Welcome to the World of the Pastons

The Pastons were one of Norfolk’s most prominent families from about 1380 to 1750, rising up from a rural manor to become nationally important members of the aristocracy and key figures in the dynamic power-play and politics of the Tudor and Stuart courts. What makes the Paston family truly unique is that they left the earliest and largest collection in the country of documents detailing their everyday lives – the now famous ‘Paston Letters’. These accounts tell stories of their tumultuous lives, as well as the intrigues of the wider events of the world. Valuing education for their children, using the newly emerged law courts alongside dramatic sieges, and the female Pastons playing key roles in their estates and family management, they were, in many ways, the first modern family. This site is your portal to the Paston story, with lots of activities to engage with – from digital visualisations to creative storytelling, research opportunities to donning walking boots.

Footprints
Be part of the exciting Paston Footprints project
Paston People
Begin exploration of the Paston Family
Exploring the Paston Letters
Understanding the letters & documents across the centuries
Places & Topics
Paston links & events across Norfolk, Suffolk & further afield
3D Landmarks
Explore 3D visualisations of Paston homes, past & present
Education
Teacher resources for students of all ages

Events

Lots of events from August onwards - all can be joined online
Paston Footprints - Peerage to Penury by Dr Jean Agnew
Footprint Events
22 Sep, 2021 ~ 13:00-14:00
Norfolk Record Office
The Last Hundred Years of the Paston Family, 1632 – 1732 This is a hybrid event, with a small in-person audience at The Archive Centre and an online audience. More details NRO
An Introduction to the Handwriting of Tudor to Hanoverian Norfolk
NRO Online Course
27 Sep, 2021 - 1 Nov, 2021 ~ 10:00-11:00
Online or NRO In Person
An Introduction to the Handwriting of Tudor to Hanoverian Norfolk Examine and read a range of Norfolk documents written in a variety of Secretary Hand, Court hand, Italic Hand and later mixed hands. Archivist Tom Townsend Tom will introduce each text and provide interpretation. Interested in this in-person or on-line course? Here's an introductory video and here's more details and booking.
Paston Footprints - The Royal Game by Anne O’Brien
Footprint Events
29 Sep, 2021 ~ 13:00-14:00
Norfolk Record Office
Discover how three Paston women came from nowhere to challenge the course of history. This is a hybrid event, with a small in-person audience at The Archive Centre and an online audience. More details NRO
Paston Footprints - The Heraldry of the Pastons By Dr John Alban
Footprint Events
6 Oct, 2021 ~ 13:00-14:00
Norfolk Record Office
Paston Footprints - The Heraldry of the Pastons By Dr John Alban Discover how the heraldry of the Pastons was inextricably linked with the family’s pedigree and, in particular, was a powerful instrument in the family’s assertion of its antiquity and status within society in the fifteenth century and later. This is a hybrid event, with a small in-person audience at The Archive Centre and an online audience. More details NRO
Paston Footprints - Paston Heritage and the Support of Wellbeing Dr Rob Knee
Footprint Events
13 Oct, 2021 ~ 13:00-14:00
Norfolk Record Office
Rob Knee describes the Paston Footprints project’s provision of engaging heritage experiences. This is a hybrid event, with a small in-person audience at The Archive Centre and an online audience. More details NRO
Paston Footprints - Finding New Footprints of Paston and Oxnead Halls by Peter Stibbons
Footprint Events
20 Oct, 2021 ~ 13:00-14:00
Norfolk Record Office
Paston Footprints - Finding New Footprints of Paston and Oxnead Halls by Peter Stibbons New research has revealed information and changes in understanding about the Paston homes. This is a hybrid event, with a small in-person audience at The Archive Centre and an online audience. More details NRO
Paston Footprints - Data Impact Visualisation Workshop with Dr Karen Smyth
Footprint Events
21 Oct, 2021 ~ 11:00-12:30
Norfolk Record Office
In this 90 minute workshop Dr Karen Smyth, Senior Lecturer in Literature at UEA, will help you explore how to present data gleaned from archives that is engaging and has impact. More details NRO
Paston Footprints - Touching Paston Lives By Dr Karen Smyth
Footprint Events
27 Oct, 2021 ~ 13:00-14:00
Norfolk Record Office
Karen explores the challenges in telling the Paston stories that deal with emotions, politics and morality from a bygone age. This is a hybrid event, with a small in-person audience at The Archive Centre and an online audience. More details NRO
Title Deeds: an Introduction to their Form, Purpose and Interpretation
NRO Online Course
15 Nov, 2021 - 20 Dec, 2021 ~ 10:00-11:00
Online or NRO In Person
Title Deeds: an Introduction to their Form, Purpose and Interpretation Examine the format and texts of several types of historical deeds. The historical context of the deeds and reveal the key phrases in each deed that help to recognise what it is and that introduce new sections within their texts. More details & booking.
The Gardens at Oxnead
Online - click picture below
1 Jan, 2022 - 30 Dec, 2021
The Gardens at Oxnead Professor Tom Williamson of the University of East Anglia draws on his wide knowledge gained through leading landscape studies and recent research on the Reptons – Humphrey and son John Adey – to consider the gardens at the Pastons' Oxnead Hall. Runtime c. 55 mins.
The Pastons and Great Yarmouth
Online - click picture below
1 Jan, 2022 - 31 Jul, 2025
The Pastons and Great Yarmouth Dr Rob Knee of the Paston Heritage Society takes us through the rise and fall of the Paston family and their influence over the hinterland of Great Yarmouth. Runtime 57 mins.
The Usefulness of the Pastons
Online - click picture below
1 Jan, 2022 - 31 Dec, 2021
The Usefulness of the Pastons Dr Rosemary Horrox of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, puts the Paston letters in the wider context of medieval history and explains how useful they are in understanding life in those times. October 2019, the Great Yarmouth Footprints conference, runtime c. 55 mins.
That Shakespeare Life
Online - click picture below
1 Jan, 2022 - 31 Dec, 2025
That Shakespeare Life Dr Rob Knee of the Paston Heritage Society joins Cassidy Cash for a podcast on the Paston Letters in relation to Shakespeare's 'Henry' plays - and tackles the Fastolf-Falstaff question. Runtime 30 mins.
Paston Footprints - Digitising the Paston Letters
Footprint Events
12 Jul, 2022 ~ 19:30
Sedgeford Parish church
Paston Footprints - Digitising the Paston Letters The Pastons in the lecture programme of the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project for their summer excavation season. Click for the full SHARP 2022 schedule.