The Paston family’s letters and network of acquaintances show that paper had made the transition from being a technological novelty to becoming a familiar tool, an essential instrument in everyday life.
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.
Later this month a memorial stone will be unveiled in a picturesque English churchyard to one of the most important figures in the history of women’s literature, more than five centuries after she passed away.
A small medieval memorial brass has brought to light the sad story of a young girl whose short life, and tragic death, had previously gone unnoticed by historians and academics.
How do the terms on land and manors which appear in the Paston Letters reflect his observation? I pick up several terms relating to the land owning system in the England of Middle Ages and examine their distribution in the letters; i.e. the terms ‘villein, serf, demesne, bond, rent, and tenant.’
This paper will discuss the lived experiences of women of the English nobility and gentry during the period between 1450 and 1485, which covers the end of the Hundred Year’s War to the end of the Wars of the Roses.
A rare opportunity to know English provincial life in the fifteenth century is afforded in that wonderful collection known as ‘The Paston Letters.’
In this paper I want to explore one of the key assumptions we hold about medieval women’s texts in the early and mid-fifteenth centuries, why we hold it, and what we actually can find if we try to pierce the veil of such critical assumptions and get closer to the words these medieval women actually wrote.