Paston - Places and People

Welcome to the story of the Paston family. The Pastons grew from small beginnings in the north-east Norfolk village of Paston to become a family of considerable influence across the county for the next three centuries. But they are best known because about two thousand letters and other documents to and from family members have survived from that time to tell us many details of their lives.

Here's one of the latest developments from our Footprints 600 project, which you can read further about below. This video helps explain some of the work we've undertaken to bring some of the Paston properties back to life - starting with Paston Hall, in Paston itself.

Most of our pages are about the family and will eventually contain all the letters as well as links to such sites as the British Library, where you can see the letters as originally written. We also include some pages about the village of Paston itself.

If you've read or heard about our National Lottery Heritage Fund award under the heading Paston Footprints, and you'd like to know more, then use one of the options below. You'll also find plenty about the exciting 600 Footprints project in the Footprints menu, on the bar above. We're currently looking to expand the list of volunteers who are helping with aspects of the database of letters; you'll need a computer and broadband connection as the task is done on screen.

You don't have to be able to read medieval script, though if you can, there may be some advantages. We're just looking for volunteers to check and expand on what's already been done. Here's the volunteering button!

We're also developing interest groups which you can join if you wish - for questions and also to provide us with answers! A forum group on Heraldry is getting under way; see the Volunteers page for more information.

The Paston story, whether the family or the village, will never be told fully on this site, but we'll gradually be adding material of interest to all levels, from the youngest, studying medieval times and the Tudors at school, to those who want to investigate their own family history. In particular we are providing significant resources for historians researching times past, and some interactive tools you can use to make your own investigations.

Read about a rediscovery which sheds light on the Pastons and their lives. Click to hear about Anna Paston, a long-forgotten child of the late 15th century.

The name Paston applies to a number of settlements in England. A few pages of the website deal directly with the village of Paston on the Norfolk coast. Historically it is a unique place, for the family that took their name from the village provides us with the most comprehensive record of medieval day-to-day life that exists. The "Paston Letters" give a glimpse into the Tudor world, the time of the 'Wars of the Roses", of country life and life at court in a way that no other documents offer.

The site has been developed especially to support the work being undertaken with Heritage Lottery Fund support. You can see other information on what we are doing by clicking on the Paston Heritage Society website.


Edward Paston and the Secret Music
Footprint Events
8 Jan, 2020 ~ 19:30
Bergh Apton
Edward Paston and the Secret Music Rob Knee introduces the musician and composer of the Paston family. Bergh Apton Village Hall, Cooke's Rd, Bergh Apton, Norwich NR15 1AA.
Teaching with the Pastons
Footprint Events
14 Jan, 2020 ~ 09:00-16:00
Teaching with the Pastons A conference for all interested teachers at Blofield Primary School, led by Sue Eagle, Tim Taylor and Dot Lenton. There'll be learning materials, examples and time to discuss using the Pastons of Norfolk and their Letters within the curriculum. Booking 01508 499559.
The Pastons in West Norfolk
Footprint Events
15 Jan, 2020 ~ 19:30
Downham Market
The Pastons in West Norfolk As the Paston family grew, some members moved to look after interests in different parts of the county. Rob Knee introduces the 'western' branch. Downham Market Heritage Centre. Heritage Society members £3.00, non members £4.00.
Paston Footprints and Digitising the Paston Letters
Footprint Events
5 Mar, 2020 ~ 13:00-14:00
King's Lynn
Paston Footprints and Digitising the Paston Letters Peter Stibbons introduces the Paston Footprints project, exploring the Norfolk family known through their 15th century letters. A 'True's Talk' at True's Yard. Tickets free, but booking needed, 01553 770479.
Rebuilding Norfolk's History - the Paston Properties
Footprint Events
17 Apr, 2020 ~ 19:30
Cromer, Community Hall
Rebuilding Norfolk's History - the Paston Properties 3D graphic artist James Mindham illustrates how photography, research, archaeology and on-screen modelling combine to bring back to life long-lost Norfolk buildings of the Paston family. Members of Friends of Cromer Museum £3.00, non-members £4.00.
Paston Footprints and Digitising the Paston Letters
Footprint Events
2 Sep, 2020 ~ 19:45
Norwich, Norfolk Heraldry Society
Paston Footprints and Digitising the Paston Letters Peter Stibbons of the Paston Heritage Society demonstrates the work being undertaken to build a Paston world and put the Paston Letters into a searchable format on the world wide web. Norwich Central Baptist Church.