Caister Castle cycle route
A cycle route that follows the path of the Paston family’s influence on Great Yarmouth. Travelling from the Minster Church, north out of the town and into the ancient Isle of Flegg and the birthplace of Margaret Paston. Here, the fine soils and the majestic Caister Castle provided the power base for the family’s ambitions.
Caister Castle cycle route details
LENGTH: 13 miles
TERRAIN: minor roads, parkland tracks, gentle slopes
PARKING: route can be accessed from Yarmouth or Acle Railway Stations
FACILITIES: toilets available at Yarmouth train station, Yarmouth market place and Mautby church
Points of interest on the cycle route
Places to stop and learn more about the Paston landmarks
Yarmouth Minster Church
The Norman- era Minster Church of St Nicholas is one of the largest parish churches in the country. The Paston Coat of Arms is one of several featured in a display on the walls of the church of prominent local families. The church also contains a tomb of a member of the Fastolf family
Yarmouth North Gate
Judge William Paston (1378-1444), inherited land in Yarmouth from his mother’s family, was the first of many members of the Paston family who would have passed through the North Gate of the Town.
Sir John Paston III was elected MP for Yarmouth and in 1488 was feasted by the elders of the Town. Sir Robert Paston, following his appointment High Steward and later as the Earl of Yarmouth, entered the town in a great procession in 1675.
Isle of Flegg
The Mid Sands Cross stood on where the old course of the River Bure reached the sea, north of Yarmouth, at Grubbs Haven. It also marked the boundary between Caister, on the Isle of Flegg (which in the 15th century was surrounded by water) and Yarmouth.
Arguments about fishing and salvage rights meant that the boundary was often a source of friction and in Tudor times one such dispute involved Sir William Paston and the elders of the Town of Yarmouth.
Caister Castle was built by Sir John Fastolf. In 1459, John Paston, who had worked for Sir John, inherited the Castle. For the next 20 years, the ownership of the Castle was fiercely disputed. In 1469, during the Wars of the Roses, The Duke of Norfolk, despite the stubborn resistance of a small group of men led by John Paston III, successfully besieged the Castle. However, ownership of the Castle was finally secured by the Paston family in 1476.
Margaret Mautby (1423-1484) married John Paston in about 1440. Margaret was an heiress to both the Mautby and Berney families. Margaret’s inheritance provided the Paston family with a foothold on the rich land of the Isle of Flegg. Margaret, widowed in 1466, spent her final years at Mautby Hall.The position of Margaret’s tomb, in the now lost South Ailse of Mautby Church, is marked with a memorial stone.
The River Bure at Acle Bridge
Goods, to and from Paston estates, upstream at Oxnead near Aylsham, would have passed this way. The River Ant, a tributary of the Bure, led to Paston family estates in the North Walsham area.
The Paston family shared the ownership of much of the Isle of Flegg with their cousins, the Clere family. Several marriages occurred between the two families. In 1551, Sir William Paston married Frances Clere from Stokesby. In earlier times, Margaret Paston’s chaplain, James Gloys, was Rector of Stokesby.