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The Usefulness of the Pastons

The Usefulness of the Pastons


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The Usefulness of the Pastons

Lecture by Rosemay Horrox

Given at The Pastons, Great Yarmouth and their World – a one-day symposium, held in Great Yarmouth in October 2019

I called this the usefulness of the Pastons and when I chose the title I was thinking primarily of the usefulness of their letters for historians and the light they shed on so many aspects of late medieval society and politics, and that’s my starting point today. But I also want to consider their usefulness within their own lifetimes and within the framework of their own society. What gives the letters their unique value – and we heard recognized to be the best of the 15th century collections – is the unusually high proportion between the Paston themselves which lets us see family dynamics and relationships playing out in real time.

Rosemary Elizabeth Horrox is a Fellow and a Director of Studies in History at Fitzwilliam College at the University of Cambridge.


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