Our Research and Copying Service is open to new requests but we are operating with reduced access to original archive collections due to current restrictions.  Please be aware of the following:

    • We will prioritise urgent requests. Urgent requests may include research relating to imminent legal and business requirements.
    • There may be some requests that we have to return as we are not able to process them at this time.
    • Please delay submitting non-urgent requests until restrictions in England have eased and we are able to reopen our onsite public service.
    • We are currently only able to accept payment by Paypal.
    • We are working through a large volume of requests with a current waiting time of up to 10 weeks.

Updated 22 January, 2021

Types of Research

We can carry out research using the archives and other resources at the Somerset Heritage Centre.  We handle all sorts of enquiries from family history and house history to rights of way disputes and research for television programmes.  However, we cannot research in archives held elsewhere or give legal advice.

Costs of Research

We charge by the time the work takes, rather than per enquiry or per document. Please allow for a reasonable amount of research time to answer all of your questions, and contact us for an estimate if unsure.  A good general guide is to allow for an hour’s research – if your enquiry takes less time than this, we will charge you less accordingly. Please see our Charges page for more information.

Information We Need From You

All research requests must be sent using our Research and Copying Request Form. To speed up your enquiry, please specify as clearly and precisely as possible the information that you are seeking, and enclose any relevant information which might assist us.  Please write clearly or type your enquiry.  Please complete all sections of the form, including your name, email address and postal address.  If relevant, quote our reference number given on previous correspondence, especially if related to your current enquiry.  Please enclose an accurate map if your enquiry concerns a house or land.  Include a daytime telephone number so that we can contact you for clarification if necessary.  Please state whether you would like copies of any documents found during research and in what format you would like the copies.

Ordering Copies of Documents

Please provide the exact references for the documents if known.  Please state whether you require a photocopy or digital image (N.B. Some documents cannot be photocopied and have to be supplied in digital format).  If you require a standard digital format other than jpg (e.g. tiff) please let us know.

Receiving Your Research

​Enquiries are dealt with in the order that we receive them. Current wait times are around 10 weeks. In exceptional circumstances we can give priority to your enquiry, e.g. when a deadline has been imposed on you at short notice. Please contact us to discuss.


When sending us your completed Research Request Form please let us know the maximum authorised amount we can charge you, and your preferred method of payment, see below for details.

We encourage users to pay by PayPal where possible, as this is the most secure payment method.  Upon the completion of research, if it has taken less time than originally estimated, appropriate refunds will be given via PayPal.


All copies supplied are for private study or research. You will need to obtain permission in writing from the South West Heritage Trust before publishing any copies that we supply to you. This includes uploading to the internet. Additional fees may be involved and copyright may also apply. Please see our ‘Permission to Use Collections’ and ‘Copyright’ guides for further details.

Request Research

If you would like us to carry out research on your behalf please complete this form

Research Service Form and Leaflet