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.

Paston People
Begin exploration of the Paston Family
Understanding the Paston Letters
Explore Paston Letters & documents across the centuries
Places & Times
Paston links & events across Norfolk, Suffolk & further afield
3D Landmarks
Explore 3D visualisations of Paston homes, past & present
About Footprints
Be part of the exciting Paston Footprints project
Resources for Teachers
Introduce students of all ages to the Pastons


Whilst we're unable to hold events out and about, we're pleased to provide some online:
That Shakespeare Life
Online - click picture below
30 Nov, 2019 - 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.
The Usefulness of the Pastons
Online - click picture below
21 Mar, 2020 - 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.
The Gardens at Oxnead
Online - click picture below
25 Mar, 2020 - 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
25 Mar, 2020 - 31 Jul, 2021
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 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.
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 2021 schedule.