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.  At busy periods you may expect a delay of up to 4 weeks.  Please note on occasion due to staff absence or a high volume of requests there may be a longer wait.  In exceptional circumstances we can give priority to your enquiry, e.g. when a deadline has been imposed on you at short notice. Please phone or email 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.

We also accept payments by cheque.  Payment by open limited cheque is safe for you, and prevents us having to send refunds.  Please leave the amount and figures line blank for us to complete, but (important) write on the third line “not to exceed (x) pounds”.  Please make the cheque payable to South West Heritage Trust Trading Limited.  Cheques must be in sterling currency.

We can also accept payments by the following credit or debit cards: Visa, Visa Debit, Visa Electron, Access, Mastercard, Maestro, Solo.  We are unable to accept American Express or Diners Club.  Please tell us if you intend to pay by card, and we will send you an invoice, after completion of research.  We then take card payments over the phone, at 01823 278805.  Please quote your last name and enquiry number or invoice number.

Once we receive payment your research will be dispatched.


All copies supplied are for private research or study.  You will need to obtain permission in writing from the Somerset Archives and Local Studies Service before publishing any copies or digital images that we supply to you.  This includes uploading to the internet.  Additional fees might be involved – please ask for details and a Permission to Use Collections form, and allow plenty of time for us to obtain the relevant permission.

Copying Microfiche

We supply copies of microfiche at a charge.  Please see our Charges page for details.

We do not keep fiche copies in stock. Batches of fiche for several orders are sent away for copying, which means that it may take up to four weeks for your order to arrive.

Please phone 01823 278805 or email for more information, ensuring that you include which parishes in which you are interested.

Request Research

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

Research Service leaflet and form