Activities for children
Interesting and creative ways to discover more about the Paston Family for primary aged children
We have also created classroom resources for teachers available on our sister site This Is Paston.
The Paston Family
The Paston family came from the village Paston in North Norfolk. They started out as farm labourers but ended up as Knights with fine castles. They used education and good business sense to become one of the most important families in Norfolk.
Why are the Paston Family important?
The Paston family wrote many letters to each other and many of their letters have survived for us to read today. The letters are interesting and exciting. They help us to share in the Pastons’ family life and in their many challenges and adventures in medieval and Tudor times.
What was life like for them?
Life was very tough. Not only did they have the Plague to deal with, they had many enemies who were jealous of their wealth. They also had to live through many years of Civil War – the period that is often called The Wars of the Roses. We have created some activities to help you find out more about the plague and how it affected the Paston family.
Why were they so successful?
The Pastons’ owned a great deal of land in Norfolk which they made money from by renting it to local people. They saved enough money to make sure their children could go to school and be trained in the law - not everyone had this opportunity. The family were very good at managing their business and making good use of the ports to sell the things they grew. The women of the Paston family often played the most important part in managing the family business and defending their houses against enemies.
What can we see of the Pastons today?
The Paston family lost much of their money in the 17th Century and many of their impressive homes and castles fell into ruin. However, the letters they wrote to each other describe many places and events in Norfolk. We can visit the lands that they once owned and walk the paths that they once walked. Coming soon are some walks and cycle rides you can do to explore 'Paston Country'.
Meet the Paston griffin
The Paston family chose a griffin as their symbol. It is brave, bold and clever - the perfect symbol for the Pastons. You can spot some Paston griffins out and about in the Norfolk countryside. We've created our own version of the Paston griffin - explore activities and make your own griffin for our creative gallery.
Pastons and the plague
The Paston family were threatened by plague and disease several times over a period of 300 years.
We've created a timeline so you see how they lived alongside these outbreaks and find out how one family made their fortune after it ended.
You can also watch our video where the Paston’s head servant, Richard Calle, takes you on a tour of the local market where people would buy ingredients for plague remedies.
Do you have a disease-busting idea up your sleeve? Think you have all the facts about plague? Have a go at the activity sheets below.
Plague activity worksheets
Invent your own cure or remedy for the plague and create a poster to advertise it - be as creative as you like!
Plague has struck the village of Paston. Imagine you are a plague doctor and write a diary of your day.