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Paston Letters

Margaret Paston to John Paston II

1469, 12 September

I greet you well, letting you weet that your brother and his fellowship stand in great jeopardy at Caister, and lack victual; and Daubency and Berney be dead, and divers other greatly hurt, and they fail gunpowder and arrows, and the place sore broken with guns of the tother part; so that, but they have hasty help, they be like to lose both their lives and the place, to the greatest rebuke to you that ever came to any gentleman, for every man in this country marvelleth greatly that ye suffer them to be so long in so great jeopardy without help or other remedy.

The Duke hath be more fervently set thereupon, and more cruel, sith that Writtle, my Lord of Clarence man, was there than he was before, and he hath sent for all his tenants from every place, and other, to be there at Caister on Thursday next coming, that there is then like to be the greatest multitude of people that came there yet. And they purpose then to make a great assault, for they have sent for guns to Lynn and other place by the sea's side, that with their great multitude of guns, with other shoot and ordnance, there shall no man dare appear in the place. They shall hold them so busy with their great people that it shall not lie in their power within to hold it again them, without God help them or (they) have hasty succour from you. Therefore, as ye will have my blessing, I charge you and require you that ye see your brother be holpen in haste. And if ye can have none mean, rather desire writing fro my Lord of Clarence, if he be at London, or ell of my Lord Archbishop of York, to the Duke of Norfolk that he will grant them that be in the place their lives and their goods; and in eschewing of insurrections, with other inconvenience that be like to grow within the shire of Norfolk, this troublous world, because of such conventicles and gatherings within the said shire for cause of the said place, they shall suffer him to enter upon such appointment, or other like taken by the advice of your counsel there at London, if ye think this be not good, till the law hath determined otherwise; and let him write another letter to your brother to deliver the place the same appointment. And if ye think, as I can suppose, that the Duke of Norfolk will not agree to this, because he granted this aforn and they in the place would not accept it, then I would the said messenger should with the said letters bring fro the said Lord of Clarence, or ell my Lord Archbishop, to  my Lord of Oxford other letters, to rescue them forthwith, though the said Earl of Oxford should have the place during his life for his labour. Spare not this to be done in haste, if ye will have their lives and be set by in Norfolk, though ye should lose the best manor of all for the rescue. I had liefer ye lost the livelode than their lives. Ye must get a messenger of the lords or some other notable man to bring these letters.

Do your devoir now, and let me send you no more messengers for these matters; but send me by the bearer hereof more certain comfort than ye have do by all other that I have sent before. In any wise, let the letters that shall come to the Earl of Oxford comen with the letters that shall comen to the Duke of Norfolk, that if he will not agree to the tone that ye may have ready your rescue, that it need no more to send therefor.

God keep you. Written the Tuesday next  before Holy Rood Day in haste.

By your mother

Norfolk Poems




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