Somerset: Local History Resources

Somerset is a historic and ceremonial county in the region called South West England. Significant local government changes in the 20th century have caused great confusion about the county in the minds of the British public.

The boundaries of the ceremonial county of Somerset have not been drastically changed since medieval times. Somerset County Council was established in 1888. But in 1974 off much of the northern part of the county was snapped off to form the county of Avon, with its own local government structure and services. Then in 1996 Avon was completely abolished, and its territory was divided between the two unitary authorities of 

  • North Somerset
  • Bath and North East Somerset

Because of this, you will find many county listings which include North Somerset as a county. But it isn’t a county, although it has its own council with elected councillors, and provides local services for the residents in its area. The same is true for Bath and North East Somerset. 

If you’re researching the local history or your family history based in this area, the issues over county administration aren’t relevant apart from its impact on the location of services where records are found. 

Somerset History Facebook Groups

  • Memories of Yatton, North Somerset 
  • Rockwell Green Local History Group
  • Somerset FB
  • Somerset & Dorset Family History Society, Yeovil, Somerset
  • Somerset Archives and Local Studies, Taunton, Somerset

Local History Resources

In addition to the extensive range of UK local history resources, many of which include information about the ceremonial county’s past, the following organisations and groups exist to focus on the history and people of the area and its immediate neighbours:

  • American Museum in Britain
  • Ashton Windmill
  • Avon and Somerset Constabulary – History of the Force
  • Axbridge Archaeological and Local History Society
  • Bakelite Museum
  • Banwell Society of Archaeology
  • Barrington Court
  • Bath Abbey Heritage Vaults Museum
  • Bath Ancestors Database 
  • Bath & North East Somerset BMD (births, marriages and deaths) 1837 to 2007
  • Bath Chronicle Georgian Newspaper Project database 1770-1800
  • Batheaston Society
  • Bath Postal Museum
  • Bath Record Office 
  • Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution
  • Beckford’s Tower and Museum
  • Bishops Lydeard Mill and Rural Life Museum
  • Bishop’s Palace
  • Blagdon Lake Pumping Station and Visitor Centre
  • Blagdon Local History Society
  • Blake Museum
  • Blue Anchor Railway Museum
  • Bridgwater and District Archaeological Society
  • Bristol & Avon Family History Society
  • Broadway House Family History Centre 
  • Bruton Museum
  • Buckland History Group
  • Camerton Local History Group
  • Castle Cary and District Museum
  • Chard History Group
  • Chard Museum
  • Cheddar Caves and Gorge
  • City of Bath Heraldic Society
  • Civil registration districts in Somerset – 1st July 1837 and 31st March 1930
  • Claverton Pumping Station
  • Cleeve Abbey
  • Clevedon Court
  • Clevedon & District Archaeological Society
  • Coleridge Cottage
  • Cothay Manor
  • Crewkerne and District Museum
  • The Crockerne Pill and District History Society
  • Cross Memorial Hall
  • Dunster Castle
  • Dunster Museum & Doll Collection
  • Dunster Working Watermill
  • East Somerset Railway
  • Farleigh Hungerford Castle
  • Fashion Museum, Bath
  • Fleet Air Arm Museum
  • Freshford and District Local History Society
  • Friends of Somerset Archives
  • Frome Museum
  • Frome Society for Local Study
  • Fyne Court
  • Gants Mill
  • Glastonbury Abbey
  • Glastonbury Lake Village Museum
  • Greenwood’s 1821/29 county map
  • Haynes International Motor Museum
  • Helicopter Museum
  • Herald’s Visitation of Somerset in the year 1623
  • Herschel Museum of Astronomy
  • Hinton Blewett History Group
  • Holburne Museum of Art
  • Ilchester Museum
  • Indexes to the Parish files held at the Family History Centre in Somerset
  • Jane Austen Centre
  • Kewstoke Local History Group
  • Keynsham and Saltford Local History Society
  • King John’s Hunting Lodge
  • Know Your Place Project – West of England
  • Lambretta Scooter Museum
  • Langford Local History Group
  • Langport and River Parrett Visitor Centre
  • Libraries in Somerset  
  • Lighthouse Personnel in England and Wales and the Channel Islands 1841-1910
  • Long Ashton Local History Society
  • Lytes Cary Manor
  • Market House Museum
  • Martock Local History Group
  • Montacute House
  • Montacute TV Radio Toy Museum
  • Monumental transcriptions
  • Muchelney Abbey
  • Museum of Bath Architecture
  • Museum of Bath at Work
  • Museum of East Asian Art
  • Museum of Somerset
  • Nailsea and District Local History Society
  • No. 1 Royal Crescent
  • Oakhill & Ashwick Local History Group
  • Parish Apprentices For Somerset – Find My Past (1575-1800)
  • Parish registers in Portbury Hundred
  • Paulton History Society
  • Pigot’s Directory of Somerset (c1844)
  • Porlock Museum
  • Priest’s House
  • Radstock, Midsomer Norton and District Museum Society
  • Radstock Museum
  • Roman Baths
  • Sally Lunn’s House
  • Shepton Mallet Local History Group
  • Shoe Museum
  • The Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society
  • Somerset Archives and Local Studies section 
  • Somerset Archive Catalogue
  • Somerset & Dorset Burials 
  • Somerset & Dorset Family History Society
  • Somerset & Dorset Marriages,  pre-1754 and 1754-1837
  • Somerset & Dorset Notes and Queries, 1890-1980 -Find My Past. 
  • Somerset & Dorset Photographic Project
  • Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Centre
  • Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust Museum
  • Somerset Baptisms: 1538-1996, mostly 1700-1812
  • Somerset Brick and Tile Museum
  • Somerset Cricket Museum
  • Somerset Electoral Registers, 1832-1914 – Find My Past 
  • Somerset Heraldry Society
  • Somerset Heritage Centre
  • Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society (SIAS)
  • Somerset Medieval Wills  Vol 1 1383 -1500 – Somerset Record Society
  • Somerset Medieval Wills Vol 2 1501 – 1530 – Somerset Record Society
  • Somerset Military Museum
  • Somerset Probate Inventories, Somerset Estate Duty Office Wills , Letters of Administration (1805-1811 and 1812-1857) – Harry Galloway Publishing”
  • Somerset Record Society
  • Somerset Remembers Community Archive
  • Somerset Rural Life Museum
  • South West Heritage Trust  
  • Stembridge Tower Mill
  • St George History Group
  • Taunton Courier – British Newspaper Archive site
  • Tintinhull Local History Group
  • Treasurer’s House
  • Tropiquaria
  • Tyntesfield
  • Victoria Art Gallery
  • Watchet Boat Museum
  • Wellington Museum
  • Wells and Mendip Museum
  • Western Advertiser – British Newspaper Archive site 
  • Weston Local History Society
  • Weston Museum
  • Weston-super-Mare Archaeological and Natural History Society
  • Weston-super-Mare & District Family History Society
  • Westonzoyland Pumping Station Museum
  • West Somerset Rural Life Museum and Victorian School
  • West Somerset Railway
  • Whitchurch Local History Society
  • Willows and Wetlands Visitor Centre
  • Wincanton Museum
  • Winscombe and Sandford Local History and Archaeological Society
  • Woodspring Priory
  • Worle History Society
  • Worle Community Centre
  • Wrington Local History Society
  • Yatton Local History Society
  • Yeovil Railway Centre

Cities Of Somerset

The ceremonial county of Somerset is where the following cities are located:

  • Bath
  • Wells

There are no cities in the unitary authority district of North Somerset.

Towns Of Somerset

In addition to the two cities of Bath and Wells, the ceremonial county of Somerset contains 30 towns as follows:

  • Axbridge
  • Bridgwater
  • Bruton
  • Burnham-on-Sea
  • Castle Cary
  • Chard
  • Clevedon (North Somerset)
  • Crewkerne
  • Dulverton
  • Frome
  • Glastonbury
  • Highbridge
  • Ilminster
  • Keynsham
  • Langport
  • Midsomer Norton
  • Minehead
  • Nailsea (North Somerset)
  • North Petherton
  • Portishead (North Somerset)
  • Radstock
  • Shepton Mallet
  • Somerton
  • Taunton
  • Watchet
  • Wellington
  • Weston-super-Mare (North Somerset)
  • Wincanton
  • Wiveliscombe
  • Yeovil
Is Taunton in North Somerset?

Taunton the county town in the shire county of Somerset, and local services there are provided by Somerset West and Taunton district council and Somerset County Council. North Somerset is in the north of the ceremonial county and has services from North Somerset council, not by Somerset County Council.

More pages about Somerset

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Thanks to Sara Price for use of the image shown at the top of this page.