The Paston Family History

The Paston family took their name from the village of Paston, which is about 20 miles northeast of Norwich. Much of what we know about this influential Norfolk family is obtained from the Paston letters. This is a vast collection of letters written by members of the family to and from other members, employees, colleagues, friends, and even in some cases adversaries. The earliest member of the family to become known to the wider world was the first William Paston (1378-1444), who rose through the ranks of the legal profession and became a judge in 1429. William established the family fortunes so successfully that his sons and grandsons eventually attained positions of some prominence and acquired wealth and property. From the time of Henry VII onwards, the family was, for about 150 years, among the most influential families in East Anglia. 

Noteworthy personalities

John Paston II (1442 - 1479)

Joined Edward IV's court in 1461. Knighted 1463. MP of Norfolk 1467-68. In Princess Margaret's train for her marriage in Bruges 1468. Took the Lancastrian side in 1470 and fought at Barnet under Warwick April 1471. Pardoned December 1471. At Calais often from 1473 to 1477. MP of Yarmouth 1478. Died in London. His father complained about John II's lack of ability and ambition.  

John Paston III (1444-1504)

Served under the Duke of Norfolk 1462-64. In Princess Margaret’s train for her marriage in Bruges 1468. In command of Caister Castle during the siege by the Duke of Norfolk in 1469. Fought at Barnet 1471. Married Margery Brews 1477 (she died in 1495). He re-married after 1495 - Agnes, daughter of Nicholas Morley. Pardoned by Richard III 1484. MP Norfolk 1494-97. He was a more competent and ambitious soldier than his elder brother.  

Edmund II, (1450-1503)

At staple Inn 1470. At Calais 1473. Indentured to the Duke of Gloucester for service with the king 1475. Married twice, 1) Catherine widow of William Clippesby, and 2) Margaret widow of William Lomnor and of Thomas Briggs. 

Walter (after 1455-1479)

Went to Oxford 1473. Took a degree BA June 1479 

William III (1459-1503)

At Eton 1478-79. In service of the Earl of Oxford 1488. Became insane probably around 1503. 

Margery (1448-1482)

Married Richard Calle 1469 (family scandal as he worked for the family) 

Anne (1494-1495)

Married William Yelverton 1477

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