The Pastons of Paston, Norfolk, are famous for the collection of letters and papers which bear their name. In particular ‘the Paston Letters’ have been well known since the time of Horace Walpole, although until now they have never been used systematically by historians of fifteenth-century England: they are both immensely attractive to read and fiendishly difficult to use as source material from which to write history. This volume describes, in lively and original style, the beginnings of the family’s gentility and sets out some of the major themes of their history between 1400 and 1500. Many of the themes are common to all gentry families of the later Middle Ages, a period critical in the formation of the English polity. It might also be said that the Pastons epitomize a class which since the later Middle Ages has dominated the English state, English society and English culture.