It was during the 19th century that the English-language periodical press developed in Wales.
The first English periodical in Wales, namely The Cambrian magazinewas published at Llandovery in 1773, but little is known of its publishers and editors. Indeed the only copies of the 2 issues published were found comparatively recently in the collections of The National Library of Wales. Although it had a literary bias, it appears to have circulated among the gentry of the Welsh marches since it also published news of these areas.
Elijah Waring, a native of Hampshire who settled in Neath, Glamorganshire, established The Cambrian visitor, of which 8 issues appeared in Swansea in 1813. Waring was interested in Welsh affairs and one of his editorial policies was to enlighten the English with regard to the history and people of Wales.
Most of the early English periodicals of Welsh interest were published in London rather than in Wales, which suggests that there was little sale of English magazines among the Welsh themselves. For example 3 volumes of The Cambrian register appeared between 1795 and 1818, edited by William Owen-Pughe. The Cambro-Briton a similar publication, appeared in 3 volumes between 1819 and 1822, edited by John Humffreys Parry. Their contents were chiefly literary and antiquarian, and editorial policy included publishing English translations of Early and Middle Welsh literature as well as articles on historical and geographical subjects.
The Cambrian Archaeological Association was established in 1846 by Harry Longueville Jones and John Williams ('Ab Ithel'), with the aim of studying and preserving Welsh antiquities. Archaeologia Cambrenisis had been launched the same year, and was adopted as the Association's journal. It continues to appear and contains valuable information relating to the manuscripts, history and archaeology of Wales.
Harry Longueville Jones and John Williams co-edited the journal for some time. Fierce controversy grew between the two however, as the former was a scientific scholar and the latter a romantic. As a result in 1854 John Williams established his own publication, The Cambrian journal containing articles on linguistics, local geography and the history of literature. Its publication came to an end in 1864 soon after the editor's death.
Generally therefore, the majority of these English publications were antiquarian and historical. Journals of a lighter nature did not appear until the final quarter of the century.
Charles Wilkins established The Red dragon, a monthly, in 1882, which was published in Cardiff until 1887. Its contents were varied, including poetry, reviews, and portraits of famous Welshmen and serialised novels. The editor also placed particular emphasis on the recent history of Wales. However during its final 2 years The Red dragon became a historical journal with a section of notes and queries filling most of its pages. It was, however, the first English language periodical to attempt to create a cultured Welsh audience.
In 1886 Cymru Fydd came into being as a powerful national movement with a strong emphasis on Welsh history, culture and politics. The movement was served by 2 English periodicals, Cymru fydd (1886-91) and Young Wales (1895-1903).
Wales (1894-7), established by Owen M Edwards also belongs to this period. Its purpose was to foster the cultural standards of English speaking Welsh people by introducing them to Welsh literature. Most magazines published in Wales up to this time were in the Welsh language; which had attained a stronger position than ever before.