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Caister Castle - which lies a few miles inland from Caister - was originally built by Sir John Fastolf.

Caister Castle

Shakespeare used the name for his character Sir John Falstaff - who appeared in Henry IV Part 1 and Part 2. After the death of Sir John the castle passed into the hands of John Paston (1421-1466) - however the will was disputed and John had to go to London to petition. In fact, John Paston spent the rest of his life trying to assert his claim to the castle. He was imprisoned three times in the Fleet gaol in the process.

While John was in London Margaret took charge of the family's affairs in Norfolk and wrote to her husband frequently to keep him informed of events. John was a very meticulous man and (fortunately) kept all of her letters and even added his own notes on them to help him with his replies.

Here is a passage from one of Margaret's letters - written this time to her son John Paston II - at a time when Caister Castle was under siege:

'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.'

Read the complete letter.

The castle is now the venue for a car museum.

See also Mautby, Oxnead  and Paston.


More Paston Family Photographs

Paston Heritage Society





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