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Medieval Family Life

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The Paston Family Papers have long been a subject of both literary and historical interest. They are Britain’s first surviving records of private correspondence, describing everyday life in East Anglia during the Wars of the Roses.

In addition we include four other valuable collections relating to medieval families in Essex, Oxfordshire, Yorkshire and Warwickshire, c1400-1490.

Available printed transcriptions are full-text searchable and displayed alongside the manuscript images for the very first time. We also include a variety of 'further resources', including family trees, an interactive map and a wide range of outstanding visual sources.

These will transform teaching in this area and open up many essay topics and research projects.

As Joel Rosenthal says in his introductory essay, these letters “take us into a world of family business, personal relationships, and the local community.”

They “give an insight into long-term issues, like pursuing an inheritance, and those of daily and domestic concern; arranging marriages, bearing and raising children, calculating profit and loss, mourning the dead, fleeing from the plague, or placating the great powers of the land.”

  • Only five major family letter collections from this period survive and all are included here
  • Original images are directly linked to full-text transcriptions of all the manuscript material
  • Double-keyed secondary sources help to contextualise the material
  • Visual content illustrates everyday life in the medieval period