Notes and Queries for Somerset and Dorset has been published in unbroken sequence since 1888. During that time it has recorded evidence on the history, archaeology, architecture, antiquities, genealogy, heraldry, literature, dialect, customs and folklore of the two counties.  This provides material of permanent value to all those interested in the the west of England, and in these topics generally. The journal is especially useful to the growing number of people actively interested in local and family history.

Among the many subscribers are universities, colleges, libraries, schools, and individuals in many parts of the world. Two numbers are issued annually in March and September. The subscription is small since all officers are voluntary and the entire income is used for costs of production.

We believe that the publication is excellent value but everyone to whom this note will be sent will be well aware that each additional subscription helps a magazine of this kind to give a fuller and better service.  The annual subscription, due on January 1st of each year, is only 8.00 (overseas 10.00 paid in sterling) including postage. The Hon. Secretary and Treasurer will send a Banker's Order if required.

If you wish to subscribe (and we hope you will), please contact for the address.


NOTE: Volumes one to six of the Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries were released on CD by Archive CD Books at the end of December 2001. These rare books are a fantastic resource as not only do they give a valuable insight into the life and times of your ancestors, they also include many other different subjects including transcriptions of parish registers, wills, administrations and parish chest records, descriptions of parishes and churches, churchwardens' accounts, anecdotes and stories, family histories, pedigrees, etc. They are now available through the various Archive CD Books websites and may be bought individually or all 6 volumes together.

From time to time extracts from some of the SDNQ volumes will be posted below:

Volume 12 - Page 339

A Somerset Militia Man - From "The Times" of Saturday, Sept 14, 1811.

"Our readers will recollect a statement respecting a soldier of the First Somersetshire Militia, who had lain in a very surprising state of insensibility from the 26th of April, in the present year, down to the 18th of July. Various means had been resorted to for the purpose of ascertaining whether the illness was real, such as thrusting snuff up his nostrils, administering nitrous oxide gas, electrical shocks, powerful medicines, etc, all of which proved utterly unavailing in the attempt to arouse him from the unaccountable torpor in which he had laid so long ; nor, indeed, did any of these expediants produce in him the slightest symptoms of animation.

We have now to add to this account a few facts, which, for there singularity, may challenge competition with the most marvellous occurrence that ever reached the public notice.

A few days after our account appeared, Phineas ADAMS, the subject of this curious narrative, and whose age was no more than 'eighteen', on the 6th of June last, was removed from the goal in which he then was, to the parish of Bickenhall, a small village seven miles from Taunton. His parents residing at that place, but being unable to recieve him in there own habitation, Adams was lodged in the poor-house - a small cottage adjoining the churchyard. In this situation he continued to be without exhibiting the least evidence of an improving condition.

In this hopeless condition, he was visited by Mr. WELSH, surgeon of Taunton, who suggested the propriety of performing the operation of 'scalping' the patient, with a view to ascertain whether the fall, to which the illness was attributed, might not have produced a depression of the brain. The proposal was communicated to the parents of Adams, who expressed there willingness that the experiment should be made. Accordingly, at the time appointed, the surgeon accompanied Adams's father to the bedside of his son, and there, in the presence of several respectable persons, described to both the young man's parents the nature and precise course of operation about to be performed. The incisions were made, the scalp drawn up, and the head examined ; during all which time the young man manifested no audible sympton of pain, or sensibility of suffering whatever, until the application of an instrument, with which the head was scraped in a particular part, and then, and once only, he uttered a groan.

No beneficial result appearing from this experiment, and as his case seemed absolutely remediless, application was made to his regiment for his discharge.

On Tuesday, August 20, the discharge arrived, and was taken over to Bickenhall by the sergeant. On the Tuesday following, old Adams brought his son downstairs in his arms ; and on the 28th he again brought him down, the son still remaining insensible. Next night (the 29th) he was seen sitting in the poor-house, with a gun in his hand, conversing with his father ; and on Friday, the 30th (our readers will participate with us in the complete astonishment excited by the fact) he was at Mr PALMER's a farmer, two miles from Bickenhall, cutting spars, carrying reed up a ladder, and assisting his father in thatching a rick!

The extraordinary rapidity of this young man's recovery, after obtaining his discharge from his regiment, having excited, in combination with the other circumstances which we formerly stated, an opinion that imposition had been practised, some of the neighbours reported that a press-gang was coming for him. This, it is supposed, having reached his ears, he absconded, and not a syllable has been heard of him since. . . . "


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