(2) Bassett Photo Album from Leicester (1870's)
(3) Most Wanted Bassetts
(4) Update on the Bassetts of Chiddingtonstone, Kent, England
(5) William T. Reedy and the Bassett Charters
(6) Sutton Bassett in England
(6) Death of Henry Bassett of Ware, Massachusetts
(7) New family lines combined or added since the last newsletter
(8) DNA project update reminder - click to enlarge most photos
Next month: Update on the Bassetts of Blore, the obituary of Stephen Elisha Bassett and several other stories.
Section 1 - Welcome
Many of the DNA results from the dozen or so tests taken this fall are now coming in. It is always interesting to me to see how helpful these DNA results are in placing Bassetts into the correct families. We will see articles about these results in the next several newsletters.
Family Tree DNA has once again extended special holiday pricing of $119 for the 37 marker test good through the end of the year. If you are interested in joining the project, just send me an e-mail and I will explain the process.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my Bassett friends worldwide!
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Section 2 - Featured Bassett: Bassett Photo Album of Leicester, England (1870's)
A photo album of Bassetts has been purchased in England by a couple and they are looking to return this album to members of the correct Bassett family. Any help in identifying these Bassetts would be appreciated.
The album contains 42 photos. Many are taken in and around Leciester, England.
On the Back of this photo:
Christopher Charles Bassett, born 17 Dec 1865
Mary Alice Bassett, born 16 Jun 1867
Note this picture was taken in Onehunga, New Zealand. I could not find the birth of either of these two children in England, so they may have been born in New Zealand.
Here are more pictures to give you an idea of what the album looks like.
The picture on the right is of "Uncle Joseph Henry Bassett".
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Section 3 - Featured Bassett: Most Wanted Bassetts
We are looking to place the following Bassetts into the correct family. Let me know if you have any information on which line these families belong to.
(1) Author Ronald Leslie Bassett, born 10 Apr 1924, died Mar 1996 in Surrey, England. He is the son of George William Bassett (a bank clerk) and Louisa Vine. He married (1) Ivy Owens (2) Sylvia Cruttwell and had several children. He wrote several books under the name William Clive. One of his works is "The Tinfish Run".
(2) Looking for parents of Richard Bassett who married Olive Holliday in Jun Qtr 1921 in Chorlton, Lancashire, England.
(3) Looking for family of Nigel Fox Bassett, senior partner at Clifford Chance, London based law firm. He was born Dec Qtr 1929 in Barnet District. His mother's maiden name was Wiffen.
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Section 4 - Featured Bassett: Bassetts of Chiddingstone, Kent, England
The #144B Bassetts of Speldhurst family has now been combined into the #184B Bassetts of Chiddingstone family line through Walter Bassett, brother to Henry Bassett whose will is shown below.
There is also evidence that descendants of the Bassetts of Chiddingstone also branched out and settled in Rotherfield and Mayfield in Sussex as early as 1600. I am still looking for a volunteer from one of the many Rotherfield Bassett lines as well as the #144 Speldhurst line to take part in DNA testing to verify this information.
A picture of Bassetts, Chiddingstone, Kent, England courtesy of John Donald. This farm dates from the 1500's.
184B. The family of John Bassett, son of William Bassett
John Bassett, son of William Bassett, was born about 1509 in Chiddingstone, Kent, England. He died 22 Jul 1572 in Chiddingstone, Kent, England. He married Joanne about 1533 in Chiddingstone, Kent, England.
184B1. John Bassett – born about 1534 in Chiddingstone, Kent, England.
184B2. Elizabeth Bassett – born about 1536 in Chiddingstone, Kent, England, married John Lambarde.
184B3. Thomas Bassett – born about 1553 in Chiddingstone, Kent, England, married (1) Elizabeth (2) Johanne (3) Alice.
+ 184B4. Joanne Bassett – born about 1540 in Chiddingstone, Kent, England, married Peter Woodgate.
+ 184B5. Henry Bassett – of Edenbridge, born about 1542 in Chiddingstone, Kent, England, died 1585, married Jone Vane.
+ 184B6. Walter Bassett – born about 1545 in Chiddingstone, Kent, England, died about 1589, married Elizabeth Woodgate 7 May 1571 in Chiddingstone, Kent, England.
184B7. Sarah Bassett – born about 1548 in Chiddingstone, Kent, England.
184B8. Ann Bassett – born about 1550 in Chiddingstone, Kent, England, married Robert Vane.
Will of Henry Bassett of Chiddingstone, Kent (1585)
Transcribed by Alwynne Mackie
In the Name of God Amen. The three and twentieth day of March one thousand five hundred and eighty five and in the seven and twentieth year of the reign of our sovereign Lady Elizabeth by the grace of God Queen of England France and Scotland Defender of the Faith etc. I Henry Bassett of the parish of Chiddingstone in the county of Kent yeoman and in the Diocese of Canterbury being sick in body but of good and perfect remembrance (thanks and laude be unto Almighty God) I do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following (that is to say) first and before all things I bequeath my soul to Almighty God my maker and redeemer and my body to be buried in the parish church yard of Chiddingstone aforesaid.
Item. I bequeath to the poorest people of the said parish of Chiddingstone to be bestowed in the day of my burial in meat drink and money at the discretion of my executors and overseers.
Item. I bequeath to every of my godchildren that do demand it three pence.
Item. I bequeath to Joan my eldest daughter twenty pounds of lawful money of England to be paid unto her within one year after my decease.
Item. I bequeath unto Katherine my second daughter twenty pounds of like lawful money to be paid unto her likewise within one year after my decease.
Item. I bequeath to Suzan my daughter twenty pounds of the like lawful money to be paid unto her in like sort
and my very will and mind is that my executors and overseers or two of them so that one of them be one of my overseers do receive and take the said money so above given to my two youngest daughters and to put forth their said stocks of money to some one many or more of trust for the best and most advantage and profit thereof until they shall accomplish their several ages of one and twenty years or happen to be married: and then my will and mind is that my executors and overseers do see my said two daughters paid their several stocks with interest thereof as they shall severally accomplish their said ages or happen to be married which shall happen first.
And if it happen that any of my said three daughters die before they shall be able to receive their said stock according to this my last Will that then my last will is that her or their share so dying shall remain equally to the rest of my said daughters then living.
Also I bequeath to every of my said daughters two pairs of sheets and one cover to be likewise delivered unto them within one month next after my decease.
Item. I bequeath unto Pentecost Bassett my son thirty pounds of lawful money of England to be paid unto him within one year next after my decease.
Item. I bequeath unto John my son three score pounds of like lawful money to be paid unto him in like sort.
And my will also is that my overseers or one of them do take and receive the said several sums of money so above given to my said sons and do put it forth for the best and most advantage thereof until they do accomplish their several ages of one and twenty years and then my will and mind is that my said overseers do see my said two sons paid their said several stocks with the profit thereof as they shall severally accomplish their said ages.
And if any or both my said sons Pentecost or John happen to die before they shall receive their portions as aforesaid that then I will that his or their portions so dying shall equally be divided among my sons and daughters then living.
Item. I bequeath to either of my said two sons Pentecost and John two pairs of sheets and one chest of the worse sort of chests in my house.
Item. I bequeath unto Henry Bassett my son two pairs of sheets and one chest of the like sort.
All the residue of my goods chattels and debts (my debts paid my funeral expenses and my legacies in this my last Will performed) I give and bequeath wholly to Thomas Bassett and William Bassett my sons whom I ordain and make my joint executors of this my last Will and Testament.
And I ordain and appoint Henry Ashdown Junior of the Hothe and my brother-in-law Robert Vane of Sevenoak to be overseers of this my said Will. And I give to either of them for their pains herein to be taken over and above their expenses thirteen shillings four pence apiece.
This is the last Will and Testament of me the said Henry Bassett the elder made the day and year above said concerning the disposition of my lands tenements and hereditaments lying and being in the said county as followeth.
First I give and bequeath unto Thomas Bassett my son and to his heirs all that my dwelling house and all barns stables mills lands tenements and hereditaments whatsoever to the same belonging which did descend and come unto me by way of inheritance from John Bassett my father which said lands tenements and other the premises lying and being in the said parish of Chiddingstone.
Item. I bequeath unto William Bassett my son and to his heirs all that my tenement and lands and other hereditaments lying and being in the parish of Penshurst called Walter Hill Land which I lately purchased of Thomas Jervis and Jane his wife.
Item. I give and bequeath to Henry Bassett my son all that my tenement and lands and other the premises thereunto belonging lying in the parish of Little Peckham and also all those lands tenements and hereditaments to the said tenement now belonging and lying in the parish of Peckham and which I lately purchased of John Maister Thomas Master and Thomas Baten.
Item. I bequeath to Pentecost Bassett my son and to his heirs those three parcels of land lying in Chiddingstone called Gowche Lands and Maules which I lately purchased of Mr Willoughby of Bore Place and John Carrell
and also it is my will and mind that my overseers shall have full power and authority for the good manners ruling and bringing up of all my said children which be now under the age of one and twenty years until they shall severally accomplish the said age of one and twenty years or other time herein limited when they shall receive their portions as also the rule and government of all their several stocks lands and tenements as well for the letting and demising of their said lands and also for the receiving taking paying and performing all and every the thing and things in and about the same until such time as such one of my said sons whose land they do so let and demise shall accomplish his full age of one and twenty years.
And my will and mind is as well my said sons and my said daughters shall have receive and enjoy to themselves their several stocks and lands so to them herein given as they do severally accomplish their several ages or other time herein limited when they should receive their portions as is aforesaid so as my said overseers do become bounden to my said executors within one month next after my decease to make a true and just account to each of my children within one quarter of a year after the accomplishment of their several ages or other time herein limited when they should enjoy their said stocks and lands as well for the charges they be at for the bringing up of him her or them to whom they shall so give account as also of all receipts payments profits and commodities for or concerning as with their stocks and portions of money and also his lands and tenements to whom such account is made: and also it is my will and mind that if any of my said sons or daughters die before their full ages of one and twenty years or other time as is aforesaid so that there can be no account made to him her or them in such case aforesaid then I will that the same account shall be made to the husband with child or children of the same so dying (if he or she or they have any at the time of his or their decease) or for such default then to all the residue of my said sons and daughters which shall then be living.
Provided and also it is my will that William my son have no interest by this my Will of in and to one lease which I have of the demise of John Combridge of one pond of water being in Browmy Lane and if his executors or assignees refuse to suffer Thomas my son and his heirs to enjoy the same lease wholly to his use then my will is that he lose the benefit in being joint executor of this my Will and then I will his part of my said executor to Thomas my son: and also it is my will that it shall be lawful for my overseers to lease or put out and to seizure one parcel of land above given to my son Thomas containing seven acres called Orchgyland in Chiddingstone above given to my son Henry containing seven acres and one parcel of land called Lynches in Peckham to such person as they shall think good to be put out for the best profit and the money or best profit thereof coming to be employed towards the bringing up of my two youngest daughters yearly as it is received.
And I will that they shall have full authority to enter into the said parcels of land immediately after my decease and the same to let and devise at their pleasure during and until both my youngest daughters accomplish the full ages of fourteen years so that the whole and best profit thereof be yearly employed towards the bringing up of my said two daughters.
And if any of my said sons or their heirs refuse to execute this my Will herein then I will that he or they so refusing shall have no benefit by this my Will but his or their portions as well of money as of lands hereby to him or them given shall remain to the residue of my sons then living.
Sealed read delivered and published in the presence of Daniel Woodgate Tristram Goward and Edward Baldwyn. [In Latin]
This Will was proved on the twentieth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand five hundred and eighty five by the oath of Henry Ashdown and Robert Vane overseers named in the Will and Testament of the deceased having been first sworn duly with Thomas Bassett and William Bassett the executors named in the Will to administer thereof.
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Section 5 - Featured Bassett: William T. Reedy and the Bassett Charters
William T. Reedy, author of the Bassett charters died earlier this year.
Published in the Albany Times Union 29 Oct 2008
Excerpt of his Obituary
Dr. William T. (Bill) Reedy Jr., 76, SUNY Albany Professor Emeritus of English history, passed away peacefully on October 24, 2008 in Norwalk, surrounded by the love of his family.
Dr. Reedy, a graduate of Reading, Pa. High School, was a magna cum laude graduate of Yale University class of 1954 and Phi Beta Kappa academic fraternity member. Bill served in the U.S. Army from 1954-1958, graduating from Army Language School. Dr. Reedy received his doctorate in English Medieval History from Johns Hopkins University in 1963. An internationally acclaimed researcher and linguist fluent in many languages, Dr. Reedy taught English history at SUNY Albany for over 30 years. Bill was a member of the Pipe Roll Society, a British organization dedicated to the advancement of the understanding of English Medieval History, the subject of his life's work expressed in his book "Bassett Charters."
The following was written by Lewis Bassett of England for this newsletter.
I immediately became interested in the Basset's of the middle ages
after reading an article entitled "The Bassets of Britain:
Asystematic Cadency in 12th – 17th Century Heraldry as a Model for
Modern Use" by James Richard Terzian, in which the author uses the
extended Basset family as an example to demonstrate cadency and
variation over time of a "coat of arms" used by individuals and the
heirs. Contrary to popular belief, families do not have a "coat of
arms", as the right to bear arms was granted to individuals, whose
heirs could then inherit them. Whilst the senior member of the family
is still allive, only he (or she) will use the arms as they were
originally granted, with heirs (cadets) using the original arms with
some small variation (i.e., an animal) on the arms, used to establish
seniority. More information regarding this can be found within the
article quoted above. Of important significance within the article is
the marriage of Sir Richard Basset and Maud Ridel. Many charters
relating to this marriage are contained within "Basset Charters", by
I have managed to borrow a copy of the book from the British Library,
facilitated by my local library. From a first glance, the book
contains: an introduction to the Basset family, their origins, how they
came to live in England (and later throughout Britain);
descriptions of the physical condition of the original charters and
where they were taken from; brief biographies of the main individuals
concerned within the documents; and most importantly, transcripts of
the charters in their original latin format, accompanied with English
summaries. Some photographs of the charters are also included with the
The charters contained within the book provided a rare glimpse of the
society of England during the middle-ages. Of particular interest in
the charter for the marriage of Sir Richard Basset and Matilda Ridel.
"Notification by Henry I that he has given to Richard Basset (I) of
Weldon as his wife Matilda Ridel, daughter of Geoffrey Ridel (I) and
wardship of Geoffry's lands until Matilda's brother shall have been
knighted and married to a granddaughter if Ralph Basset, Richard's
father. Upon that marriage Richard is to have 20 librates from the
royal demesne, with 4 knights enfeoffed. If Robert Ridel shall die
without an heir by this marriage, Richard is to get all of Geoffrey's
Throughout the book, various references to books that may be of
interest to us are provided. I think the following may be of
"Ralph Basset", J.H. Round.
It would seem that it was common for the King's servants to pay the
King for the arrangement of good marriages, regardless of whether or
It is noted several times throughout the book that also the Basset's
never really owned enough land to be considered barons, they were
often referred to by the King himself as barons, and even served as
witnesses to some very important charters, including when the King of
Scotland paid homage to the King of England. However, there are
several charters that relate to disputes between some Bassets and the
King, although most were later resolved, with the Bassets making it
My impression however of "Basset charters" is that it is mainly a
reference book, for people looking for charters relating to a
particular Basset, although the book is of obvious interest to any
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Section 6 - Featured Bassett: Sutton Bassett
The pretty village of Sutton Bassett lies on a plateau looking over the Welland valley towards Great Bowden and is approximately three miles North East of Market Harborough on the B664. Although it is situated in Northamptonshire it is only separated from Leicestershire by the River Welland which marks the Leics/Northants border.
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Section 7 - Featured Bassett: Henry Bassett of Ware, Massachusetts
Henry Bassett descends from William Bassett of Plymouth, Massachusetts as follows:
William Bassett and wife Elizabeth
Joseph Bassett (b. 1635) and wife Mary Lapham
William Bassett (b. 1667) and wife Sarah Sweetland
William Bassett (b.1694) and wife Mary Crossman
William Bassett (b. 1726) and wife Lydia Fisher
William Bassett (b. 1749) and wife Anne Lane
William Bassett (b. 1772) and wife Lavina Wicker
Henry Bassett (b. 1820)
The sudden death of Henry Bassett at his home at Ware Wednesday night was a surprise to most people in the town. Two weeks before his death he was on the street as was his usual custom to go after his mail and attend to other necessary business and greeted his many friends. Mr. Bassett had a good presence and was highly respected in the town. He had filled nearly all the town offices and made a creditable record in each of them. His great record in town affairs was when chairman of the board of assessors. Mr. Bassett was elected to that position year after year for several years by the citizens, because he was a steadfast, conservative man, whom the common people trusted; because he was not afraid to investigate and hunt up the so-called “rich bugs,” people who were under-taxed and had fortunes stowed away in out-of-town banks to avoid taxation. Mr. Bassett never made a move till he was sure of his position. In 1890 he started a hot contest against the Otis company, which lasted three years. Mr. Bassett felt sure that the Otis company’s estate was not sufficiently taxed by former assessors, and put on an additional $4000 a year on the company’s tax bill. This the Otis company objected to, and the case was bitterly fought in tow-meetings, and the citizens crowded to hear the debates. Edwin H. Baker, then the resident agent of the Otis company, made a reputation by his able defense of the Otis company. The contest continued for three years and the town took action in the matter and had the late Judge Bond decide it. Judge Bond divided the $4000 claimed by tow and all the parties were satisfied. The Otis company now pays about $12,000 a year taxation. Mr. Bassett was born in Hardwick, August 20, 1820. He settled in Ware in 1843 and was a builder and carpenter by trade. He married Miss Mary Cutler Paige, daughter of the late Capt. Benjamin Paige, of Hardwick, April 9, 1945. A widow, two daughters and a son survive him. The funeral will be held today at 2 p.m. at the Unitarian church, and the burial will be at Aspen Grove cemetery. Rev. A.C. White of the Unitarian church will officiate. The bearers will be C.C. Hitchcock, John Osgood, Silas E. Spooner, Frank P. Clark, Almer F. Richardson, H.M. Coney.
Section 8 - New family lines combined or added since the last newsletter
The following family lines have been combined/eliminated since the last newsletter.
119B. Charles F. Bassett of Michigan combined into the #83B Lorenzo Bassett of New York
144B. Thomas Bassett of Speldhurst combined into the #184 Bassetts of Chiddingstone
263B. John Bassett of Tasmania combined into the #33B Bassetts of Blore & Hints
367B. John Baskett of Quinton combined into the #357B Thomas Bassett of Littleton
The following family lines have been added since the last newsletter.
263B. George Bassett of Henry County, Virginia
336B. Thomas John Bassett of Euphrasia, Grey County, Ontario, Canada
425B. George Bassett of West Peckham, Kent, England
426B. Bassetts of Burlington County, New Jersey
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Section 9 - DNA project update.
New test results are back for the #339B Edward Bassett of Surrey family. DNA clearly show this family also shares a common ancestor with the #184B Bassetts of Chiddingstone, Kent. This #184B line is the family featured above.
339B. Edward Bassett of Surrey
Edward Bassett married Ann.
339B1. Ann Bassett - christened 24 Mar 1753 in Woodmansterne, Surrey, England.
339B2. John Bassett - christened 21 Jul 1754 in Woodmansterne, Surrey, England.
339B4. Abraham Bassett - christened 6 Apr 1760 in Woodmansterne, Surrey, England.
+ 339B5. William Bassett - christened 5 Jan 1763 in Woodmansterne, Surrey, England, most likely the William that married Susannah Quittenton on 21 Feb 1789 in Titsey, Surrey, England.
339B6. Edward Bassett - christened 12 May 1765 in Woodmansterne, Surrey, England.
Donations of any amount can be made to the Bassett DNA project by clicking
on the link below. Any funds donated will be used to fund select Bassett DNA
tests that will further our project as a whole and benefit all Bassetts worldwide.