Paston letters available to view online – thanks to British Library

For the first time, part of the British Library’s large collection of Paston family correspondence and documents has been digitised and is available to view in full.

Five volumes containing some of the most studied items have now been published on its Digitised Manuscripts website: four volumes from 1440-1489 and a volume that contains further material from the second half of the 15th century, together with later correspondence. One of the most famous items being made available is the oldest Valentine letter, written by Margery Brews to John Paston III.

The Paston Letters is one of the largest archives of 15th-century English private correspondence, comprising about 1000 letters and documents including petitions, leases, wills and even shopping lists. They offer a unique glimpse into the personal lives of three generations of the Paston family over 70 years.

Click here for the British Library article, of which this is a small part (edited).