The Wall Dispute
One of the fascinations of the Paston Letters is the insight they give us into day to day living in the 15th century.
The Paston Letters give an account of what happened in the village of Paston when the Paston family, owners of Paston Hall, decided they didn't want people walking to church going past their front door - so they moved the road to the other side of the church. Even today, nearly 600 years later, you can see where the old road was or pass north of the church on the new road. Members of the Paston Heritage Society reenacted the story in the letters.
Just as today when plans are put forward for development for a new road, a new railway or a further housing extension, there were objections - and people took matters into their own hands! Today we have a process of plans being put forward, opportunities for objections to be heard - and sometimes plans are changed, at other times they are allowed to go ahead.
The above short media file can be used in this widow, full screen or direct from YouTube. An activity sheet for pupils can be downloaded from this link.
Here's a photograph of the lych gate for the village church at Paston. Pupils will need this to complete the first part of the worksheet. In the video, the lych gate is seen from the other side. Today this gate leads in from woodland and parishioners enter the churchyard from the other side and walk around the end of the church.
You can access various letters about the wall dispute. The two letters used in the activity sheet are and . Clicking on the links will open new tabs in your browser. You can see the letter as transcribed or with notes and can use the link to the British Library to see the original letters.