The first two volumes appeared in 1787, entitled Original Letters written during the Reigns of Henry VI., Edward IV., and Richard III. by various Persons of Rank; edited by Mr. (afterwards Sir John) Fenn. They are called Paston because chiefly written by or to members of the Paston family in Norfolk. They passed from the Earl of Yarmouth to Peter le Neve, antiquary; then to Mr. Martin, of Palgrave, Suffolk; were then bought by Mr. Worth, of Diss; then passed to the editor. Charles Knight calls them “an invaluable record of the social customs of the fifteenth century” (the time of the Wars of the Roses), but of late some doubt has been raised respecting their authenticity. Three extra volumes were subsequently added.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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