John I

1421-1466

Whilst the fortunes of the Paston family are never far from dramatic, it is perhaps with John I that things are at their most turbulent. John inherited the wealth and lands of his father William at the young age of 22, having benefited from an education and career in law as his father before him.

However, John’s professional reputation was not as unblemished, and controversy arose when he claimed to have been named as the sole inheritor of the estate of Sir John Falstolfe. Falstolfe was closely related to John Paston’s wife Margaret (nee Mautby), and had appointed John I as his lawyer, allegedly summoning John to his deathbed to make his wishes known, setting aside previous wills.

The higher echelons of Norfolk society were not convinced of the veracity of this, and battles both legal and physical ensued. John I was even briefly imprisoned whilst the case was being debated. Despite eventually being exonerated, John did not live long after to enjoy his victory.