Devon Archives and Local Studies Service


Devon Heritage Services Projects

Here are details of our projects, some of which are being undertaken in partnership with other organisations. In other cases, we are supporting outside projects with source material, resources, and advice.

Some of these projects have been made possible by external funding, and most take place with the help and support of volunteers working in the Devon Heritage Centre, the North Devon Record Office or at home.

Devon Parish Registers Online

Most of the Church of England parish registers held at the Devon Heritage Centre and North Devon Record Office have now been digitised and some of these are now searchable online on the genealogical subscription website, Find My Past.  The first batch of digitised parish registers was released online on 30 May 2014 and the second on 14 November 2014. More are to come.  These join the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office’s parish registers, most of which are already available on Find My Past.  

The Right to Remain Silent?

This project, initially funded by a grant awarded by the National Archives Cataloguing Grants Programme, is cataloguing some of the Devon County Quarter Sessions records. The original year-long funded project has now ended, but volunteers are carrying on with further cataloguing of Quarter Sessions bundles.

Devon Remembers: The First World War 1914-1918

Devon County Council has joined with a range of partner organisations to instigate, support and co-ordinate community projects across Devon & Torbay commemorating the centenary of the First World War.  A central focus of the Devon Remembers project is on supporting the restoration and maintenance of public war memorials.  Devon Heritage Services has also received a First Round development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for another strand of the project - to support up to 50 individual community projects in conducting projects exploring the stories behind the names recorded on (or missing from) their war memorials.  A Project Development Officer was appointed in March 2014 to develop this aspect of the project.

From the Grassroots: an oral history of community politics in Devon

This project, which is supported by a grant awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to the History of Parliament Trust, began in October 2013. A part-time project coordinator has been appointed and is based at Devon Heritage Centre.

Womens Institutes (W.I.) Records Project

This project aims to involve volunteers in helping to catalogue the Women’s Institute records which are held at Devon Heritage Centre, Sowton, Exeter. Although significant deposits of branch records have been made by the Devon Federation of Women’s Institutes (D.F.W.I.) between 2009 and 2013, these are not easily accessible because they are unlisted.

Digitised School Admission Registers Online

Devon school admission registers dating up to 1914 which are held at Devon Heritage Centre and North Devon Record Office have been digitised, and the images have been published online as part of Phase One of a national digitisation project, on the subscription website Find My Past.  This is the first project under the framework of the new National Digitisation Consortium, which includes up to 120 English and Welsh archives and schools working together to offer records for digitisation.  Devon Heritage Centre and North Devon Record Office are among many archive repositories involved in this project, and all admission registers up to the year 1914, which have been deposited as part of school archive collections in both offices, are included.

Interpreting our Medieval Past

Devon Heritage Centre is participating in a collaborative project to explore our medieval charters and manuscripts.

The project has been developed by the University of Exeter and University of Bristol.  

AHRC Collaborative Skills Project: South West and Wales Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership

This programme, funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), is a collaboration between universities in the South West & Wales, and a wide range of partner organisations, to offer placement opportunities for postgraduates in a variety of subject areas and workplaces from Autumn 2014 onwards.  Devon Heritage Centre will be offering work placements to postgraduate students.

Genuki Devon Wills Index Project

This volunteer-run project is providing an on-line finding-aid in the form of an index of all known Devon wills, administrations and inventories prior to 1858, through the Genuki Devon website. Devon Heritage Centre and North Devon Record Office staff have assisted with this project from its inception. In early October 2013 this Devon Wills Index was also launched on the genealogical website

Devon Shipping  Records Project

This project in partnership with volunteers from Devon Family History Society and the Friends of Devon’s Archives, has digitised and is indexing shipping registers held at Devon Heritage Centre and North Devon Record Office, and is making the detailed information they hold more easily accessible through our online catalogue.

Tithe Maps Online

Funding from Devon County Council has enabled the scanning of Devon’s tithe maps, and a project is still continuing to eventually make these maps, together with their tithe apportionments, available online so that they can be viewed without visiting the Devon Heritage Centre.

Tithe Apportionment Transcription Project

This project is part of the Tithe Maps Online project, and the first stage which involved volunteers working at home, has now been completed.  The second stage, checking these transcriptions before they go online, is being carried out by volunteers in the heritage centre under the close supervision of a staff member.  The third stage, that of converting the corrected transcripts to pdf format and uploading them online, has also commenced.

Workers’ Educational Association in the South West: A Heritage of Learning Project image - PDF icon (97KB - pdf help)  

The Workers' Educational Association (WEA) has recently secureda Heritage Lottery Fund grant for a project exploring The Workers' Educational Association'shistory in the South West.  The project, which will run from March 2014 to December 2015, will explore how Victorian ideals of self-help, self-expression, liberalism and education were taken up by workers and other everyday people across the South-West. The project will also eventually feature a dispersed exhibition with each of the South West counties’ WEA history displayed.

Devon Heritage Centre holds the Devon WEA archive collection.


eHive is a collection management system on the Internet. It enables community heritage groups or individuals to share and discover collections online. The community heritage data captured through the Explore North Devon project was migrated to eHive, which will provide a more sustainable and flexible platform for future development. A ‘Devon’s Heritage’ community was set up on the site to which all present and future contributors will be linked. Henceforth, any community heritage group operating in Devon that wishes to present its images, etc., online will be able to sign up and join the growing community. Storage of data is free up to a certain limit, after which there is a modest annual charge. Devon Heritage Services cover the costs of storing the Explore North Devon data, but new members will be encouraged to budget for any costs themselves.

Explore North Devon

This community archives project began in 2006 and enabled individuals or groups to contribute content to a growing digital community archive and to make this available through the Explore North Devon website. North Devon Record Office was one of a number of project partners. The site is no longer active and will eventually be discontinued. Content from this site has been transferred, and is now viewable on the ‘Devon’s Heritage’ community pages on the eHive website.

Devon Family History Society Small Projects

This project was carried on by all three archive repositories in Devon, in partnership with Devon Family History Society, to produce transcriptions of, or indexes to, unusual records of interest to family historians.

Peter Orlando Hutchinson Project

This community heritage project, which was completed in 2013, aimed to continue the legacy of volunteer study and involvement in landscape heritage that has grown through the East Devon Area of Natural Beauty Partnership and the Parishscapes project. It drew on the work of Peter Orlando Hutchinson, a Victorian geological and archaeological researcher, diarist and artist, who spent all his adult life in Sidmouth, Devon. His five volume diaries are held at the Devon Heritage Centre, together with six volumes of his sketchbooks. These have been digitised by heritage centre staff and volunteers, and made available online through the project website.

Tuckers Hall Project

Tuckers Hall is the home of the Incorporation of Weavers, Fullers & Shearmen in Exeter. Devon Heritage Centre has assisted volunteers working for the Tuckers Hall Heritage Lottery funded project, to digitise the historical records held here.

Mapping the County

This project to make the maps held in Devon's archives more readily available to schoolchildren studying their local history was funded by Devon History Society and began in 2012. The report created by the project is now online through our Mapping the County webpage.