Project Details

Welcome to the ‘Paston Footprints’ project

You'll find here an introduction and way in to the amazing hub of links, information, people and places, which over six centuries have formed the Paston story. Wherever you start, whether your interest is in reading medieval literature or donning walking boots, in 3D reconstructions or school learning activities, creative poetry or drama, Wars of the Roses or the wars of Paston women, or Goshawks, early music or drone photography, we hope you will be led further into understanding the world of this remarkable family and the impact they had, and continue to have, on Norfolk. In particular we hope you will find it a new and interesting way of discovering the Norfolk countryside.

What should you expect on this journey? Exploring the Paston heritage reveals the history of Norfolk as a social and economic engine room for the whole country during the 15th-17th centuries. The letters take us around the villages and along the lanes of North and East Norfolk, and often through a plague-ridden and at times lawless Norwich. We go behind the scenes of a bitter siege at Caister Castle and share in the attempted defence of Hellesdon Manor, beset by the Duke of Suffolk’s army. The turbulent years of the Wars of the Roses are chronicled from the perspective of a family desperately trying to navigate their way through and preserve their hard-won status and wealth. Many stories of births and deaths, love and marriage, sieges and politics, reading habits and alchemy experiments have new life breathed into them through our community driven project, which has heritage, creative, wellbeing, educational, digital and festive storytelling strands.

This is an interactive project and we look forward to hearing from you.

The Paston Footprints’ mission

  • to entice and empower 21st century people
  • to connect with the legends, letters and landmarks of the Pastons

We are the:

  • first large-scale community driven project to uncover specific local links with the vibrant Paston heritage;
  • first exploration of the entire 300 years of the Paston story;
  • first facilitation of bringing together professional and community based heritage, educational, wellbeing, creative, religious, commercial, leisure and tourism sectors to promote the globally significant Paston heritage.

Why we do this:

Invest in People:

  • through creative forms of engagement with Paston heritage, thereby enabling wider audiences to participate;
  • enhancing opportunities for social and physical wellbeing, through promoting community investment in their local heritage, stimulating a sense of belonging, and in the active physical engagement with the heritage through heritage trail walking and cycling.

Make Paston heritage accessible:

  • opening access to seeing and understanding the Paston heritage, from the archives to privately owned buildings (through digitisation and 3D modelling, with accompanying interpretative scaffolding and deeper learning exercises);
  • lasting all-age learning activities – in churches, in interpretation centres, and online;
  • schools’ impact – enabling schools’ to be active research centres, enabling teachers to use the Paston heritage more prominently through learning resources, thereby enabling longevity past the funded period.

Promote the visibility and enticing new audiences to the Paston story:

  • celebration in the public imagination to be sustained via media impact;
  • facilitating partnership networks;

Impact beyond the Paston Footprints project:

  • the creation of a ‘Heritage Action Success Stories’ toolkit, which will enable evaluations of partnership working to promote community based heritage research, and will be shared nationally.
Oxnead Hall, a lithograph of the hall in its prime, set in a modern photograph.

Oxnead Hall, a lithograph of the hall in its prime, set in a modern photograph.