The Tudor Society

September 20 – Sir William Paston (c. 1479-1554)

On this day in Tudor history, 20th September 1554, in the reign of Queen Mary I, courtier and landowner Sir William Paston died at Paston in Norfolk. He was buried there.

Paston served Henry VIII as a sheriff and commissioner, and served on the jury trying the Earl of Surrey even though Surrey's father, the Duke of Norfolk, was his former patron.

Here are a few facts about Sir William Paston:

  • Sir William Paston was born in around 1479 and was the son of Sir John Paston the Younger of Paston, in Norfolk, and his wife, Margery Brews.
  • William was educated at Cambridge and is thought to have trained as a lawyer.
  • He served King Henry VII as an esquire.

  • In around 1500, William married Bridget Heydon. The couple went on to have ten children, including Sir Thomas Paston, who served in Henry VIII's privy chamber; Erasmus, who had two sons before his death in 1538; and John and Clement, who served as gentlemen pensioners. His daughter included Eleanor, who became Countess of Rutland.
  • In 1511, he served as a commissioner of array in Norfolk.
  • In 1513, he was granted the castle and lordship of Eye in Suffolk.
  • In 1517, William served as sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk.
  • At some point between 1518 and 1520, William was knighted.
  • Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, acted as Paston's patron.
  • In 1520, he was present at the Field of Cloth of Gold meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I.
  • Also in 1520, he was listed as one of those in attendance when the king met Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.
  • In 1522, he served on the commission of the peace in Norfolk.
  • In 1522, William served in the army sent to the Scottish borders.
  • In 1524, he served as a subsidy commissioner in Norfolk and also was at court to welcome the papal ambassador.
  • In 1528, he served as sheriff once more.
  • In autumn 1536, he raised men to send against the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace under the command of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk.
  • In 1537, during Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries, William was on the Norfolk commission for the dissolution of the lesser monasteries.
  • In 1539, he served as a commissioner for the defence of the east coast of England.
  • In January 1540, he attended court to welcome the king's new bride-to-be, Anne of Cleves.
  • In 1544, William was granted the manor of Caister Berolf and other properties in Norfolk.
  • In January 1547, William served on the jury at the trial of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. Surrey was, of course, the son of the Duke of Norfolk, Paston's former patron, was was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
  • In 1548, William provided horses for the Scottish campaign, but did not serve.
  • In 1549, he sent two cannon to defend Norwich against the rebels of Kett's Rebellion.
  • William died on this day in 1554.

Also on this day in Tudor history...

Notes and Sources

  • Loades, D. (2008, January 03). Paston, Sir William (1479?–1554), landowner. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 19 Sep. 2023, from

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September 20 – Sir William Paston (c. 1479-1554)