Paston letters

views updated Jun 27 2018

Paston letters. Private correspondence (15th–17th cents.) of a Norfolk family, that of the 15th cent. in particular providing significant insights into the social history of the pre-Reformation period. Not only a family saga (Margery's clandestine marriage to their estate manager in 1469 caused consternation), business affairs, property matters, and associated litigation trace the progress of ‘new’ gentry, despite some archival fragmentation. Although property was confined mainly to East Anglia, their interests were far from parochial, so accounts of national events leaven those of regional politics and matrimonial negotiations, all reflecting social attitudes, culture, and the state of the English language.

A. S. Hargreaves

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