It was founded in 1772 as The Hartford [sic] Mercury. By 1775 it had expanded its scope to become The Hartford, Bedford and Huntingdon Mercury. 50 years on, and it had swollen to become The Herts Mercury and General Advertiser for Beds, Bucks, Cambridge, Essex, Herts, Huntingdon, Kent, and Middlesex! However, this ambitious title was cut back in 1828 to the more modest The Herts, Huntingdon, Bedford, Cambridge, and Isle of Ely Mercury, etc. In 1833 it was cut back still further by being incorporated with the Kent & Essex Mercury to become first the Essex & Herts Mercury then, in 1836, the Essex, Herts & Kent Mercury, and in 1843 the Essex, Herts & Suffolk Mercury.
At the beginning of 1844 the Hertford Mercury regained its separate status, but only as the result of a merger with the Reformer and Herts, Beds, Bucks, Essex, Cambridge and Middlesex Advertiser (which had been founded in November 1834) as The Hertford Mercury and Reformer. It absorbed The County Press for Herts, Beds, Bucks, etc. in 1857, but didn’t reflect this in its title until 1868, when it became The Hertford Mercury and County Press. Four years later it became the Hertfordshire Mercury and County Press, and kept that title until 1986, when it became simply the Hertfordshire Mercury.
The four editions are:
- Hertfordshire Mercury – the lead title
- Hoddesdon & Broxbourne Mercury
- Cheshunt & Waltham Mercury
- Buntingford & Royston Mercury
All come out on Thursdays. There’s also an e-edition of the main Hertfordshire Mercury available free online and by email.