The Paston Letters.
by James Gairdner.
THE PASTON LETTERS
MARGARET PASTON TO JOHN PASTON[1.1]
_A Lettre to J. Paston, Armig., from his wife, shewing his imprisonment in the Fleete._[1.2]
[Sidenote: 1461 / NOV. 2]
Ryth worchepfull husbond, I recomand me to yow. Plesyt yow to wet that I receyvyd yowyr lettyr that ye sent me by John Holme on Wednysday last past, and also I receyvvd a nothyr lettyr on Fryday at nyt, that ye sent me by Nycolas Newmanys man, of the whyche lettyrs I thanc yow; for I schold ellys a' thowt that it had be wers with yow than it hathe be, or schal be, by the grace of Almyty God. And yet I kowd not be mery, sethyn I had the last lettyr tyll thys day that the Meyir sent to me, and sent me werd that he had knowlege for very trowthe that ye wer delyveryd owt of the Flet, and that Howard was comytyd to ward for dyvers gret compleynts that wer mad to the Kyng of hym. It was talkyd in Norwyche and in dyvers othyr plasys in the contre on Saterday last past, that ye wer comytyd to Flet, and in good feyth, as I herd sey, the pepyle was ryth sory ther of, bothe of Norwyche and in the contre. Ye ar ryth myche bownde to thank God, and all tho that love yow, that ye have so gret love of the pepyll as ye have. Ye ar myche behold to the Meyir[2.1] and to Gylberd,[2.2] and to dyvers othyr of the aldyrmen, for feythfully they owe yow good wyll to ther porys.
I have spoke with Syr Thomas Howys for swyche thyngys as ye wrot to me for, and he promysyd me that he schold labour it aftyr yowyr intent as fast as he kowd; and in good feyth, as my brodyr and Playter kan tell yow, as be hys seying to us, he is and wole be feythfull to yow. And as for Wylliam Wyrcestyr, he hathe be set so up on the hone, what by the parson and by othyr, as my brodyr and Playter schall telle yow, that they hope he wole do well i now. The parson seyd ryth well and pleynly to hym. The parson tolde me that he had spook with Syr Wylliam Chambyrleyn,[2.3] and with hys wyfe, and he thynkyth that they wole do well i now aftyr yowyr intent, so that they be plesantly intretyd. The parson tolde me that he wyst well that Syr Wylliam Chambyrleyn cowd do more ese in swyche matyers as ye wrot of, towchyng my Lord of Bedford,[2.4] than ony man kowd do that leveyth at thys day. Also he tolde me that he felt by hem that they wold owe yow ryth good wyll, so that ye wold owe hem good wyll. The parson hopyth verily to make yow acordyd when he comyth to London.
Item, my brodyr and Playter wer with Calthorp[3.1] to inquer of the mater that ye wrot to me of. What answer he gave hem, they schall tell yow. I sent the Parson of Heylysdon[3.2] to Gurnay[3.3] to spek to hym of the same mater, and he seyth feythefully ther was no swyche thyng desyiryd of hym, and thow it had be desyiryd, he wold nowthyr a' seyd nor done a yens yow. He seyd he had ever fownde you lovyng and feythfull to hym, and so he seyd he wold be to yow to hys power, and desyiryng me that I wold not thynk hym the contrary. As for John Gros, he is at Slole; ther for he myth not be spok with.
I pray yow that ye wole send me word whedyr ye wole that I schall remeve frome hens, for it begynyth to wax a cold abydyng her. Syr Thomas Howys and John Rus schall make an end of all thyngys aftyr yowyr intent, as myche as they can do ther in this wek, and he purposyth to come forward to yow on the Monday next aftyr Seynt Leonardys Day.
My brodyr and Playter schold a be with yow er thys tym, but that they wold a byd tyl thys day wer past, be cause of the schyer. I spok to my brodyr Wylliam as ye bad me, and he told me, so God hym help, that he hyryd ij. horse ij. dayis be for that ye redyn, that he myth a' ryde forthe with yow; and be cause that ye spak not to hym to ryde with yow, he seyd that he wend[3.4] ye wold[3.5] have had hym with yow.
Thomas Fastolfys modyr was her on the next day aftyr ye wer redyn, to have spoke with yow for hyr sone. Sche[3.6] prayith yow, at the reverens of God, that ye wole be hys good mastyr, and to help hym in hys ryth, that he may have hom hys lyvelod owt of ther handys that have had it in hys nownage. Sche seyth that they wold mak hym a yer yonger than he is, but sche seyth that he is more thane xxj., and upon that sche dare take an othe.
And the Blyssyd Trynyte have yow in Hys kepyng, and send yow good sped in all yowyr matyrs, and send the vyctary of all yowyr enmyis.
Wretyn in hast, on Sowlemas Daye.[4.1]
[Footnote 1.1: [From Fenn, iv. 232.] This letter is ascribed by Fenn to the year 1465, in consequence of the allusion to John Paston's imprisonment in the Fleet. But there were more occasions than one on which he was confined there. Fenn himself knew of two.
Paston was committed to the Fleet, as we know from William Worcester, on Saturday, the 3rd November 1464. He was also confined there in August and September 1465, and may very possibly have been released by the beginning of November. But I am inclined to think this letter refers to an imprisonment prior to either of these. For, in the first place, the news of it seems only to have been recent. It had become general subject of conversation at Norwich, 'on Saturday last,' whereas in 1465 it must have been known two months earlier. Secondly, Sir William Chamberlain, whose influence Sir Thomas Howes hopes will be of service, must have died in the spring of 1462. According to Blomefield (_Hist. of Norfolk_, i. 321), his will was dated the 3rd March 1461 (which would be in the modern computation 1462), and was proved on the 21st April 1462. It may be presumed, therefore, that on receiving the letter from his brother Clement (No. 484), written on the 11th October 1461, John Paston hastened up to London and was immediately thrown into prison. By this letter, however, we find that he was soon afterwards released, and his great enemy Howard sent to prison in his stead.]
[Footnote 1.2: There is no direction to the letter, but the words above inserted are written in an ancient hand upon the back of it.--F.]
[Footnote 2.1: William Norwich was Mayor of Norwich in 1461.]
[Footnote 2.2: John Gilbert was Mayor in 1459 and in 1464. He died in 1472.]
[Footnote 2.3: Sir William Chamberlain of Gedding, Suffolk, a Knight of the Garter, who had served under the Regent Bedford in the French wars. He married Anne, daughter and heir of Sir Robert de Herling, who, though she long survived him, and had two husbands after him, the second of whom was John, Lord Scrope of Bolton, was buried by her own desire beside her first husband, in the chancel of Herling Church.]
[Footnote 2.4: John, Duke of Bedford, Regent of France, died at Paris in 1435.--F.]
[Footnote 3.1: _Query_, if Sir William Calthorpe, Knight, High Sheriff of Norfolk, etc., in 1464, and died very old in 1494.--F.]
[Footnote 3.2: Thomas Hert was instituted to the Rectory of Hellesdon in 1448.--F.]
[Footnote 3.3: Thomas Gurney of Norwich, Esq., died in 1471.--F.]
[Footnote 3.4: 'Woud' in Fenn in the original text, but this is evidently a misprint. The right-hand copy reads 'wend,' _i.e._ weened or thought, and the note immediately following shows that this was the reading intended.]
[Footnote 3.5: The word 'not' seems here to have been omitted in the original letter.--F.]
[Footnote 3.6: The word 'He' occurs in the text before 'Sche,' but is evidently a mistake.]
[Footnote 4.1: All Souls', otherwise Soulmas Day, 2nd of November.--F.]
[[Footnote 2.3: ... Herling Church _final . missing or invisible_]]
MARGARET PASTON TO JOHN PASTON[4.2]
_To my ryth worchepfull [hus]bond, John Paston, be thys delyveryd in hast._
[Sidenote: 1461 / NOV. 20]
Ryth worchepfull husbond, I recomand me to yow. Plesyt yow to wet that I receyvyd yowyr lettyr that ye sent by the gold smyth, as thys day in the mornyng. As for Syr Thomas, he sent me word he schold to yow ward as on Twysday last past; if he fayle ony thyng that ye sent word he schold bryng with hym, it is not for no lak of remembrans, for I sent to hym thryis or fowyr tymys ther for, and that he schold hast hym ther in. As for Rychard Call, he was not at home thys fortnyth. When he comyth I schall do yowir erendys to hym; and as for all yowyr odyr erendys I schall do hem as well as I can. I sent yow a byll yestyrday by old Taverham, and a byll of Jone Gaynys mater, the whyche bylle I pray yow may be delyveryd to Thomas Playter. I spak to hym of the same mater or he yed hens, and I pray yow, if it plese yow, to geve hym yowyr avyse what ye thynk is best to do ther in. Sche seyth sche is ryth sory, and if hyr old mastyr demene hym not well to yow sche prayith yow that ye wole be hyr good mastyr, and I that sche fare never the werse for hys defawtys. And also I pray yow that ye wele be John Lysterys good mastyr in hys mater. He spak to Playter ther of, and Playter seyd he hopyd to fynd a mene aftyr that he had spook with yow, that schold ese hym ther in. I thank yow hertly for yowyr lettyr, for it was to me gret comfort to her fro yow. God knowyth my modyr and I thowt ryth longe tyll we herd tydyngys fro yow. And the blyssyd Trinite have yow in Hys kepyng. Wretyn in hast on Seynt Edmundys Day the Kyng.
By yowyr M. P.
The pepyll was nevyr bettyr dysposyd to yow than they be at this owyr.
The byll that Howard hathe mad a yens yow and odyr hathe set the pepyll in thys contre a rore. God yeve grace it be no werse than it is yet.
[Footnote 4.2: [From Paston MSS., B.M.] This letter seems to have been written in 1461, the year of John Paston's great dispute with Howard.]
ROGER TAVERHAM TO JOHN PASTON[5.1]
_To my reverent and most be trusted maister, John Paston, Esquyer, duelling in the Inner Temple, be this delyvered._
[Sidenote: Year uncertain]
Ryght reverent and most be trusted maister, I recommaunde me in the most lowly wise un to your good and prevyd maysterchep, and desiring many days to here of your welfare, whiche I be seche God encrese un to his plesauns and un to the prosperite and welfare of your person, and of all youres. And I be seche you of the good contynuaunce of your maysterchep at diverses tymes befor this writing shewed un to me; and, sir, ther is non man a lvye that I trust more to than I doo un to you, and I am your bedman, and so shall remayn be the grace of God all the days of myn liff. And, sir, I suppose I shall never see you no more, nor non of myn frendes, whiche is to me the grettest lamentacion that myght come un to myn herte; for, sir, by the grace of God, I shall go to Rome and in to oder holy places, to spende myn dayes of this present liff in the servise of God. For I hadde lever liffe in gret tribulacion in the service of God in this present liff, than for to folowe the wretchednesse of this worlde.
And, syr, of on thing I be seche specially your good maysterchep that ye wolle shew your good maistershep un to my fader in tyme of his nede, and that ye wolle recomaunde me in the most lowly wise with all reverence un to his good faderhode, be sechyng hym that he wole yeff me every day, during the dayes of his liff, his paternall blissing. And I have marvayle san that I have writen so many letters un to hym be for this tyme, that I hadde never non letter ageyn, whiche is to me the grettest lamentacion that ever come to my hert; and nowe knowing that I shall never see hym more, nor you, nor non other of my frendes, marvayle ye not thow sorowe is imprended in myn hert.
But, reverent maister, myn singuler trust remayneth nowe in your person, for, sir, and it please you, I most nedes write un to your good maisterchep, in the whiche my most trust remayneth. For, syr, and it please you, as for myn inheritaunce and other things whiche shulde come to me after the deth of my fader, whoes liff God preserve to his long plesauns, knowing that I shall never com ther, I hadde lever that by your good a vise that ye wolde take it unto you, for I hadde lever that ye hadde it rather than any person in the worlde during my liff, with all the profites ther of; and if that ye wole make as good evidences for you in that partye as ye can, and I shall a seale hem. And as you semeth best, and in the most secret wise, rewle you in this mater.