RICHARD CALLE: BAILIFF TO THE PASTONS

Calle copy

 

Richard Calle came from near Framlingham in Suffolk and served the Pastons as a very able and loyal bailiff, being present at many of the critical moments. When the family inherited the vast Fastolf estates in 1459, Calle’s value to the family grew and there are many references in the letters to show his key role. Alas, all was to change when Richard and Margery Paston (the daughter of John Paston) fell in love and spoke the sacred words of betrothal. Despite Calle’s abilities and education (he regularly scribed letters for the family) the Pastons were not having an employee marrying into the family. There followed an enormous row, with the lovers being hauled in front of the Bishop of Norwich. However, the vow could not be undone and following a brief period of exile in West Norfolk the couple were married. Calle returned to work for the Pastons eventually but things were never the same. Calle’s story provides insight into the life and activity of the medieval household.