Paston, Norfolk Genealogy
Guide to Paston, Norfolk ancestry, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.
|Poor Law Union||Tunstead and Happing|
|Parish registers: 1538|
|Bishop's Transcripts: 1691|
|Probate Court||Court of the Archdeaconry of Norfolk|
|Location of Archive|
|Norfolk Record Office|
PASTON (St. Margaret), a parish, in the Tunstead and Happing incorporation, hundred of Tunstead, E. division of Norfolk, 4½ miles (N. E.) from North Walsham. The Primitive Methodists have a place of worship. 
Paston St Margaret is an Ancient Parish in the Waxham deanery of the Diocese of Norwich. Paston is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. In the survey Paston is known by the name ‘Pastuna’ with the main tenant landowner being William de Warenne. It also mentions the church and a mill in the parish. From about 1400, the village was dominated by a family called Paston. Clement Paston was a small landowner who saved enough money to have his son, William (1378-1444), educated as a lawyer and ultimately become a judge. The family went on to acquire lands throughout the county and became notably wealthy. Indeed, there is an old saying in Norfolk that 'There was never a Paston poor, a Heydon a coward or a Cornwallis a fool.' The family are remembered today mostly for their remarkable collection of private and business letters (the Paston Letters) that remain from the fifteenth century. In 1597 Sir William Paston (1528-1610) moved the main family residence to Oxnead.The last Paston of the male line, the 2nd Earl of Yarmouth, died in 1732. The Paston estate was then acquired by Lord Anson, passing in the early nineteenth century to the Mack family. The village was served by Paston & Knapton railway station on the North Walsham to Cromer section of the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Railway from 1881 until 1964.
The church dates from the 14th century and is constructed from flint. It has an embattled tower which looks down on a thatched roof. The porch is on the south elevation and opens to a plain nave and chancel which is divided by an originally 15th century rood screen. The church was restored in 1601, 1843 and again in 1869. In 1922 wall paintings were uncovered. One is of Saint Christopher carrying the Christ child. Another depicts the legend of the three kings who, when hunting merrily in the forest, suddenly encountered three hanging skeletons.There is also a small figure from a 'Weighing of souls' and the remains of some post-Reformation texts.
The Paston Monuments are at the eastern end of the building. The tomb of Katherine Knevet (the wife of Sir Edmund Paston) who died in 1628 stands on the north side of the chancel. This was created by Nicholas Stone, the master-mason to King Charles I, who was frequently employed by the Paston family, and contains a verse epitaph written by the famous 'metaphysical' poet John Donne who was Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, London. The tomb is made of alabaster and pink-veined marble and shows a semi-reclining Lady Katherine, sculpted in white marble, surrounded by numerous allegorical figures. Stone also composed the neighbouring tomb of Sir Edmund who died in 1632. This has a plain urn on a bare base in an aedicule of black Doric columns. Pevsner comments that the 'contrast between the severity of the one and the ebullience of the other is startling'.The chancel also contains three tomb-chests. The one at the eastern end is believed to be that of John Paston, who died in 1466 and was originally buried in Bromholm Priory in a magnificent funeral involving forty barrels of beer and ale.
There are some stained glass windows that are in memory of members of the Mack family alongside memorial plaques within the nave. The east window is in memory of John Mack of Paston Hall, who died in 1867, and is attributed to the firm of Clayton and Bell. The south window next to the rood loft doorway is dedicated to Lt Cdr Ralph Michael Mack RN who went down with his ship, HMS Tornado, off the Dutch coast in 1917.
Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.
- Tunstead 1837-1869
- Smallburgh 1870-1938
- North Walsham 1939-1974
Paston, Norfolk Genealogy parish registers of christenings, marriages and burials are available online for the following years:
|Paston, Norfolk Genealogy Online Parish Records|
This parish's registers do not appear on FamilySearch as no microfilm for the parish is held at the Family History Library.
A search of the FamilySearch Catalogue identifies the following Archdeacon's transcripts:
| Baptisms and burials 1725-1812 Marriages 1726-1812
|| FHL BRITISH Film |
1526820 Item 10
Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library. The first film number is 438866.
http://www.btinternet.com/~e.c.apling/1891Census/Paston.htm transcript of 1891 census
Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Norfolk Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.
Maps and Gazetteers
Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.
- Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 537-540. Date accessed: 06 May 2013.
- 'Norfolk Coverage', FreeREG, accessed 27 February 2014.
- 'England, Norfolk Archdeacon's Transcripts, 1600-1812,' FamilySearch, accessed 31 March 2014.
- 'England, Norfolk, Bishop's Transcripts, 1685-1941', FamilySearch, accessed 31 March 2014.
- Hugh Wallis, 'IGI Batch Numbers for Norfolk, England,' IGI Batch Numbers, accessed 20 March 2014.
- 'Norfolk Coverage,' The Joiner Marriage Index, accessed 8 February 2014.
- Norfolk Transcription Archive, accessed 15 April 2014.
- 'Norfolk Baptism Project 1813 to 1880,' Tinstaafl Transcripts, accessed 10 April 2014.