The newspaper was established in 1824 by John Avery, a local bookseller. It cost 7d. until 1836, when the price was reduced to 4d. For a short time in 1870 the paper was published daily, with a second edition to provide news of the Franco-Prussian War. That year there was competition with the establishment of the liberal North Devon Herald. Both papers survived until 1941, when they merged as the North Devon Journal Herald. In 1986 the paper changed from broadsheet to tabloid format, and became the North Devon Journal again.