The Paston Family of East Anglia were significant landowners. The family had grown in power and significance following the Black Death. They invested sensibly, and marriages were arranged that served them well.
The Paston Family: Upwardly Mobile
The family knew the importance of having well respected professionals within the family, so invested in education. In just a few generations, they rose from the lower echelons of the gentry to a position of holding castles, several manors and being respected enough to receive personal letters from King Edward IV himself.
Edward IV to Sir John Paston, 18 April 1468
…it is accorded between us and our cousin the Duke of Burgundy that he shall wed our dearest sister Margaret and in a short while we intend to send her into Flanders for the accomplishment and solemnisation of the marriage; at which time it [is fitting for] her to be accompanied by great nobility of this realm… We therefore, well understanding and remembering the good affection you bear towards us, our pleasure is [that] you will dispose yourself to the said intent and purpose…”
The Paston’s overseas trade
John Paston III had travelled to Burgundy for the marriage of Margaret of York to Charles of Burgundy. His goal was to take advantage of any mercantile opportunities that may arise at the time of the marriage. John too wrote of the wedding and ceremonies that accompanied it. On 8 July 1468 he wrote to Margaret Paston:
And she was brought the same day to Bruges to her dinner, and there she was received as worshipfully as all the world could devise, as with procession with ladies and lords best beseen of any people that ever I saw or heard of…”
Netherlandish School, The Paston Treasure, mid-1670s, Norwich Castle Museum, Norfolk
Paston Letters: Edward IV’s entrg into York, 1461
Paston Letters: Sir John Fastolf’s Will
Paston Family: Siege of Caister Castle