Would you like to make this site your homepage? It's fast and easy...
Yes, Please make this my home page!
The Paston book of arms c. 1450: NRO, MS Rye 38
The Paston Book of Arms is a mid-fifteenth century manuscript containing
a French grammar, obits and pedigees of some Norfolk families and a collection
of seventy-three painted shields of arms representing the relations and alliances
of the Paston, Barry and Mautby families. The Pastons are famous for
their surviving collection of family letters, and MS Rye 38 is made up of
seventy-two paper leaves measuring 5 3/4 x 4 1/4, collated as follows: a1
b16 c8 d18 e1 : f16 (2 and 3 cut out) h8. It has been owned at various
times by the Norfolk Antiquaries Francis Blomefield, John Ives (Suffolk herald
extraordinary), Thomas Martin and Walter Rye, and their signatures can be
found at the beginning of the manuscript. The authorship of the
book of arms has been attributed by Blomefield and Ives to the fifteenth
century Norfolk Franciscan John Brackley, and Ives even wrote on the fly-leaf
that the ‘great part of this book is friar Brackley’s hand writing He was
a minor or Grey-Friar in Norwich The good Old Friar hav here presented us
several of the arms of Norfolk families now extinct & hav added at the
end the obiits of many of the Pastons his patrons it is a curious little
work & extremely well performed for the time in which it was done - A.
1460 or there about.’
Norman Davis has argued against this attribution, and on the basis of handwriting
analysis from surviving Paston letters he concluded that the French grammar
and most of the obits were put together by William (d. 1496), son of William
Paston senior (d. 1444) and Agnes Barry (d. 1479). In comparing
the handwriting of Brackley and William Paston, Davis concludes that changes
in the latter’s style places the date of composition somewhere after 1449.
Davis also concludes from the absence of Sir John Fastolf’s death (d. 1459)
from the obits contained in MS Rye 38 that it probably was composed before
Fastolf’s death in 1459. The section comprising the French grammar
(folios 64r - 66v) was probably copied, but cannot be traced to any similar
surviving medieval learning aids. The preceding sections consist
of the obits and the seventy-three coats of arms (one per page), the latter
occupying folios 38 folios, ff. 36v and 37r being left blank. The final
two coats of arms are probably later additions, since they are separated
from the rest by two empty pages and appear to have been painted by a different
artist. Colin Richmond suggests that two missing leaves earlier in
this section were removed by the Pastons themselves to conceal their own
That the Pastons had a book of arms made which recounted their family’s descent
and alliances suggests that armory played an important role for them.
Coats of arms provided an immediate and visible indicator of kinship and
perceived family history for many noble families during the late middle ages,
and also for many members of the gentry. Margaret Paston’s will of
February 1484 shows how important heraldry was in the life of the Paston
family. ‘I wulle that myn executours purveye a stoon of marble to be
leyde alofte upon my grave within a yer next after my decesse; and upon that
stoon I wulle have iiij. scochens sett at the iiij, corners, wherof I wulle
that the first scochen shalbe of my husbondes armes and myn departed, the
ij of Mawtebysarmes and Berney of Redham departed, the iij of Mawtebysarms
and the Lord Loveyn departed, the iiij of Mawtebysarms and Sir Roger Beauchamp
departed. And in myddys of the seid stoon I wull have a scochen sett
of Mawtebysarms alone.’ The Paston family’s heraldic preoccupation
in this regard related to their perceptions of their own background and family
history which they went to great lengths to defend. They eventually
won royal recognition of their gentry status and of their claims to be descended
from Norman conquerors Although MS Rye 38 can then be seen as
part of this programme of holding up the Pastons’ past in a self-conscious
manner, it would be misleading to view this book of arms solely as an armorial
pedigree. Certainly the majority of the impaled and quartered coats
of arms contained in it detail the ancestors of the Paston, Mautby and Barry
families, but a good many others are of unrelated East Anglian individuals.
Furthermore, many of the impaled shields seem to stand for individuals with
no apparent relation to the Paston family, and these shields could represent
the Paston’s own imagined background. It is clear that some of the
coats painted in the book of arms represent individuals allied with, rather
than related to the Pastons. That some of these coats of arms represent
individuals included not because of kinship, but because of their alliances
with the Paston family means MS Rye 38 is a cross between an armorial pedigree
and a regional roll of arms. Regional rolls of arms differ from other
collections of coats of arms in that they catalogue armigers from a particular
region. Other rolls of arms use different criteria for inclusion and
list those present on a certain military campaign or at particular a tournament,
for example. Thus the Paston book of arms cannot be characterized solely
as a regional roll of arms. Nor was it ever intended simply to contain
the arms of Major East Anglian families, but as most of the arms of those
unrelated to the Pastons do belong to members of Norfolk society it at least
resembles a regional roll. In including the arms of local allied families
along with relatives and ancestors, it does contain far more information
than a pedigree could supply. MS Rye 38 offers a family armorial history
which gives in addition to genealogical references information about the
rise, connections and prosperity of the Paston family.
In considering in more detail the coats illustrated in the manuscript, it
becomes clear that roughly three quarters of the arms painted are of families
connected with and alliances concluded by the Paston family. While
several articles on MS Rye 38 have blazoned some of the arms contained within
and have attributed these shields to various Norfolk families, the arms in
their entirety have not been matched against the Paston family history.
In many cases the design on a painted shield in the Book was used by more
than one East Anglian family in the fifteenth century, and as in the case
of coat no.6 the two different families that might be represented are
both Paston ancestors. The value in blazoning the arms in the Book
and identifying the various fifteenth century Norfolk families that bore
such designs lies in that it allows one to create various and sometimes alternative
explanations of the alliances these shields intended to portray. Excepting
the final two coats of arms in the book which Davis attributes to a later
hand, the concluding shield quarters twelve coats among the preceding families
and alliances recorded, and suggests how to interpret the entire book.
In one sense this multi-quartered coat of arms with which the Pastons were
associated by descent can be read as a summation of some of the other individual
arms painted in the Book. MS Rye 38 can then be read backwards along
the lines of a genealogical chart establishing their connections to these
families. The Paston book of arms is at the same time a visual representation
of the alliances concluded by members of the Paston family and in many cases
these arms portrayed do not belong to the direct ancestors of the Paston
family. In this regard the book of arms can be read in a wider context
as not just a genealogical pedigree, but also as an assertion of the alliances
made between members of the Pastons, their spouses and the wider gentry society
of East Anglia. The inclusion of arms of unrelated individuals makes
sense in this light and are to be read along side those arms which represent
family connections. The arms of these unrelated people were included
to represent their alliances with the Paston family. Of course, determining
just which painted arms are intended to represent ancestors or distant relatives
is complicated by the fact that in many instances loose relationships rather
than demonstrable kinship appears to have been the basis for including certain
Of the seventy-three coats in MS Rye 38, the three quarters that signify
the Paston family’s actual or alleged relations by either blood or marriage
may be arranged in four major groupings: those associated with the families
of Clement Paston (d. 1419) and his wife Beatrix Somerton (d. 1409), those
associated with their daughter-in-law Agnes Berry, those associated with
Robert Mautby, the grandfather of John Paston’s (d. 1466) wife Margaret (d.
1484), and those associated with Margaret’s father John Mautby (d. 1433).
These four main groups of coats of arms will be examined in turn. Firstly,
more than a dozen shields can be traced to that part of the Paston family
in the mid-fifteenth century represented by the marriage of Clement Paston
and Beatrix Somerton. Coat no. 8, per pale Argent six fleur-de-lys
3 2 1 Azure a chief indented Or (Paston) and Or a chevron charged with three
pellets between as many wolves’ heads erased Gules (Somerton), stands for
Clement Paston’s marriage to Beatrix Somerton. Clement’s great-grandfather
Walter Paston is shown as having brought in the Glanville arms, coat
no. 34, as his maternal grandfather was supposedly a Norman lord and
an alleged companion of William the Conqueror, William Glanville.
Similarly, Walter’s wife Cecily de Peche’s great-great-grandmother Joanne
Grey, daughter of Edmund Grey, could possibly account for the presence of
the de Grey arms, Azure a fess between two chevrons Or. The existence
of the Swanton arms, coat no. 48, is easier to account for since Clement
Paston’s sister Elizabeth married John Swanton. Their daughter
subsequently married a member of the Walsham family and bore a daughter who
eventually married a son of John Lovell. This marriage explains coat
no. 58 which impales the arms of Lovell, Walsham and Paston, while the
marriage of John Lovell to Isabel de Bois accounts for the Bois arms
in coat no. 47. The arms associated with Beatrix Somerton in MS
Rye 38 are more difficult to attribute as many of them cannot easily be connected
with any Paston relatives, and the arms of those individuals with tenuous
links to the Pastons or the Somertons may reflect speculative rather than
Table One: Arms Associated With The Marriage of Clement Paston and Beatrix
Edmund Grey 54
Gilbert Peche = Joanne Grey
William Glanvile 34 Gilbert
Edmund Paston = ? Glanvile
Walter Paston 3 = Cecily de Peche
Clement Paston 43
John Swanton 48 = Elizabeth Paston Clement Paston 8 = Beatrix
Isabel de Bois 47 = John Lovell ? Walsham 52 = ?
William Paston 4 = Agnes Barry
? Lovell 58 = ? Walsham Robert Poinings 73 = Elizabeth Paston
William Paston 71
The marriage of Beatrix Somerton to Clement Paston accounts for five of the
painted arms in MS Rye 38, while a further five coats in the book of arms
may tenuously and hopefully be attributed to individuals who may or may not
have been Somerton relatives. These arms may reflect those individuals
who the Pastons either rightly or wrongly believed they were associated with
despite a lack of clear genealogical evidence. John Somerton, Beatrix’s
father, can safely be connected with coat no. 26. Blazoned as Paston
impaling Walcot, John Somerton’s paternal grandfather married the daughter
of Sir Walter Walcot (d. 1355) and Millicent Gunton, which links the
Paston family with the Walcots. The marriage of Walter and Millicent
is most certainly represented by coat no. 56 which is painted as Gunton
impaling Walcot. Similarly, in coat no. 38 blazoned Per pale Argent
six fleur-de-lys 3 2 1 Azure a chief indented Or (Paston) and Sable an escutcheon
within a border of martlets Or (Begvyle), the Begvyle sinister impalement
can be traced to John Somerton’s ancestors. Somerton’s grandfather
Geoffrey Gonvilde was himself the great-grandson of Sir Thomas Begvyle through
the marriage of the latter’s daughter Isabel to Geoffrey Barkinge.
Beatrix Somerton’s armorial heritage through her mother Sara Clere is also
apparently represented in the Paston Book of Arms. Coat no. 32 appears
to show this Clere relationship as Paston impaling Clere, although the fleur-de-lys
of the Paston coat of arms have for some reason been left unpainted.
Coat of arms no. 20 may be thought to stand for Sara’s father William Clere
as it is painted Clere impaling Gerbrigg, and this Clere connection may
also explain five more arms painted in MS Rye 38. The following arms
Table Two: Arms Associated With The Marriage of Clement Paston and Beatrix
Sir Thomas Begevile 38
Geoffrey Barkinge = Isabel Begevile
Sir Walter Walcot 56 = Millicent Gunton Thomas
Gonvilde = Isabel Barkinge
? Somerton = ? Walcot
? Somerton = ? Gonvilde
William Clere 20 (see table three)
John Somerton = Sara Clere
26 Clement Paston 8 = Beatrix Somerton
William Paston 4 = Agnes Barry
William Paston 71
individuals who cannot be connected with the Paston family by marriage or
descent. Robert Clere of Ormesby married Elizabeth (d. 1492) the daughter
of Thomas Uvedale and bore two daughters both named Margaret. Coat
no. 67 is given as Clere impaling Uvedale. The relationship between
Robert and William Clere, if any, is unclear, but even if the link is incidental
perhaps the painted arms represent William Paston’s imagined kinship.
The lack of evidence linking these individuals with the Pastons means that
these shields may represent others. The fact that many of these marriages
are between families whose arms are impaled together on the same shields
in MS Rye 38, however, would seem to support the attribution of these arms
to those named above. One of the two Margarets mentioned above married
William Appleyard and their daughter Elizabeth married Robert White of Shotlesham
(d. b. 1438). This explains the presence of the White coat of arms,
Gules a chevron between three boars’ heads couped Argent a border engrailed
Argent. Another suggestive link that might explain the Playse
and Burgillon arms in MS Rye 38 is the fact that the second Margaret
daughter of Robert Clere and Elizabeth Uvedale married Sir Ralph Shelton.
Sir Ralph’s paternal great-grandfather and namesake (d. 1375) was twice married,
to Joan Playse (d. 1407) and Ann Burgulion (d. 1406), while another Robert
Clere seems to have brought in coat no. 51, blazoned Gules a chief Ermine
for Narburgh. They may have something to do with one William de Narburgh,
husband of either Dionisia or Alice (d. 1461) who was herself the daughter
of Robert Clere of Stokesby (d. 1420). Similarly, John Clere of
Ormesby married an Elizabeth Braunch, and significantly the Braunch arms,
Argent a lion Gules a bendlet Sable, occur in the Paston Book of Arms no.
61 impaled on the sinister side of the shield as befitting an armigerous
wife with the arms of Clere. This example of the marriage arms of a
Clere husband and a Braunch wife strongly supports the attribution of these
arms to John Clere and Elizabeth Braunch, and suggests that these arms of
unconfirmed relatives, regardless of actual or perceived kinship, are intended
to stand for the individuals described above.
Table Three: Coats of Arms of those whose Relationship with the
Pastons Is Unclear
Joan Plaiz = Sir Ralph Shelton = Ann Burgillon
William Shelton Thomas Uvedale
John Shelton Elizabeth Uvedale 67 = Robert Clere of Ormesby / Robert
Clere of Stokesby / John Clere 61= Elizabeth Braunch
Sir Ralph Shelton = Margaret Clere Margaret Clere = William
Appleyard Dionisia or Alice Clere = William de Narburgh 51
Elizabeth Appleyard = Robert White of Shotlesham 41
In turning to the second main group of coats of arms associated with the
Barry family, eight shields can be linked to Agnes Barry with more certainty
than can the arms above can be connected with the Clere family. This
is because all of these eight arms can be traced without doubt directly to
Agnes Barry’s ancestors. Coat no. 31, for instance, blazoned Per pale
Argent a chevron between three bears’ heads couped Sable muzzled Or (Barry)
and Sable a fess between two chevrons Or (Gerbrigg) certainly refers
to the marriage of Agnes Barry’s parents Sir Edmund Barry (d. 1433) and Alice
Gerbrigg. The Barry arms also appear in coat no. 9 impaled on the
sinister side with the Wachesham arms, Argent a fess in chief two crescents
Gules, and correspond to the marriage of Sir Edmund’s father John Barry to
Elizabeth Wachesham. Likewise the marriage of Elizabeth’s parents
is commemorated in MS Rye 38 in the fifth painted coat of arms. Impaling
the arms of Wachesham and the golden lion rampant of the Hethersets the
shield reflects the union of Sir Robert Wachesham and Joan, daughter of Simon
Hetherset. John Barry’s father, Sir Osmond, or grandfather, Hugh,
might account for shield no. 22 which bears Barry impaled with Crane,
while his great-grandfather Henry is certainly portrayed in the preceding
shield of arms. Blazoned Barry impaling and Argent a chief indented
Gules for Hengrave, these arms clearly stand for Henry’s marriage to
Cecily, the daughter of Edmund Hengrave. The ancestors of Agnes’
mother Alice Gerbrigg also provide likely candidates for two more painted
coats of arms in the Paston manuscript. Alice’s paternal grandmother,
Margaret Pever, the daughter of Philip Pever, accounts for the presence of
the Pever arms which occur only two shields removed from those of Alice Gerbrigg
and her husband. The Pever arms are also painted as impaling the arms
of either the Belhus or Yelverton families, although how members of these
two families were related to the Pastons remains unclear. Alice Gerbrigg’s
paternal great-grandfather Thomas brought in another coat of arms found in
MS Rye 38. The sixth painted shield, however, could plausibly be attributed
to either Thomas Gerbrigg or to his bride, Bretta Banyard, in her own right.
The arms are presented impaled with those of the Crowne family, but the dexter
side of the shield is blazoned Sable a fess between two chevrons Or.
While these are the recognized arms of the Gerbrigg family, they are also
those of the Baynard family. Although Bretta was not a member of the
Baynard family, but was instead the daughter of Robert Banyard, perhaps the
similarity in name led to a misattribution if the painter of the Paston Book
of Arms did intended for these arms to represent Bretta. All of
these arms, however, seem to indicate individuals who are clear and demonstrable
ancestors of the Pastons via Barry.
Table Four: Coats of Arms Associated with the Barry Branch of the Paston
Henry Barry 21 = Cecily Hengrave
Hugh Barry Simon Hetherset Thomas Gerbrigg 6 = Bretta Banyard
Philip Pever 33
22 Sir Osmond Barry Joanne Hetherset = Sir Robert Wachesham 5 Edward
Gerbrigg = Margaret Pever
John Barry 9 = Elizabeth Wachesham
Sir Thomas Gerbrigg
Sir Edmund Barry 31 = Alice Gerbrigg
William Paston 4 = Agnes Barry
William Paston 71
The third cluster of painted arms in MS Rye 38 that is associated with the
Paston family consists of six arms that are unified by a clear line of descent.
The individuals involved, however, are not Paston relatives by blood, but
rather belong to the family of Robert Mautby, the grandfather of John Paston’s
wife Margaret. Coat
of arms no. 14 initiates this grouping of Mautby-related arms and records
the marriage of John Paston and Margaret Mautby by impaling the Paston coat
with the arms of Mautby, Azure a cross Or. The following entry
impales the Mautby cross with a fess between six golden martlets, the arms
of the Beauchamp family and according to the Mautby family history probably
belonged to Margaret’s grandparents Robert Mautby (d. 1403) and his wife
Margaret Beauchamp. Equally easy to identify are the arms recording
Robert’s parents John Mautby and Ellen Clifton found in coat no. 27 and
blazoned Per pale Azure a cross Or (Mautby) and chequy Or and Gules a bend
Ermine (Clifton). The seventh coat painted in the Paston Book of Arms
might be attributable to Ellen’s father Adam Clifton as it also impales the
Clifton arms along with the Mortimer arms, blazoned Or seme-de-lys Sable.
More certain is coat no. 18 in MS Rye 38 which impales the Clifton arms with
those of the Lovain family. John Mautby’s (d. 1433) father, Sir
Roger, married Eleanor the daughter of Thomas de Lovain and brought these
arms into Margaret Mautby’s heraldic heritage. The final shield
of arms which can reasonably be connected with Margaret Mautby’s grandfather
Robert is no. 30. The arms of the Marshall family, Gules six lozenges
conjoined in bend Or, may very well point to William Marshall, the father
of Ellen Marshall who married another Robert Mautby, the great-great-great-great
grandfather of Margaret Mautby. In fact the connection between
the Marshalls and the Mautbys suggests almost a dozen or so individuals who
can be tentatively identified by coats of arms painted in the manuscript.
Table Five: Coats of Arms Associated with the Family of Robert Mautby
William Marshall 30
Robert Mautby = Elen Marshall (see table six)
Sir John Mautby Thomas de Lovain
Sir Roger Mautby 18 = Alianora Lovain
Adam Clifton 7
John Mautby 27 = Elen Clifton
Robert Mautby 15 = Margaret Beauchamp
John Mautby 12 = Margaret Berney
Paston 71 John Paston 14 = Margaret Mautby
As with the arms vaguely associated with the Clere family, the entry for
William Marshall sets up a series of equally suggestive and vague familiar
association that sheds some light on the identities of many shields.
Despite the lack of any demonstrable connection by either blood or marriage
between these individuals, William Marshall and his descendant Margaret Mautby
it is still possible to attribute the arms in MS Rye 38 to the individuals
below. The use of genealogical evidence in the form of sixteenth century
heraldic visitations or other Paston family histories that may contain very
misleading or even false information is nevertheless useful here in suggesting
the Pastons’ imagined background and relatives. The Paston Book of
Arms is an indicator of the Pastons’ own beliefs about their history and
origins as much as it is a record of their actual family background.
Thus, Elizabeth Marshall, whose relation to William is unclear, was married
twice, to Oliver Ingham (d. 1344) and Sir Oliver Wythe. These marriages
look to be the key to understanding coats no. 59 and 69, as the former
is that of the Wythe family and the latter is of Ingham. The Felbrigg
and Bigot arms found in MS Rye 38 possibly have some association with
the Ingham connection through Elizabeth Marshall as Sir Miles Stapleton of
Ingham (d. 1466) married Elizabeth Felbrigg, the daughter of Sir Simon Felbrigg
(d. 1442). In addition, the Felbriggs could trace their descent from
the marriage of Sir Simon le Bigot to the heiress Maud de Felbrigg.
Elizabeth Marshall’s other husband Sir Oliver Wythe also provides a tenuous
link to several other shields as another member of the Wythe family, Sir
John, was married to Anne the widow of John Calthorp. Indeed coat
no. 36, blazoned Chequy Or and Azure a fess Argent, is that of the Calthorp
family, another member of which married a Bacon. Sir Oliver Calthorp
was the husband of Isabel Bacon whose family arms also appear in the
manuscript. Coat of arms no. 44 belongs to the Astley family
and may also have something to do with this possible Bacon connection as
Walter Rye mentions a fifteenth century marriage between the two families,
and notes also that Margaret Bacon married William de Kerdeston (d. 1361).
The proximity of these coats in the book of arms further strengthens the
identification of these arms with the marriage of Margaret Bacon and William
de Kerdeston. This Kerdeston connection, although weak, is certainly
suggestive when looking at three coats of arms near the end of the Book.
Sir Thomas Kerdeston (d. 1446) fathered an Elizabeth who married a member
of the Robsart family, and their daughter Lucy Robsart married Edward Walpole.
Two painted coats with the Kerdeston arms could possible represent Sir Thomas,
the former impaling the arms of de la Pole, although slightly altered,
with the latter impaling the arms of the Segrave family. The latter
coat also comes immediately before the Walpole arms in MS Rye 38 and
would seem to confirm the identification of these arms with this marriage
if not for the fact that the date of Lucy Robsart’s marriage to Edward Walpole
came years after the period of composition argued by Norman Davis.
While the marriage of Elizabeth Paston (d. 1488) and Robert Poynings (d.
1461) represented by shield no. 73 also postdates Davis’s identification
of MS Rye 38 with the 1450’s, it has also clearly been painted by a later
hand and although the Kerdeston and Walpole coats come late in the series
of arms they appear to have been painted in conjunction with the main body
of shields. That the Walpole arms are painted as impaled with the arms
of Hengrave, however, suggests that they might be associated with the heraldry
of Agnes Barry’s ancestors.
Table Six: Arms of the Marshall, Kerdeston and Bacon Families
Edward Bacon 24
Sir Simon Bigot 70 = Maud Felbrigg
Sir Oliver Calthorp 36 = Isabel Bacon 53 / Margaret Bacon = William Kerdeston
23 / ? Bacon = ? Astley 44/Sir Simon Felbrigg 39
John Calthorp=Anne=John Wythe/Oliver Wythe=Elizabeth Marshall=Oliver Ingham/Mile
Stapleton of Ingham=Elizabeth Felbrigg
The last group of coats that must be looked at comprises a further half dozen
or so arms found in the Paston manuscript which can be traced to the family
of Margaret Mautby, and which can for the most part be attributed to individuals
who can be shown specifically to be related to either Margaret’s mother Margaret
Berney or her paternal grandmother Margaret Beauchamp. The background
of Roger Beauchamp, the latter’s father, presumably accounted for the inclusion
of the arms of the Pateshull and Gransun families. These arms occur
in coat no. 17 in the Book and are blazoned Per pale Argent a fess Sable
between three crescents Gules (Pateshull) and paly of eight Azure and Argent
a bend Gules charged with three eagles displayed Or (Gransun).
Roger’s own mother Sibill was a Pateshull, while her father John had married
Mabell Gransun, and the fact that these arms occur in MS Rye 38 just
two shields after those of Margaret Mautby reinforces this attribution.
Another appropriately nearby shield is that of the Clopton family and is
painted Sable a bend Argent cotticed dancette Or. This certainly
refers to Margaret Beauchamp’s mother and Roger’s wife, Joan Clopton, who
was herself the daughter of Sir William Clopton (d. 1404). The
Clopton arms are repeated much later in the Paston manuscript and this
might point towards the second marriage of Joan Clopton to Sir Thomas Erpingham
(d. 1428). This other marriage of Joan’s produced a daughter named
either Joan or Juliana who later married Sir William Phillip of Dennington.
This Sir William was also the nephew of Lord Bardolph (d. 1441), and
although Margaret Beauchamp could not claim a right to any of these arms,
one finds a shield impaling the quartered arms of Phillip and Bardolph with
those of Erpingham included in the Book. The Berney arms are contained
in MS Rye 38 in memory of Margaret Mautby’s mother Margaret Berney and
although the relationship between her father John Berney and Sir Thomas Berney
is unclear, the latter’s armorial heritage is certainly preserved in the
two shields immediately preceding and following Margaret Berney’s arms.
Sir Thomas’s wife was Margaret de Reedham and she in turn was the daughter
of William de Reedham and Margaret Caston, and indeed the arms of both Reedham,
blazoned Gules an escutcheon within an orle or martlets Argent, and Reedham
impaling Caston are painted in the Paston manuscript. It is clear
that direct blood descent from an armiger was not the only criteria employed
by the compiler of the Book in choosing those arms to include.
Table Seven: Arms Connected with the Mautby and Beauchamp Families
John de Pateshull 17 = Mabell Gransun
Sir Robert Caston
Roger Beauchamp = Sibill
de Pateshull Sir William Clopton 16
William de Reedham 11 = Margaret Caston 13
Roger Beauchamp = Joan Clopton 49 = Sir Thomas Erpingham
Margaret de Reedham = Sir Thomas Berney
or Juliana Erpingham = 66 Sir William Philip of Dennington
Robert Mautby 15 = Margaret Beauchamp
John Mautby = Margaret Berney 12
John Paston 14 = Margaret Mautby
The armorial section of the Paston Book of Arms culminates in a grandly quartered
coat which incorporates thirteen of the preceding arms. Though the
presence of the arms of many other East Anglian individuals means that MS
Rye 38 is more than just an armorial pedigree, the Book is ultimately a summation
of the many alliances concluded by the Paston family. The quarterings
represented in coat no. 71 draw together many of the heraldic threads that
have been examined above. The first section impales the three arms
of Paston, Somerton and Walcot, and refers to Clement Paston and Beatrix
Somerton. The second section contains the arms of Barry, Gerbrigg and
Hengrave, and may with certainty be attributed to Sir Edmund Barry and Alice
Gerbrigg. The third quartering is related to the more distant armigerous
ancestors of Clement and Beatrix as it impales the four arms of Paston, Begvyle,
Clere and Glanvile. Finally the fourth quartering impales the arms
of Walpole, Kerdeston and de la Pole and although the genealogical information
is scant these impalements refer to either the Hengrave relations through
Sir Edmund Barry or to the Marshall link on Margaret Mautby’s side of the
family. The presence of these quarterings in the absence of any genealogical
link between the Pastons and some of these families probably reflect the
Paston’s own perceived descent rather than any actual or demonstrable kinship.
The appearance of many arms of significant Norfolk personalities with no
clear Paston link in the Book is what gives MS Rye 38 some of the qualities
of a regional roll of arms as well as an armorial pedigree. The very
first coat painted in the armorial section, for instance, is that of the
Bourchier family. Blazoned as Per pale Gules and Argent a cross engrailed
Gules between four water-bougets Sable, it perhaps represents Sir Humphrey
Bourchier, Lord Berners who was killed at the battle of Barnet in 1471.
The next painted shield impales the arms of Vere and Howard and is believed
to stand for John de Vere (d. 1461), earl of Oxford, who married Elizabeth
(d. 1475), daughter of Sir John Howard. These arms of eminent fifteenth
century individuals stand apart from the coats of arms of the less distinguished
kinsfolk of the Pastons, Barrys and Mautbys and accordingly are given precedent
in the arrangement of the painted arms, coming before all others. All
together there are seventeen shields of arms which do not seem to have any
direct connection with the above three families through either blood or marriage.
Unfortunately, while the families to which many of these coats belong are
known it is difficult to identify the specific individuals they are meant
to represent. Coat no. 40 is certainly that of Sir John Fastolf because
the shield is painted with the three crosslets Sir John began to use instead
of escallop shells to distinguish his arms from those of his namesake father.
The legal and financial nature of the relationship between Sir John Fastolf
and William Paston the elder is well documented and the inclusion of
his arms along with those of other Norfolk notables in addition to the arms
of the Pastons’ direct ancestors, distant relatives and those of their extended
family by marriage gives the heraldic section of MS Rye 38 more weight than
a simple armorial pedigree, and is instead a wider type of family history
told through coats of arms.
Table Eight: Blazons of Arms in MS Rye 38 Including Irregularities and
1. Per pale Gules and Argent a cross engrailed Gules between four water-bougets
2. Per pale quarterly Gules and Or in dexter chief a mullet pierced
Argent (de Vere) and Gules a bend between six crosslets fitchy Argent (Howard).
3. Argent six fleur-de-lys 3 2 1 Azure a chief indented Or (Paston).
4. Per pale Argent six fleur-de-lys 3 2 1 Azure a chief indented Or
(Paston) and Argent a chevron between three bears’ heads couped Sable muzzled
5. Per pale Argent a fess in chief two crescents Gules (Wachesham)
and Azure a lion rampant guardant Or (Hetherset).
6.Per pale Sable a fess between two chevrons Or (Baynard/Gerbrigg) and Argent
a fesse Gules charged with three coronets Or (Crowne).
7. Per pale chequy Or and Gules a bend Ermine (Clifton) and Or seme-de-lys
8. Per pale Argent six fleur-de-lys 3 2 1 Azure a chief indented Or
(Paston) and Or a chevron charged with three pellets between as many wolves’
heads erased Gules (Somerton).
9. Per pale Argent a chevron between three bears’ heads couped Sable
muzzled Or (Barry) and Argent a fess in chief two crescents Gules (Wachesham).
10. Chequy Argent and Gules (Mouncey).
11. Gules an escutcheon within an orle or martlets Argent (Reedham).
12. Per pale Azure and Gules overall a cross engrailed Ermine (Berney).
13. Per pale Azure three garbs Or (Reedham) and Gules a chevron between
three eagles displayed Argent (Caston).
14. Per pale Argent a chief indented Or (Paston) and Azure a cross
15. Per pale Azure a cross Or (Mautby) and Gules a fess between six
martlets Or (Beauchamp).
16. Sable a bend Argent cotticed dancette Or (Clopton).
17. Per pale Argent a fess Sable between three crescents Gules (Pateshull)
and paly of eight Azure and Argent a bend Gules charged with three eagles
displayed Or (Gransun).
18. Per pale Azure a cross Or (Mautby) and Gules billetty Or a fess
19. Per pale Or and Gules overall a lion passant Argent (Plaiz).
20. Per pale Argent a fess Azure (Clere) and Ermine on a chief Gules
four fusils in fess Argent each charged with a billet Azure (Gerbrigg).
21. Per pale Argent a chevron between three bears’ heads couped Sable
(Barry) and Argent a chief indented Gules (Hengrave).
22. Per pale Argent a chevron between three bears’ heads couped Sable
muzzled Or (Barry) and Argent a fess between six crosslets fitchy Gules (Crane).
23. Gules a saltire engrailed Argent (Kerdeston).
24. Per pale Gules three round buckles (erased) (Roscelin/Catisfield)
and Gules on a chief two pierced mullets (erased) (Bacon).
25. Per pale quarterly Or and Gules a border engrailed Sable charged
with escallops Argent (Henningham) and Argent a bend Azure (Gissing).
26. Per pale Argent six fleur-de-lys 3 2 1 Azure a chief indented Or
(Paston) and Azure an escutcheon within a border of martlets Or (Walcot).
27. Per pale Azure a cross Or (Mautby) and chequy Or and Gules a bend
28. Quarterly Or and Gules a bendlet Sable (Burgillon).
29. Gules three bars-gemels Or on a canton Argent five billets (Inglose/FitzOsborne).
30. Gules six lozenges conjoined in bend Or (Marshall).
31. Per pale Argent a chevron between three bears’ heads couped Sable
muzzled Or (Barry) and Sable a fess between two chevrons Or (Gerbrigg).
32. Per pale Argent a chief indented Or (Paston) and Argent a fess
33. Per pale Argent a chevron Gules charged with three fleur-de-lys
Or (Pever) and Argent three lions rampant Gules (Belhus/Yelverton).
34. Azure a chief indented Or (Glanville).
35. Gules a cross Argent charged with five mascles Sable.
36. Chequy Or and Azure a fess Argent (Calthorp).
37. Gules a bend chequy Or and Azure between six crosslets (erased)
38. Per pale Argent six fleur-de-lys 3 2 1 Azure a chief indented Or
(Paston) and Sable an escutcheon within a border of martlets Or (Begevile).
39. Or a lion salient (erased) (Felbrigg).
40. Quarterly Or and Azure a bend Gules charged with three crosslets
41. Gules a chevron between three boars’ heads couped Argent a border
engrailed Argent (White).
42. Per pale quarterly Sable and Argent a bend Gules charged with three
mullets Argent (Clippesby) and Argent three arming-buckles Gules (Jerningham).
43. Argent six fleur-de-lys 3 2 1 Azure a chief indented Or (Paston).
44. Azure a cinquefoil Ermine a border engrailed Or (Astley).
45. Gules six hands couped Argent (Wauncy/Talbot).
46. Argent six chess-rooks Sable 3 2 1 overall a mullet Sable (Rookwood).
47. Argent two bars a canton Gules overall a bendlet Sable (Bois).
48. Per pale Vert two chevrons Argent each charged with three cinquefoils
Gules (Swanton) and Argent six fleur-de-lys 3 2 1 Azure a chief indented
49. Sable a bend Ermine cotticed dancette Or (Clopton).
50. Sable three martlets Argent (Naunton).
51. Gules a chief Ermine (Watshull/Narburgh).
52. Per pale Gules a cross flory Argent (Walsham) and per fess Argent
six fleur-de-lys 3 2 1 Azure a chief indented Or (Paston) and Vert two chevrons
Argent each charged with three cinquefoils Gules (Swanton).
53. Azure three boars passant Or (Bacon).
54. Azure a fess between two chevrons Or (de Grey).
55. Quarterly Argent and Azure a bend Sable charged with three martlets
Or (Le Grose).
56. Per pale Argent three arming-buckles Or (Gunton) and Azure an escutcheon
within a border of martlets Argent (Walcot).
57. Gules a cross Argent a border engrailed Or (Carbonel).
58. Per pale Argent a chevron Azure charged with a plate between three
squirrels sejeant Gules (Lovell) and per fess Gules a cross flory Argent
(Walsham) and Argent six fleur-de-lys 3 2 1 Azure a chief indented Or (Paston).
59. Azure three griffons passant Or beaked and armed Gules (Wythe).
60. Per pale Gules a saltire engrailed Argent (Kerdeston) and Azure
a fess Or charged with a leopard’s face caboshed (erased) (Pole).
61. Per pale Argent a fess Azure charged with three eagles displayed
Or (Clere) and Argent a lion Gules a bendlet Sable (Braunch).
62. Or three pallets Gules a chief Ermine.
63. Per pale Gules a saltire engrailed Argent (Kerdeston) and Argent
a lion rampant Sable crowned Or (Segrave).
64. Per pale Or a fess between two chevrons Sable (Walpole) and Argent
a chief indented Gules (Hengrave).
65. Argent a chevron Azure between three escallops Sable (Littleton).
66. Per pale quarterly Gules and Argent in dexter chief an eagle displayed
Or (Phillip) and per fess Azure three cinquefoils Or (Bardolph) and Vert
an escutcheon within a border of martlets Argent (Erpingham).
67. Per pale Argent a fess Azure three eagles displayed Or (Clere)
and Argent a cross moline Gules (Uvedale).
68. Argent a bend between six crosslets fitchy Sable (Tye).
69. Per pale Or and Vert overall a cross moline Gules (Ingham).
70. Per pale Vert and Or overall a lion rampant Gules (Bigod).
71. Quarterly of twelve: i. Argent six fleur-de-lys 3 2 1 Azure a chief
indented Or (Paston), ii. Or a chevron charged with three pellets between
as many wolves’ heads erased Gules (Somerton), iii. Azure an escutcheon within
a border of martlets Argent (Walcot), iv. Argent a chevron between three
bears’ heads couped Sable muzzled Or (Barry), v. Sable a fess between two
chevrons Or (Gerbrigg), vi. Argent a chief indented Gules (Hengrave), vii.
per pale Argent six fleur-de-lys 3 2 1 Azure a chief indented Or (Paston)
and Sable an escutcheon within a border of martlets Or (Begevile), viii.
Argent a fess Azure three eagles displayed Or (Clere), ix. Azure a chief
indented Or (Glanville), x. Or a fess between two chevrons Sable (Walpole),
xi, Gules a saltire engrailed Argent (Kerdeston), xii. Azure a fess between
three leopards’ faces caboshed Or (Pole).
72. Gules a chevron Argent charged with three roses (two erased) (Knollys).
73. Per pale quarterly barry Or and Vert a bendlet Gules (Poinings)
and Gules three lions passant Argent (Gifford) and quarterly Argent six fleur-de-lys
3 2 1 Azure a chief indented Or (Paston) and Argent a chevron between three
bears’ heads couped Sable muzzled Or (Barry).
‘Paston Book of Arms’, Norfolk Records Office. MS Rye 38.
Barron, Oswald. ‘Friar Brackley’s Book of Arms.’ The Ancestor.
x (1904), 87-97.
Davies, Norman and G. S. Ivy. ‘MS. Walter Rye 38 and its French Grammar.’
Medium Ævum. xxxi (1962), 110-124.
Farrer, Edmund. ‘A Norfolk Armory of the Fifteenth Century.’
Antiquarian Miscellany. iii (1887), 424-438.
Gairdner, James, Ed. The Paston Letters. (Gloucester, 1986.)
Harvey, William. The Visitation of Norfolk in the year 1563. Taken
Harvey, Clarenceux King of Arms. From Harleian MSS in the British
Museum. Vol. 1. ed. Dashwood, G. H. (Norwich, 1878.)
---. Vol. 2. Ed. Brig. Gen. Bulwer. (Norwich, 1895.)
Richmond, Colin. The Paston Family in the Fifteenth Century: The First
Rye, Walter. Norfolk Families. Vols. 1-2. (Norwich, 1913.)
Stephen, Geo. A. Walter Rye: memoir, bibliography, and catalogue of
Manuscripts in the Norwich Public Libraries. (Norwich, 1929.)
Wagner, A. R. A Catalogue of English Medieval Rolls of Arms.
Worship, Francis. ‘Account of a MS Genealogy of the Paston Family in
possession of his Grace the Duke of Newcastle.’ Norfolk
Archaeology. iv. (1855), 1-55.
 Norman Davis and G. S. Ivy, ‘MS Walter Rye 38 and its French Grammar’,
Medium Ævum, 31 (1962), pp. 112-113.
 Edmund Farrer, ‘A Norfolk Armory of the Fifteenth Century’, Norfolk Antiquarian
Miscellany, 3 (1887), p. 424.
 Davis & Ivy, ‘MS Walter Rye 38’, p. 111.
 Ibid., p. 116.
 Ibid., p. 120.
 Colin Richmond, The Paston Family in the Fifteenth Century: The First
Phase (Cambridge, 1990), p. 18.
 The Paston Letters c 1422-1509, ed., J. Gairdner (1904), vi, p. 46.
 MS Rye 38, f. 3v.
 Ibid., f. 4v.
 Farrer, ‘ A Norfolk Armory’, p. 429.
MS Rye 38, coat no. 3, f. 2r.
 Ibid., f. 17v.
 Walter Rye, Norfolk Familes (2 vols. Norwich, 1913), ii, pp. 647-650.
MS Rye 38, coat no. 54, f. 27v.
 Ibid., f. 24v.
Ibid., coat no. 43, f. 22r.
 Ibid., f. 29v.
 Francis Worship, ‘Account of a MS Genealogy of the Paston Family in
the possession of his Grace the Duke of Newcastle’, Norfolk Archaeology,
4 (1855), pp. 11-13.
 MS Rye 38, f. 24r.
 Ibid., f. 13v.
 Rye, Norfolk Families, ii, p. 274.
 MS Rye 38, f. 28v.
 Ibid., f. 19v.
 The sinister side of a coat of arms is the left side as seen by one
standing behind the shield.
 Worship, ‘ Account of MS Genealogy’, p. 15.
 MS Rye 38, f. 17v.
 Ibid., f. 10v.
 William Harvey, The Visitation of Norfolk in the year 1563. Taken by
William Harvey, Clarenceux King of Arms. From Harleian MSS in the British
Museum (2 vols. Norwich, 1895), ii, p. 291.
 MS Rye 38, f. 34r.
 Harvey, Visitation of Norfolk, p. 266.
 MS Rye 38, f. 21r.
 Ibid., f. 10r.
 Ibid., f. 14v.
 Rye, Norfolk Families, ii, pp. 792-793.
 MS Rye 38, f. 26r.
 Rye, Norfolk Families, ii, p. 583.
 Farrer, ‘Account of a MS Genealogy’, pp. 436-437.
 MS Rye 38, f. 31r.
 Ibid., f. 16r.
 Ibid., f. 5r.
 Worship, ‘Account of a MS Genealogy’, p. 16.
 MS Rye 38, f. 3r.
 Worship, ‘Account of a MS Genealogy’, p. 16.
 MS Rye, f. 11v.
 Ibid., f. 11r.
 Worship, ‘Account of a MS Genealogy’, p. 16.
 MS Rye 38, f. 17r.
 The dexter side of a coat of arms is the right side as seen by one standing
behind the shield.
 MS Rye 38, f. 3v.
 Worship, ‘Account of a MS Genealogy’, p. 16.
 MS Rye 38, f. 7v.
 Although the Paston arms again lack the familiar fleur-de-lys.
 MS Rye 38, f. 8r.
 Worship, ‘Account of a MS Genealogy’, p. 23.
 MS Rye, f. 14r.
 Ibid., f. 4r.
 Ibid., f. 9v.
 Farrer, ‘A Norfolk Armory’, p. 431.
 MS Rye 38, f. 15v.
 Worship, ‘Account of a MS Genealogy’, p. 23.
 Rye, Norfolk Families, i, p. 390.
 MS Rye, f. 30r
 Ibid., f. 35r.
 Ibid., f. 20r.
 Ibid., f. 35v.
 Rye, Norfolk Families, i, pp. 191-192.
 Ibid., p. 392.
 MS Rye 38, f. 18v.
 Rye, Norfolk Families, i, p. 91.
 MS Rye 38, f. 27r.
 Ibid., f. 22v.
 Rye, Norfolk Families, i, p. 8.
 Ibid., p. 433.
 MS Rye 38, f. 30v.
 Ibid., f. 32r.
 Ibid., f. 32v.
 Rye, Norfolk Families, i, p. 433.
 MS Rye 38, 38r.
 Ibid., f. 9r.
 Worship, ‘Account of a MS Genealogy’, p. 23.
 MS Rye 38, f. 8v.
 Worship, ‘Account of a MS Genealogy’, p. 23.
 MS Rye 38, f. 25r.
 Rye, Norfolk Families, ii, p. 670.
 MS Rye 38, f. 33v.
 Ibid., f. 6v.
 Ibid., f. 6r.
 Ibid., f. 7r.
 Ibid., f. 1r.
 Farrer, ‘ A Norfolk Armory’, p. 428.
 See for example Colin Richmond, The Paston family in the fifteenth century
: Fastolf's will (Cambridge, 1996).