Within three generations (1426 to 1485), and through the dark and dangerous years of the Wars of the Roses, the Pastons established themselves as a family of consequence, both in their native Norfolk and within court circles. Ambitious and highly mobile - womenfolk as well as men - they kept in touch by correspondence, usually but not invariably through the medium of a clerk. These letters, a rare survival, break upon us across the centuries with the urgency, and sometimes the violence, of their preoccupations: defending property,
fighting court cases, making the right alliances, and, on the domestic side, managing their estates, conducting their courtships, stocking their cupboards. Selected and presented here with Richard Barber's invaluable linking narrative, they bring the middle ages triumphantly to life.