Paston Heritage Society celebrates the return of a rare 1454 Paston Letter

A society preserving the history of a north Norfolk village has been celebrating the return of a rare 15th century letter to the region, after fears it would leave the county forever.

The Paston Heritage Society visited the Norfolk Record Office recently to welcome the Fastolf letter at its presentation in Norwich.

The bid to keep the letter local was won in June after the record office successfully bid on the unique 1454 Paston Letter which went on sale at Christie's London auction rooms.

It came from the private collection of Great Yarmouth historian Charles John Palmer and a note records its purchase in 1839 for two guineas.

Seven lines long, the Fastolf letter was sent by former Caister Castle owner Sir John Fastolf to his lawyer John Paston and is penned by Sir John's secretary William Worcester.


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It reveals a threat to sue a prior for rent owed after occupying land within his Hellesdon manor on the outskirts of Norwich.

The Pastons were the first recorded family to write to each other in English on paper and the letters are a collection consisting of their correspondence between the years 1422 and 1509.

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Most of the letters, which include state papers and documents which reflect the general condition of England during that period, are kept at the British Library, Bodleian Library and Cambridge University Library.

Speaking in June, Christie's press officer Dernagh O'Leary said the Fastolf letter sold at auction for �3,000.

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