Paston - Places and People

We regret to say that at the moment the Paston Footprints project is not permitted to hold any events that involve social contact. We are leaving our more distant future events listed as provisional and hope that we will be able to resume in due course. However, we are proceeding with all online aspects of the project and you'll find lots on these pages that you can follow - whether just browsing or actively participating.

We are providing some presentations online - click on a selection in 'Events' on the right or search for 'Paston Footprints' in YouTube on your television.

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.


The Usefulness of the Pastons
Online - click picture below
21 Mar, 2020 - 31 May, 2020
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.
The Gardens at Oxnead
Online - click picture below
25 Mar, 2020 - 30 Jun, 2020
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
25 Mar, 2020 - 31 Jul, 2020
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.
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.
Rebuilding Norfolk's History - the Paston Properties
Footprint Events
20 Nov, 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 - Digitising the Paston Letters
Footprint Events
13 Jul, 2021 ~ 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 2020 schedule.
The Pastons & the Peasants Revolt
Footprint Events
16 Jul, 2021 - 18 Jul, 2021 ~ 09:00-18:00
North Walsham Memorial Park
The Pastons & the Peasants Revolt The "battle of North Walsham" of 1381 brought to an end the Peasant's Revolt. Join the reenactors and visit the many stalls and displays - as in 1381, the Pastons will be represented.