Large-scale project wins Heritage Lottery Fund support: volunteers needed


The Paston Heritage Society and Dr Karen Smyth, Senior Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern Literature at UEA, have received a £13,000 grant  from the Heritage Lottery Fund, representing initial support for the development of a community research project on the Pastons.

Paston Footprints 600 will be the first ever large-scale community project to uncover specific local links with the vibrant heritage of the Pastons, who as Norfolk’s most prominent family from 1380-1750 rose from medieval peasants to become lawyers and enter the dangerous European battlefields and Tudor courts. 

Paston letters available to view online – thanks to British Library

For the first time, part of the British Library’s large collection of Paston family correspondence and documents has been digitised and is available to view in full.

Five volumes containing some of the most studied items have now been published on its Digitised Manuscripts website: four volumes from 1440-1489 and a volume that contains further material from the second half of the 15th century, together with later correspondence. One of the most famous items being made available is the oldest Valentine letter, written by Margery Brews to John Paston III.

Costumed talks – and other opportunities to meet the Pastons

An opportunity to meet the most significant figures in the Paston family and hear their stories is being offered by PHS chair Dr Rob Knee through a series of costumed talks. He has already done a number of these talks and they have been much appreciated. He has created a website through which you can get a look at the kinds of figures he portrays at

Rare wall painting to be reconstructed digitally

A rare medieval wall painting of the Last Judgement in Paston Church will be digitally reconstructed in an exciting new project for which funding has been obtained from the Norfolk Coast Partnership. 

We intend to use expert advice and use the reconstructed image to support a community workshop where artistic responses, in ceramics and textiles, will be produced. Local crafts people will be involved.

Digital museum: UEA in exciting new Paston project

After the successful Heritage Lottery Fund All our Stories project that the PHS took part in during 2013, the society is now working with Dr Karen Smyth of UEA on an exciting new Arts and Humanities Research Council project – Preserving Place: A Cultural Mapping Exercise – in 2014-15.   

Dr Karen Smyth: spoke on the Pastons at Dragon Hall and the NRO exhibition

The aim is to test a method of digitally visualising all the options, routes and connections involved in preserving heritage and retelling history. The hope is that this will lead to a much larger project in the future that focuses on all aspects of the Pastons’ heritage. The aim is to create an interactive "digital museum". 

Lost Paston letter returns to Norfolk

One of the original Paston Letters, written from Sir John Fastolf of Caister to his cousin John Paston in 1455, is now in the possession of the Norfolk Record Office and can be viewed online. 

The Paston Heritage Society was instrumental in keeping the letter in Norfolk. Following a letter by
PHS founder Lucy Care in the Eastern Daily Press, and an article there
alerting people to its sale at Christie's London auction rooms, the
Norfolk Record Office put in a successful bid of £3000. The PHS urged any Norfolk people interested in the county's heritage to contribute to the cost.

The following article appeared in the Norfolk Record Office Newsletter: