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About Searching: More help with using and understanding Historic England Archive

Advice about searching

How searching works: overview
Rules for free-text searching
Which data fields are searched?
Narrowing or Widening Searches

Narrowing or Widening Searches

English Heritage Archives offers three search options: all words, exact match or any words.

When the results are returned, you have the option to narrow your search by ticking exact match or widen it by ticking any words.

All words

Quick search retrieves records with all the words anywhere in them, in any order.

E.g. if you enter carlisle castle you will retrieve records for:

  • Carlisle Castle
  • Rose Castle, Dalston, Carlisle
  • Castle Street, Carlisle
  • Castlesteads, Walton, Carlisle

Exact match

Only those records with all the words in the order you've entered them will be retrieved.

Any records where the words are divided by another word, or are in reverse order, will be excluded.

E.g. the following will not appear in the results for carlisle castle:

  • Rose Castle, Dalston, Carlisle
  • Castle Street, Carlisle
  • Castlesteads, Walton, Carlisle

The following results will appear in the results for carlisle castle:

  • Carlisle Castle, Carlisle, Cumbria
  • Inner Gatehouse, Carlisle Castle, Carlisle, Cumbria
  • Queen Marys Tower, Carlisle Castle, Carlisle, Cumbria

Any words

Records with one or more of the words in them will be retrieved.

E.g. the results retrieved for carlisle castle will include records for:

  • Carlisle Castle
  • Rose Castle, Dalston, Carlisle
  • Castle Street, Carlisle
  • Castlesteads, Walton, Carlisle
  • Castle Acre Priory
  • Carlisle Street, Sheffield

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Case Study 1: What you might find for an historic house: Athelhampton Hall, Dorset
Case Study 2: What you might find for a village: Bisley, Gloucestershire
Case Study 3: What you might find for a town: Stroud, Gloucestershire
Case Study 4: Finding photographs and documents for a type of building