Guide to the Records held by the Somerset Record Office (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Somerset Record Office
Records held by the Somerset Record Office (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
January 1806 - 1953
Collection Number
24 items
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

Register of prisoners at Shepton Mallet Gaol 1842-1872 containing many references to transportation.

Papers 1806-1906 of Acland Hood Family including correspondence of Sir Alexander Acland Hood concerning estate of Samuel Tucker of Tallangatta, Victoria, and naval papers concerning the possibility of French squadron and American frigates attacking Sydney in 1813.

Papers 1829-1846 of W. Fawcett relating to properties in Van Diemen's Land and Western Australia.

Scrapbook 1896-1897 of Thomas Cole, secretary of Incorporated Association of Gas Engineers, recording a visit to Australia and New Zealand.

Papers 1876-1878 of Capel Family concerning estate of John Capel of Murray River, Victoria.

Diaries 1862-1863 of John L. Hatswell describing voyage from Gravesend to Auckland and first impressions of New Zealand.

Journals 1880-1881 of Captain M. Medlycott on voyage of HMS Turquoise in the Pacific Ocean.

Papers 1831-1856 of Sandford Family, including letters of Henry and John Sandford referring to settlement at Port Gregory and relations with Indigenous Australians in Western Australia.

Diaries and notes 1952-1953 of Mrs E. Cook describing voyage on SS Strathaird from Tilbury to Australia and referring to her stay in Sydney, Australian Aboriginals and travels in the outback.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Material selectively filmed at the Somerset Record Office, Taunton, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1985 (AJCP Reels: M1949-M1950). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

The Somerset Heritage Centre was previously known as the Somerset Record Office located on Obridge Road, Taunton, England.

Existence and Location of Originals

Somerset Heritage Centre, Brunel Way, Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton, England.

For further information, see Somerset Archives Catalogue. []

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

Finding-Aid Notes

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2019. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.

Advisory Statement

Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this Finding Aid contains material and descriptive information which may be considered culturally sensitive and may cause distress, including names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. This Finding Aid contains terms that reflect authors' views or those of the historical period, but which may not be considered appropriate today. While the information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided in an historical context.


Acland Hood Family; Acland Hood, Sir Alexander; Auckland, New Zealand; Auckland, New Zealand: immigration to; Australia; Australia: visits to; Australian Aboriginals; Australian Aboriginals: New South Wales; Australian Aboriginals: Western Australia; Capel Family; Capel, John; Cole, Thomas; Convicts; Cook, E., Mrs; Emigrant voyages; Fawcett, W.; French in the Pacific; Gravesend, England; Halswell, John L.; Incorporated Association of Gas Engineers; Indigenous Australia: New South Wales; Land: Tasmania; Land: Western Australia; Medlycott, M. Capt.; Murray River, Australia; Naval officers; New Zealand; New Zealand: visits to; Pacific Ocean; Port Gregory, Western Australia; Prisons: England; Royal Navy: voyages; Sandford Family; Sandford, Henry; Sandford, John; Shepton Mallet Gaol; Strathaird, SS; Sydney, New South Wales ; Sydney, New South Wales: defence; Sydney, New South Wales: visits to; Tallangatta, Victoria; Tucker, Samuel; Turquoise, HMS (ship); United States of America; Western Australia; Australia; Eureka uprising (1854); Somersetshire Regiment; Sydney Gaol; Sydney, New South Wales: defence; Victoria: politics and government


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 425, p.166. []

Item Descriptions

Fonds DD/AH. Acland Hood of Fairfield MSS, January 1806 - 1898

2 items

Biographical / Historical

Sir Samuel Hood (1762-1814), 1st Baronet (created 1809), entered the Royal Navy in 1776. In the Napoleonic Wars he served under Sir John Jervis and Lord Nelson. He became a Rear-Admiral in 1807 and was Commander-in-Chief of the East Indies Station in 1812-1814. Sir Alexander Acland-Hood (1853-1917), 4th Baronet (succeeded 1892), was a member of the House of Commons from 1892 until 1911. He was chief whip in the Balfour Ministry (1902-1905).

Series Box 21. Papers, 1896 - 1898

1 item
Correspondence of Acland Hood Family (3 bundles), 1896 - 1898 (File 10)
1 item

Filmed selectively.

Correspondence of Sir Alexander Acland Hood (Bridgwater), 1896 - 1898 (Item)

Concerning estate of Samuel Tucker of Tallangatta, Victoria. Correspondents include S.P. Thompson (Beechworth) and Bank of New South Wales. (1 bundle: 23 letters).

Series Box 52. Papers, January 1806 - 2 July 1813

4 items
Naval papers, January 1806 - 2 July 1813 (File 4)
4 items
Notes on winds of South Seas, January 1806 (Item)

Derived from log of whaler Honduras Packet, which rounded Cape Horn from Pacific.

J. Barrow (Admiralty), to Sir Samuel Hood, 2 July 1813 (Item)

Sends papers on French expedition against N.S.W.

H. Goulburn to J.W. Croker, 29 June 1813 (Item)

Sends extract from information alleging that four French frigates and also American frigates will sail via Cape of Good Hope to Twofold Bay and then attack Port Jackson. (4pp.)

H. Stuart. Suggestions for defeating attempt by French squadron and American frigate to attack N.S.W. (8pp.), n.d. (Item)

Fonds DD/BR/fr. Records transferred by British Records Association from Messrs. Farrer and Co., solicitors, 1829 - 1846

2 items

Papers of W. Fawcett (Mendip) relating to properties in Van Diemen's Land and Western Australia, 1829 - 1845 (File 40)

The papers include plan of a land grant at Murray River; copies of correspondence of J.G. Briggs and L.W. Gilles concerning purchase and improvement of property 1832-1839; lease of 10,000 acres to F.D. Wickham, 19 September 1839; declaration of trust by F.D. Wickham to W. Fawcett, 19 September 1839; valuation of improvements on grant, 14 June 1840; agreement between F.D. Wickham (Melbourne), W. Fawcett and D. Sutherland concerning lease of land at Watery Plains, Van Diemen's Land by Sutherland, 9 October 1845. (28 documents)

Papers of W. Fawcett relating to properties in Van Diemen's Land and Western Australia, 1836 - 1846 (File 41)

The papers include grant to F.D. Wickham of 31 acres at Campbelltown, Van Diemen's Land, 11 August 1838; declaration of trust by F.D. Wickham (Launceston), 8 February 1839; agreement between R.P. Stewart (Mount Stewart, V.D.L.) and W. Fawcett, 21 May 1839; notice of Colonial Land and Emigration Commission, 31 August 1842; copy of grant to F.D. Wickham of 10,000 acres at Murray River, Western Australia, 8 February 1842; plan of estate of W. Fawcett at Mount Stewart, Launceston, 1846. (14 documents)

Fonds DD/CLE. Bowen MSS, July 1896 - December 1897

1 item

Series Box 7. Papers of Cole Family, July 1896 - December 1897

1 item

Filmed selectively.

Scrapbook kept by Thomas Cole, Secretary of Incorporated Association of Gas Engineers, on journey round world, July 1896 - December 1897 (File)

The volume contains newspaper cuttings, photographs, maps and telegrams and also an account of the earlier part of the journey. Cole spent about a year in New Zealand and Australia and there are cuttings referring to Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Albany.

Fonds DD/CPL. Papers of Capel Family of Chipstable, 28 February 1817 - 1878

3 items

Correspondence and accounts of Arthur Capel (Wiveliscombe), 1876 - 1878 (File 11)

Concerning estate of his brother John Capel of Murray River, Victoria. (1 bundle: 10 documents).

Copies of birth certificates of Catherine, Hester and Charlotte Capel, 1859 - 1864 (File 12)

Extracted 23 October 1878. (1 bundle: 3 documents)

Biographical / Historical

Catherine, Hester and Charlotte were daughters of Daniel and Julia Capel, born in Brighton, Victoria.

Papers of Admiral Sir Richard Keats, 28 February 1817 (File 42)

1 item

Filmed selectively.

J. Roe (Newbury) to Sir Richard Keats, 28 February 1817 (Item)

Quotes correspondence with his son J.S. Roe and Captain Hurd concerning appointment of Roe as master's mate with Captain. P.P. King on Australian expedition.

Fonds DD/DK. Papers relating to Burland Family, January 1872 - August 1872

1 item

Miscellaneous documents, January 1872 - August 1872 (File Bundle 16)

1 item

Filmed selectively.

Diary of a doctor kept in New Zealand and on a journey to England via Hawaii and San Francisco, January 1872 - August 1872 (Item)

Very rough, with many pages blank. There are references to visits to Auckland and Grahamstown, the voyage in the Nebraska, travels in Hawaii and a native feast.

Fonds DD/HWN. Papers of Frank Hawtin of Milverton, 20 October 1862 - 24 November 1862

1 item

Miscellaneous Papers, 20 October 1862 - 24 November 1862 (File 19)

2 item

Filmed selectively.

John L. Hatswell. Diary kept on Devonshire, 20 October 1862 - 24 November 1862 (Item)

Diary kept on first part of voyage from Gravesend to Auckland (5pp., typescript copy).

W.J. Corney. Essay on diary of J.L. Hatswell (Item)

Referring to later entries including arrival at Auckland in February 1863 and first impressions of New Zealand. (7pp., typescript)

Fonds DD/MDL. Medlycott MSS, 17 January 1880 - 6 October 1881

1 item

Biographical / Historical

Mervyn B. Medlycott (b. 1837) was appointed a mate in the Royal Navy in 1854. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1859 and Captain in 1875. He commanded the corvette HMS Turquoise on the Pacific Station in 1879-1881. He retired in 1890 with the rank of Rear-Admiral.

Series Box 12. Miscellaneous papers, 17 January 1880 - 6 October 1881

1 item

Filmed selectively.

Journals of Captain M. Medlycott on voyage of H.M.S. Turquoise in Pacific Ocean, 17 January 1880 - 6 October 1881 (File)

Medlycott joined the Turquoise at Callao, having sailed from Southampton to Panama on a mail steamer. The journals describe voyages along the South American coast, a Pacific cruise visiting the Marquesas, Tahiti, and the Hervey and Cook Islands, and the voyage to England via Cape Horn. The entries are detailed and refer to social events, native customs, clothes, houses and festivities, meetings with the Queen and Chiefs of Tahiti and with Governor Chessé, Admiral Du Petit-Thouars, consuls, missionaries and whalers, and attempts to extend the French protectorate in the Society Islands. There is a map of the route of the Turquoise. (2 vols)

Fonds DD/SF. Papers of Sanford Family, 12 April 1831 - 18 March 1854

9 items

Biographical / Historical

Edward Ayshford Sanford (1794-1871) of Nynehead Court, Wellington, represented Somerset in the House of Commons from 1830 to 1841. His son William Ayshford Sanford (1818-1902), was Colonial Secretary of Western Australia from 1851 to 1855. Another son, Henry Ayshford Sanford (1822-1905) was a Captain in the 43rd Regiment. He sailed to Western Australia in 1851 and became a landholder at Port Gregory. He returned to England in 1857.

Series 3418. Miscellaneous papers

1 item

Filmed selectively.

Estimate of sums required to defray expenses of police force in Western Australia for 1856. (2pp.) (File)

Series 4546. Petitions and resolutions, 12 April 1831

2 items

Filmed selectively.

J. Wheeler (Somerton) to E.A. Sanford, 12 April 1831 (File 3)

Encloses petition seeking release of son.

Petition of J. Wheeler to King William IV (File 4)

Seeking pardon for son John Wheeler convicted at Dorchester Assizes in 1816 for highway robbery and transported to N.S.W. Signed by churchwardens, overseers and residents of Somerton

Series 4564. Correspondence of E.A. Sanford, 24 March 1853 - 18 March 1854

6 items

Filmed selectively.

Henry Sanford (Port Gregory, W.A.) to Henrietta, 24 March 1853 (File 46-47)

Land grant at Port. Gregory; description of settlement; Geraldine Mining Company; relations with Indigenous Australians; Gregory Family.

Henry Sanford (Port Gregory) to E.A. Sanford (Wellington), 12 December 1853 (File 48)

Development of property; mining; family news; financial matters. (poor legibility)

A. Birrell (Port Gregory) to Henry Sanford, 1 October 1853 (File 50)

Thanks for help in loading Hero; will commend new settlement.

Henry Sanford to E.A. Sanford, 2 October 1853 (File 51)

Sends item for Times; benefits of colonisation.

John Sanford (Perth) to E.A. Sanford, 18 March 1854 (File 54-55)

Hopes of leaving Perth; unwillingness to be Governor; finances; loneliness and disgust with office; financial troubles of Henry Sanford; collection of animals and birds.

Front elevation of new colonial school, Perth (File 56)

Fonds DD/SH. Strachie MSS, 17 October 1851 - 9 March 1852

1 item

Journal, apparently of a doctor, kept on voyage of Katherine Stewart Forbes on voyage from Gravesend to Auckland, 17 October 1851 - 9 March 1852 (File 72/3)

Detailed entries, referring to weather, sails, ships sighted, fight between captain and passengers, visit to Cape Town. (21pp.)

Fonds DD/X/wea. Notebooks of Mrs E. Cook of Taunton, 1952 - 1953

3 items

Diary of a visit to Australia, 13 February 1952 - 22 January 1953 (File 4/1)

The diary describes the voyage on S.S. Strathaird from Tilbury to Sydney via Algiers, Port Said, Bombay, Fremantle, Adelaide and Melbourne, visits to Blue Mountains, Bathurst, Forbes, Orange, Townsville, Green Island, Cairns, Mackay, Brisbane, Goondiwindi, Moree and Canberra, lengthy stay at Sydney, and return voyage via Colombo and Naples. (typescript) (102pp.)

Notes on visit to Australia, 1952 - 1953 (File 4/2)

Subjects include Legacy in N.S.W.; Sydney; Queensland; Fremantle and Perth; Canberra; Great Barrier Reef; Blue Mountains; life in outback; Australian Aboriginals; animal and plant life; visit to a ghost town. (typescript) (54pp.)

Talks (File 4/3)

1 item

Filmed selectively.

Two talks on visit to Australia. (typescript). (Item)