ANONYMOUS TO JOHN PASTON[11.1]
[Sidenote: 1461(?) / DEC.]
Ryght worchefull master, I recommend me on to yow, &c. The cause of my wrytyng is this; I was at Blofeld on Sent Andruys Day[11.2] wyt the person,[11.3] and he understode non noder but that I cam to se is master chepe, for it was hese cheve day,[11.4] and that I mevyd in to hym of the lond in Sochewerk, how I hard sey qwan I was in Sochefolk that Geney mad hys avaunt that he had zon [_given_] zow and hym a choppe of xx.
pownd of lond. And in contynent he telde me al the mater beter than I cowde telle hym, and as I cowde understond in hym be my sympyl wyt, that he was of knoleche of alle the mater; for he seyd that Yelverton cam don fro the benche, and plete the mater, and for cause ye wer to laches, and cam not in tyme, the mater yede a mys. And so I understode be hym that he is dysposyd to excuse Yelverton in al materys rather than yow; but never de les make good cher to the person, as thow ye understode that he wer your frend, tyl tyme ye have your in tente. But be warr and trost hym not, but make yow so strong in lorchepe and in the lawe, that ye reeke not meche qwder he be good or bad, &c.
Item, ye be meche be held on to Tomas Grene and Edmund Wydewel, broder to Heu a Fen, for thei reporte meche worchepe of your master chepe in al maters, and that cause the substans of the towne to howe yow servese, and be wel dysposyd on to yow masterchepe, and that understonde I hevery day. And yf that plese yow, qwan we partyt at Norwyche in yowr plase, ye seyd on to me ye wold som qat do be my sympyl a wyse; and this is myn a wyse that in ony wyse ye make Heu a Fen and Tomas Grene on your consel, yf ye can fyne in yow herte. For I dare sey, as I her and understonde, that thei how yow ryth good well and servyse, for a man may her be the halfe qwat the hole menyth, and therfor for Godds lowe remember yow wel in this mater; for and it stode on myn lyfe, I wold do as I awyse yow, &c.
Item, for howr Lords love, goo tharow with Wyll Weseter, and also plese Chrewys as ye thynke in yow hert best for to do; for it is a comon proverbe, 'A man must sumtyme set a candel befor the Devyle'; and therfor thow it be not alder most mede and profytabyl, yet of ij. harmys the leste is to be take.
Item, ye xul oonderstonde that the parson telde me that dey wer somuned to cum for the probat of the testement at Convercyon of Sent Powle;[12.1] and therfor I wolde avyse yow in ony wyse that ye xuld understond the mater wysely her ye com hom, for I sopose that Yelverton and he is confydett and acorde to geder.
Item, qwan I was at Blofeld with the parson, ther cam Robert Fyrass to hym, seyyng that he is compeld be the Kyngs Commycyoners to have harnes after is degre, and that the parson sent hym to my mastras that che xuld delyver hym harnes, and I understond che wylle not tylle ye com hom. But ye xul understond it is an halmes dede to do hym good, understondyng is nesessyte and nede that he stond in, and also understondyng that he was kynnyes man to my master, and it is a comon proverbe, 'A man xuld kepe fro the blynde and gevyt to is kyn'; and hevery man wyl sey wel ther of, the mor cause he is a gentylman, and of is kyne, and in gret penur. And therfor, for the love of God, remembyr seche maters.
No mor at this tyme, but God have yow in Hys kepyng, bothe body and sowle, and spede yow in yowr maters as wel as wel as I wolde ye xulde do.
[Footnote 11.1: [From Fenn, iv. 64.] The date of this letter is a little uncertain, but it seems to have been written at the beginning of the dispute between Paston and Yelverton, about Fastolf's will, and the year 1461 appears to me on the whole most probable.]
[Footnote 11.2: 30th November.]
[Footnote 11.3: Thomas Howes.]
[Footnote 11.4: The day of his _chief_ or patron saint. Blofield Church is dedicated to St. Andrew.]
[Footnote 12.1: Jan. 25.]
[[and spede yow in yowr maters as wel as wel as I wolde ye xulde do.
_text has "sqede yow"; "as wel / as wel as" is printed across a line break and looks like an error, but Fenn has the same text at mid-line_]]
MARGARET PASTON TO JOHN PASTON[13.1]
_To my right wurchepfull husband, John Paston._
[Sidenote: 1461 / DEC. ]
Right wurchepfull husbond, I recomaund me to you. Please it you to wete that myn awnte is dissesid, whos sowle God assoyll. And if it please you to send word how ye wull that we do for the lifflode that she had at Walcote, wheder ye wull that any body take possession thir in your name or not. And if it like you to have with you my cosyn William her sone, I trow ye shuld fynde hym a necessary man to take hede to yowr howshold, and to bye all maner of stuffe nedefull therto, and to se to the rewle and gode gidyn therof. It hath be told me be for that he can gode skill of such thyngs; and if ye wull that I send for hym and speke with hym ther of, I shall do as ye send me word, for in feyth it is tyme to crone your old officers for diverse thyngs wher of I have know parte be Dawbeney, and more I shall telle you whan ye come hame.
Also it is thought be my cosyn Elizabeth Clere, and the viker[13.2] and other that be your frends, that it is right necessary for you to have Hew of Fen to be your frende in your maters; for he is callid right feythfull and trosty to his frends that trost hym, and it is reported her he may do myche with the Kyng and the Lords, and it is seid that he may do myche with hem that be your adversaryes: and therfor, Godds sake, if ye may have his gode wille, forsake it not. Also it is thought the more lerned men that ye have of your owyn contre of your councell, the more wurchepful it is to you.
Also if ye be at home this Cristmes, it wer wele do ye shuld do purvey a garnyssh or tweyn of powter vesshell, ij. basanes, and ij. hewers, and xij. candlestikes, for ye have to few of any of thes to serve this place. I am a ferd to purvey mych stuffe in this place till we be suerrer therof. The Blissid Trinyte have you in His blissid kepyng.
Wretyn the Thursday next after Sent Andrew.
[Footnote 13.1: [From Fenn, iv. 106.] Except that it seems to be of the reign of Edward IV., the date of this letter is about as uncertain as that of the last; but as they are both written about the same time of year, and both recommend John Paston to use the counsel of Hugh Fenn, it is highly probable that they are of the same year. Perhaps the last letter may have been written by the vicar mentioned in this.]
[Footnote 13.2: The vicar of Paston? Robert Williamson was vicar of Paston at this time.]
MARGARET PASTON TO JOHN PASTON[14.1]
_To my ryth worchepful husbond, Jonhn Paston, be thys delyveryd in hast._
[Sidenote: 1461 / DEC. 29]
Ryth worchepfull husbond, I recomande me to yow. Plesyt yow to wete that I receyvyd the lettyr that ye sent me by a man of Seynt Mychell parysche on Fryday next aftyr the Consepcion of owyr Ladi;[14.2] and anon as I had it, I sent my modyr[14.3] the lettyr because of swyche materys as longyd to hyr in that same lettyr. And sythyn that tyme I kowd gete no massanger to London but if I wold have sent by the Scheryfys men; and I knew nowthyr her mastyr nor them, not whedyr they wer well wyllyng to yow or not; and therfor methowt it had be no sendyng of no lettyr by hem.
And as for swyche materys as John Geney and Jamys Gresham spak to me, I sped hem as well as I kowd; and they bothe told me that ye schold veryly a ben at home before Crystmas, and that causyd me that I wrot not to yow now non answer. For if I had know that ye schold not have ben at home er thys tyme, I schold a sent some man to yow; for I thynk ryth longe tyll I have some god tydyngys fro yow. I fer me that it is not well with yow that ye be fro home at thys good tyme. And many of yowyr contre men thynk the same; but they be hertty inow to yow-ward, and full fayn wold her god tydyngys fro yow. The wer no byllys put to the Scherryf[15.1] at hys beyng her, ner non opyn playnt mad that I ... . . of no persone, be cawse they had so lyttyll knowlage of hys comeyng in to thys contre. He demenyd hym full ... . . and indeferently, as it was told me, and Yelverton mad a fayir sermone at the Sesschyonys, and seyd ... . . so that the Kyng was informyd that ther was a ryotows felawschep in thys contre, wer for the Kyng was gretly dysplesyd, and that the Kyng undyrstood well that it was not of ther owne mosyon, boot of cownselyng of one or ij. that ben evyll dysposyd folk. And also he seyd if ony man wold put up ony byllys of compleynts of ony extorcion or brybery don be ony men of thys contre to them, they wer redy to receyve them, and to make a-kord be twyx hem; and if they cowd not mak the acord, that than the schold tak the byllys to the Kyng, and he schold set hem thorow. And the Scheryfe seyd that he wold he ... ... them that wold compleyne and dorste not for fer put up ther byllys.
And Yelverton preyid the Scheryfe that if he had for get onythyng that the Kyng seyd to hem at ther departtyng, that he wolde rehersyt [_rehearse it_] ther. And than the Scheryf seyd that he had seyd all that he remembryd, save only [that] the Kyng ... . to hem ij.
personys, Syr Thomas Todenham and Heydon. And than Yelverton seyd, 'A, that is trowthe, as th ... ... . that J[ohn of] Dame told me that he spak with the Scheryf aftyrward, and let hym h ... ... . the rewylle [and] demenyng of thys contre, and what cawsyd the pepyll for to grwge ayens swyche folkys as had the reuyll be fortyme; and he was pleyne to hym in many thyngys, as he told me; and he fond the Scheryfe ryth pleyne ayen to hym, and well dysposyd in that that myth growe to the welfar of the schere. The Scheryfe seid he undyrstood by swyche informacion as he had, syns he came into thys contre, that they had not all gydyd hem well that had the rewyill of thys contre be for; and therfore he seyd feythfully, and swore by gret othys that he wold nowthyr spar for good, nor love, nor fer, but that he wold let the Kynge have knowlage of the trowthe, and that he wold do asmyche for thys contre as he cowd or myth do to the welfare therof, and seyd that he lekyd the contre ryth well.
And John of Dame seyd if the contre had had knowlage of hys comyng, he schold have had byllys of compleyntes and knowlage of myche more thyng than he myth have knowlage of that tyme, or myth have because of schort abyng; and he seyd he wold not be longe owt of thys contre.
And also Yelverton seyd opynly in the Seschyons they to come downe for the same cause to set a rewyll in the contre. And yet he seyd he woste well that the Kynge myth full evyll have for bor ony of hem bothe; for as for a knyth ther was none in the Kyngys howse that myth werse a be for bore than the Scheryfe myth at that tyme. I have myche mor to wryt to yow of than I may have leyser at thys tyme; but I troste to God that ye schall be at home yowyr selfe in hast, and than ye schall knowe all.
And but if ye come home in haste, I schall send to yow; and I pray yow hertly, but if ye come home, send me word in hast how ye do. And the blyssyd Trinyte have yow in hys kepyng. Wretyn in hast on Seynt Thomas day in Crystmas.[16.1]
Here was an evyll rewlyd felawschep yestyrday at the schere, and ferd ryth fowle with the Undyr Scheryfe, and onresnably as I herd sey.
[Footnote 14.1: [From Paston MSS., B.M.] The date of this letter will appear by comparison with No. 500. A few words in the margin of the original letter are illegible, the writing having been injured by damp.]
[Footnote 14.2: The Conception of Our Lady was on the 8th December.]
[Footnote 14.3: Margaret always speaks of Agnes Paston as her mother.]
[Footnote 15.1: The Sheriff was Sir Thomas Montgomery.]
[Footnote 16.1: The day of St. Thomas of Canterbury (Becket), 29th December.]
RICHARD CALLE TO JOHN PASTON[17.1]
_To my right reverent and my moost wurschipful maystre, my Maystre John Paston._
[Sidenote: 1461 / DEC. 29]