Tiffin'.


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).