The Pastons were one of Norfolk’s most prominent families from about 1380 to 1750, rising from medieval peasants to becoming nationally important members of the aristocracy, and key figures in the dynamic power-play and politics of the Tudor and Stuart courts. They were, in many ways, the first modern family. What makes the Paston family truly unique is that they left a vast collection of letters and accounts of their lives in late medieval Norfolk – the now famous ‘Paston Letters’. These documents tell stories of their everyday lives, as well as the wider events of the medieval world, and the enemies they made during their rise from obscurity to power.

It is now 600 year since the first of the surviving Paston letters was written. The 600 Paston Footprints is a Heritage Lottery funded project that will, through community collaboration and detailed research, produce a range of new resources that will help local people connect with the remarkable story of the Paston family, as chronicled in the Paston Letters. 600 Paston Footprints is a collaborative project between numerous local partner organisations, including the Paston Heritage Society, the University of East Anglia, and the Norfolk Record Office. The three year project will highlight the remarkable story of the Paston family, the times they lived through, and make original resources available to the public for the very first time.

Hungate Talks

As part of the festival to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the writing of the earliest known Paston letter the Paston Footprints project has brought together a panel of experts to present a short series of lectures designed to explore the story of the Paston family, and their legacy, in more detail. All the talks are free to attend.

Date: Last Tuesday of every month
Time: open at 6:00pm, lecture at 6:30pm
Venue: Hungate Medieval Art, Norwich.

June 26th:
Elizabeth McDonald:
Sir John Paston’s guide to being a knight: John Paston II and his ‘Grete Boke’

July 31st:
Dr Rob Knee:
The Wars of the Roses and the Paston Letters

August 28th:
Dr Nicholas Groves:
‘a neat building of black flint’: St Peter Hungate, the Pastons, and the churches of Norwich.

September 25th: POSTPONED
Dr Jean Agnew:
The later Pastons: the 1st and 2nd Earls of Yarmouth

October 30th:
Dr Victor Morgan –
‘A Cabinets of Wonders’ and the Seventeenth-century Paston Collection



Entertaining the Tudors

Saturday July 7th The early music trio, Hexachordia presents an informal concert which brings to life the musical scene under Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Playing on a wide range of authentic copies of original instruments from Tudor era such as the harp, recorders,...

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Hellesdon History Live!

Saturday July 14th Hellesdon Local History group host a medieval pageant and history fair to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the writing of the earliest surviving Paston Letter. Come along and learn about the dramatic events of the 'Siege of Hellesdon' in 1465,...

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Medieval Crafts from the time of the Pastons

July 27th (Norfolk Day) Join local re-enctors 'Linstock and Pledgett' as they demonstrate medieval crafts, and try your hand at writing your very own Paston letter. Suitable for all ages. 11:00am - 4:00pm. Free Admission. St Peter Hungate church, Norwich.

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Mannington Medieval Festival

Sunday August 5th Mannington Medieval Festival. A day of medieval activities and entertainments all set in the delightful grounds of Mannington Hall in north Norfolk. Watch medieval demonstrations by members of the Norfolk and Norwich Medieval Association, try your...

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Medieval Tales for young and old

Saturday August 11th Medieval Tales for young and old. Join Norfolk's very own 'Yarn-smith', Dave Tonge, for an afternoon of tall tales and medieval stories with one of England's leading master story-tellers. Suitable for all ages. 12 noon - 4:00pm, Free Admission. St...

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