Bangor and Caernarfon developed as centres of newspaper publishing in North Wales.
The Broster family of Chester established The North Wales gazette in Bangor in 1808. In 1827 however, the paper's title was changed to The North Wales chronicle.
Three years later the first issue of The Caernarvon herald appeared, established in Caernarfon by William Potter (also of Chester). By 1836 it appeared regularly under the title The Caernarvon and Denbigh herald.
The conflict between the 2 papers was considerable since their standpoints were diametrically opposed - on the one hand the Chronicle stood for the Tories and the Established Church, while the Herald was Liberal and Nonconformist.
Several Welsh newspapers, also of a Conservative nature, were published in Bangor, for example:
The Socialist E Pan Jones also published his lively weekly Y Celt [The Celt] in Bangor between 1882 and 1894.
An attempt was made to establish a Welsh newspaper in Caernarfon in the 30s with the publication of Y Papur newydd Cymraeg [The Welsh Newspaper] between 1836 and 1837.
James Rees was probably the town's most important newspaper publisher. In 1855 he established Yr Herald Cymraeg [The Welsh Herald], a Liberal newspaper with a large circulation in the counties of Anglesey and Caernarfonshire. Literature featured prominently in its columns and it employed some of the most prominent contemporary writers such as Llew Llwyfo, Richard Hughes Williams and T Gwynn Jones.
Caernarfon was also the birthplace in 1877 of Y Genedl Gymreig [The Welsh Nation], an influential newspaper bought by a group of members of parliament including David Lloyd George in 1892. In that year Beriah Gwynfe Evans became its editor and Y Genedl developed into a national newspaper with a special south Wales edition.
Other papers published in Caernarfon during this period include:
Towns such as Rhyl, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Dolgellau, Ystalyfera, Llanelli and Swansea also had their own newspapers. Smaller market towns such as Brecon, Newcastle Emlyn and Pwllheli could take pride in the output of their presses also.
In Pwllheli in 1888 David Lloyd George formed a company to establish Udgorn rhyddid [The Trumpet of Freedom] as a Welsh weekly, which was of key importance to him during his successful parliamentary election campaigns.
By the late 80s over 70 English weekly papers and 25 Welsh weekly papers appeared in Wales, a level of activity which caused J E Vincent to remark in the London Times in 1889:
‘The growth of journalism, and of vernacular journalism in particular, in the Principality has of late years been little short of phenomenal. My impression, indeed, is that Wales supports more journals in proportion to its population than any other part of the civilised world.’