The Stamford Mercury (also the Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury, the Rutland and Stamford Mercury, and the Rutland Mercury) based in Stamford, Lincolnshire, England, claims to be "Britain's oldest continuously published newspaper title", although this is disputed by Berrow's Worcester Journal which was established in 1690.[2] The Mercury has been published since 1712 but its masthead formerly claimed it was established in 1695 and still has "Britain's Oldest Newspaper".

TypeWeekly local newspaper
Owner(s)Iliffe Media
Founder(s)Thomas Baily and William Thompson
EditorKerry Coupe
Founded1710 as Stamford Post, 1712 (1712) as Stamford Mercury
Political alignmentHistorically Tory, now non-political
HeadquartersCherryholt Road, Stamford, Lincolnshire
Circulation4,570 (as of 2022)[1]

Three editions (Stamford and The Deepings, Rutland, and Bourne) are published every Friday. The ABC circulation figure in 2011 was 16,675.[3]

History and ownership


Stamford Mercury Limited was acquired by Westminster Press Provincial Newspapers in 1929 and divested to the East Midland Allied Press for £57,500 in 1951.[4] From 1980, it was merged into EMAP Provincial Newspapers[5] and from 1985, it was reorganised into Welland Valley Newspapers.[6]

In 1996, EMAP divested 69 newspapers including the Stamford Mercury to Johnston Press in a deal worth £211 million.[7] In 2007, the Welland Valley stable transferred to fellow group company, East Midlands Newspapers.[8][9] In 2017, the Mercury along with 12 other publishing titles and associated websites in East Anglia and the East Midlands transferred to Johnston Publishing East Anglia pending disposal of that company to Iliffe Media for a gross cash consideration of £17 million.[10][11]

An edition of the Mercury from 22 May 1718 is the earliest newspaper in the British Library's newspaper reading room, The Newsroom.[12]


Stamford Mercury of 13 May 1714, , the oldest copy held in the Mercury archives

The Mercury possesses the largest archive of any provincial newspaper.[13] It contains over 15,000 newspapers and is complete from the middle of the 18th century. It also holds substantial numbers of annual volumes and individual copies prior to that, dating back to 1714.

Since 2005, the archive has been in the care of the Stamford Mercury Archive Trust ( The Trust received a grant of £305,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to undertake a five-year conservation programme. The Trust set out to microfilm every known copy of the Stamford Mercury in existence. Access to the archive is free for personal research. A copy of the complete microfilm run of the paper is available at Stamford Library.[14]

See also



  1. ^ "Rutland & Stamford Mercury". Audit Bureau of Circulations (UK). 21 February 2023. Retrieved 10 May 2023.
  2. ^ "The Rutland & Stamford Mercury". Archived from the original on 20 April 2008.
  3. ^ "ABC; Rutland & Stamford Mercury".
  4. ^ Matthews, Rachel The History of the Provincial Press in England (p.172) London: Bloomsbury, 2017
  5. ^ Report and Accounts (p. 25), East Midland Allied Press, 19 June 1980
  6. ^ Report and Accounts (p. 35), East Midland Allied Press, 15 June 1985
  7. ^ Smith, Jonathan Delve into the past of Stamford, Rutland, Bourne and The Deepings Rutland and Stamford Mercury, 29 May 2021
  8. ^ Report and Financial Statements (p. 2), East Midlands Newspapers, 31 December 2007
  9. ^ Johnston snaps up Lincolnshire titles HoldtheFrontPage, 25 June 2007
  10. ^ Annual Report and Financial Statements (pp. 3-4), East Midlands Newspapers, 31 December 2016
  11. ^ A new era for your favourite local newspapers Rutland and Stamford Mercury, 20 January 2017
  12. ^ "British Library to unveil £33m newspaper reading room", Caroline Davies; The Guardian, 28 April 2014
  13. ^ "Home page". The Stamford Mercury Archive.
  14. ^ "The Stamford Mercury archives".