A precursor to newspapers. From this British Library page:

Newsbooks were the ancestors of newspapers, printed at this time [1607] in editions of up to 250 copies, though being read probably by a much larger number. While newsbooks became widespread during the 1640s, their origin can be traced back to official statements about public events, such as The Trewe encountre, a pamphlet published following the Battle of Flodden in 1513, and corantos, newsletters carrying collected information, which often contained reported speech.

During the Civil War (1642-51) a newspaper war broke out; the royalist Mercurius Aulicus was printed in Oxford and Bristol, even circulating in London, where it was regarded as a major problem by the parliamentarians, who eventually produced the Mercurius Britannicus to counter it.


This text was copied from Wikipedia on 18 April 2024 at 4:10AM.

Front cover of the Perfect Diurnall for January 16–23, 1654, with which Mabbot was associated.

Newsbooks were the 17th-century precursors to today's newspapers.[1] Originating in England and Scotland, they are distinct from the earlier news periodicals, known as corantos, which were sourced from continental Europe.


The first newsbook was published in November 1641, and in the years 1641-2 there were 171 different editions available.[2] The newsbooks were strongly partisan until Parliament regained control of the press in September 1649. [3]

Newsbooks often contained satirical poems, or otherwise formal reports of major news events.

See also


  1. ^ "Newsbook". The Economist. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  2. ^ Frank, Joseph (1961). The Beginnings of the English Newspaper, 1620–1660. ISBN 9780674331952.
  3. ^ Raymond, Joad. The Invention of the Newspaper: English Newsbooks 1641-1649. p. 13.

Berkenhead, Dillingham, Audley, Nedham, Smith, Rushworth and Border. The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). Volume VII. Cavalier and Puritan., XV. The Beginnings of English Journalism.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

4 Annotations

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

In 1664 there were Newsbooks and News-letters -- the precursors of newspapers -- circulated at the 'Change and nearby coffee-houses. The latest news of ships sailing and those entering English ports were posted at (put up on posts to be seen) on the 'Change. Pepys consultin a newsbook in 1662…

July 7 1665 he writes casually "I met this noon with Dr. Burnett, who told me, and I find in the newsbook this week that he posted upon the ‘Change,"…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). Volume VII. Cavalier and Puritan.
XV. The Beginnings of English Journalism.
§ 8. Muddiman’s newsletters. 1660-…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Seventeenth Century Print Culture -- In Our Time -- BBC podcast

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss 17th century print culture. "Away ungodly Vulgars, far away, Fly ye profane, that dare not view the day, Nor speak to men but shadows, nor would hear Of any news, but what seditious were, Hateful and harmful and ever to the best, Whispering their scandals ... "

In 1614 the poet and playwright George Chapman poured scorn on the popular appetite for printed news. However, his initial scorn did not stop him from turning his pen to satisfy the public's new found appetite for scandal.

From the advent of the printing press the number of books printed each year steadily increased, and so did literacy rates. With a growing and socially diverse readership appearing over the 16th and 17th centuries, printed texts reflected controversy in every area of politics, society and religion.

In the advent of the Civil War, print was used as the ideological battle-ground by the competing forces of Crown and Parliament. What sorts of printed texts were being produced? How widespread was literacy and who were the new consumers of print? Did print affect social change? And what role did print play in the momentous English Civil War?

With Kevin Sharpe, Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London; Ann Hughes, Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Keele; Joad Raymond, Professor of English Literature at the University of East Anglia.…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.


  • Jan