Search the Paston Letters and Documents

This is the page on which you can search all the Paston documents which have already been put on this site. Because this is a developing project, you need to be aware of what you can do at present and watch for changes in the future.

From September 2020 the site contains all the Paston letters from the medieval period. and the letters from the 17th century.

The medieval letters are mostly, but not completely, using the text of Gairdner's 1904 publication with later research where available. We are gradually working through them to add notes and a 'The Letter Today?' version. Use the 'Search Mode' box to choose whether you search all the letters or just the ones we have edited with notes. At present, the majority are in the unedited format.

Search for:
Search using:
Any word

All words

Specified using AND/OR, NOT and (brackets)
Search in:
Letter Text
Optionally restrict by year:
Any term   
All terms
Start typing into the search field below if you know what taxonomy terms you are searching for or enter ? to list all the available terms and use the '+' button to expand a term and show its associations. Once you have found the required term(s), double click to add to or remove a term from the selected list in the left hand column.
Search for:
Search Restrictions
Letter Inclusion:
Type of Document:
Location of Original:
Original Scribe:

When the option Specified using AND/OR and (brackets) is selected, the search field recognises:

  • the AND or OR terms - for example John OR Margaret and John AND Margaret;
  • grouping by brackets such as (John OR Margaret) AND Paston where we are searching for either John or Margaret but saying that Paston must always appear;
  • grouping words using quotes - e.g. 'John Paston' AND ('Margaret Paston' OR 'Margarete Paston') where we are trying to cover where John Paston must appear along with either Margaret Paston or the alternative spelling of Margarete Paston.

The search field also recognises wild card searches using an asterisk (*) in order to use entries such as Margaret*Paston which should handle anywhere where Margaret appears in the text as long as Paston appears anywhere afterwards.

The 'Topic' search buttons can be grey, with no action, clicked once to be green and used for searching or clicked again for red, and omitted from a search. These are limited in their coverage will be replaced in due course by a comprehensive taxonomic ssearch facilty.