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Paston

Paston lies on the Norfolk coast between Walcott and Mundesley. The Paston family, who were responsible for The Paston Letters, took their name from the village.

Paston Church

St. Margaret's Church, Paston

John Paston (1421-1466) is buried in St. Margaret's Church in the village. At the far end of the chancel are a number of tombs belonging to members of the Paston family. The most spectacular is that of Dame Katherine Paston (died 1628) which was carved by the sculptor Nicholas Stone and  features an epitaph that is attributed to the poet John Donne:
 

Not that shee nedeth monument of stone
for her well gotten fame to rest uppon
But this was reard to testifie that shee
lives in their loves that yet surviving be
for unto vertue whoe first raised her name
shee left the preservation of the same
And to Posterity remaine it shall
when marble monuments decaye shall all


Beyond this lie two older table tombs  - the eastern one believed to belong to John Paston. It is likely that these tombs were moved from nearby Bromholm Priory (see Bacton) after it was dissolved by Henry VIII.

The Paston Letters are a fascinating account of life during the War of the Roses period detailing the family's life including: legal wrangles, castle sieges and mismatched marriages. The letters span three generations of the family and were written during the reigns of Henry VI, Edward IV and Richard III.

Most of the letters were written by John and Margaret Paston (Margaret was the daughter of John Mautby - who lived at Mautby (near Great Yarmouth) and their two sons - both of whom were called John. There were also a number of letters written by William and Agnes Paston.

Three centuries later the letters were discovered at Oxnead Hall when the estate there was being sold and fortunately they found there way into the hands of the Norfolk historian Francis Blomefield.

Next to the church stands the magnificent thatched Paston Barn which was originally built in 1581 by Sir William Paston. The barn is the only remaining 'Paston' building in the village and is now home to a number of rare barbastelle bats. It is also the focus of activities run by the Paston Heritage Society.

 

Paston Tomb

Paston Family Tomb

Paston Tomb

Paston Family Tomb
 

Paston Barn

Paston Barn

Broomham Priory

Broomham Priory


St Margaret's Church also provides the location for the opening scene of William Rivière's 1997 novel Echoes of War:
 
'Holding the wreath she had made, Mrs Lammas pushed open the door of Paston church and went in. The North Sea gale swirled up the dead leaves lying in the porch, blew them inside past her legs, and those of her goddaughter Georgia Burney following her.'

The Lammas family in the novel are modelled on the Mack family who have a number of memorials inside St Margaret's and who were related to the Rivières. There is also a beautiful stained glass window dedicated to R.M. Mack (Rivière's great uncle) who was killed during WW1 when his destroyer was torpedoed.

Links:

More Paston Photographs

More Paston Family Photographs

 

 

 
 

 

 

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