Devon Record Office

Corner of High Street, Exeter.  c. 1880 (Francis Bedford 1816-1894)Corner of High Street, Exeter. c. 1880 (Francis Bedford 1816-1894)

Devon Record Office holds records and published works relating to the county of Devon (does not include Plymouth) and the City of Exeter and is situated in Devon Heritage Centre, Exeter. 

The Centre is also the home of West County Studies Library.

These resources come from a wide range of sources, from churches and chapels, county, district and parish councils and businesses and organisations to private individuals, and include documents, manuscripts, photographs and maps.

The name of the Office was changed to Devon Archives and Local Studies when the South West Heritage Trust took over the management of Devon Heritage Services on 1 November 2014.

Whatever your reason for visiting them, whether you wish to research your family history, conduct research for a school, college or university assignment, study the history of a house or are interested in local and community history, you will find the documents held of use.  

The knowledgeable and helpful staff are always on hand to help should you have require advice and assistance.

Contact Information for Devon Record Office


Devon Archives and Local Studies
Devon Heritage Centre
Great Moor House 

Bittern Road 


Telephone Number:

01392 888700



For information regarding their collections, please visit their Home Page.

It is possible to search using their online catalogue which has details of their collections.  Brief descriptions of most of the collections deposited at the Archives since 1989 are included in the catalogue.  Collections are being added frequently, but it will be a long time before the online catalogue contains details of all items held by the Archive.

Location and Directions

Directions and Opening Hours can be found by perusing the appropriate sections of their Visiting Us page.  It is possible to travel by train to the Archive, but Digby and Sowton Railway Station is one mile or twenty minutes walk from the building, with Pinhoe Railway Station being at least 30 minutes walk from the Office.

Two areas of Great Moor House Car Park are designated for use of visitors. As you enter the Car Park there is a row of parking spaces reserved for the Archives on the left hand side. If this area is full, there are also parking spaces accessible on the right-hand side.

Some disabled parking spaces are available in their car park, access to the building being provided via a ramp leading to the main entrance, or via a wheelchair lift located in the corner of the building.

Advance Booking

You do not need to book in advance to visit the Office, but you can pre-order documents or local studies materials.  This can be done via email, telephone or by letter.  You have to contact them by lunchtime on the day before you wish to visit to give them time to prepare your items.  If you wish to visit the Archive on a Saturday morning, you are recommended to order the documents you wish to consult in advance.

Photography and Photocopying

You can use a digital camera, but a charge is made for using this service, and you are only allowed to use the photographs for personal use or research.  You have to inform the Office if you wish to use the photograph for commercial purposes, so that they can contact the document owner to obtain the necessary permission.

Only staff are allowed to take photocopies of documents, but some documents are so fragile they are unable to be photocopied.  

Computers and Wi-Fi

You are able to use your own laptop if you wish, and power points are provided on tables and near to microfiche readers.

Six computers are available for the use of visitors in the Refreshment Room, from which you are able to view genealogical websites free of charge.

Free Wi-Fi is also available throughout the building.


Two machines dispensing hot and cold drinks and snacks are available outside the entrance.  A cafe is accessible for visitors to Great Moor House, serving drinks and snacks.  

Research Service

If you are unable to visit in person, the Office provides a research service, but they make a charge to people using this service.

Publications Available

Some publications are available for sale, which include:

  • Abbots Bickington to Zeal Monachorum
  • Aspects of Devon
  • Branscombe's War 1939-1945
  • Census 1801-1911: Information regarding the Census
  • Devon Topographical Prints 1660-1870
  • Exeter's Custom House and Quay
  • Exeter in the 1940s
  • Fire Insurance Records for Family and Local Historians 1696-1920
  • Genealogical Jargon for Family Historians
  • Land and Window Tax Assessments
  • Local Newspapers 1750-1920
  • Marriage Law for Genealogists
  • My Ancestor Was Series
  • Poor Law Union Records 3. South - West England, The Marches and Wales
  • The Protestation Returns 1641-1642 and Other Contemporary Listings
  • Quarter Sessions Records for Family Historians
  • Trades and Professions

Readers' Tickets

Devon Archives and Local Studies is not a member of the CARN (County Archive Research Network)so you have to register for a South West Heritage Trust reader's ticket, which are valid for four years.  

To obtain a ticket, you are required to bring identification containing your name, address and signature with you when you first visit.  Tickets are also valid at Somerset Archives and Local Studies and North Devon Record Office.

For further information regarding Offices in Devon, please visit my pages regarding North Devon Archive and Plymouth and West Devon Archives.