The Basset name was recorded among the Norman soldiers at the Battle of Hastings and the Bassett surname is thought to have come from a place-name in Normandy called Basset. It has also been suggested that the French basset. a diminutive of basse meaning “short” or “low,” was a nickname for someone short.
Basset was the early spelling, but later became Bassett.
Select Bassett Resources on The Internet
- Bassett Family Association
- Bassetts of Glamorgan
Bassett Welsh data base.
- Our Line of William Bassetts
Bassetts in Massachusetts.
Select Bassett Ancestry
England. There were two early-established Bassett families in England:
Staffordshire The first, based in Staffordshire, was initially the more prominent. They held the title of Justiciar of England during the 12th century (as recounted in the Basset Charters).
These Bassets lived first at Sapcote manor and castle and then, in the early 14th century, at Blore Hall.
William Bassett, the last of the male line, died there in 1601. His magnificent alabaster tomb, erected by his widow, can still be seen in Blore church. David and Martine Swincoe’s 1998 book Swincoe, Blore, and the Bassetts covers these times.
Cornwall William Basset obtained Tehidy Manor in Cornwall near Redruth around 1150 by marrying into the de Dunstanville family. The family was prominent at court in Tudor times (Anne Bassett being rumored to be a mistress of Henry VIII), became one of the largest landowners in Cornwall, and profited hugely from the tin mining on their lands in the early 19th century. Today there is a Bassett’s Cove near Redruth and the Bassett name is still to be found in the area.
Bassetts Elsewhere The 19th century surname distribution showed that Cornwall and Staffordshire were still important Bassett areas, plus London and the southeast. One family history traces Bassetts in the Kent village of Speldhurst from the 1750’s. Another Kent family came from Edenbridge at about the same time. A local Bassett family of Quakers helped start a bank in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire in the 19th century and brought much prosperity to the town.
Wales. The Bassets were in Glamorgan from the 13th century and possibly earlier. Their home at Old Beaupre near Cowbridge
probably dates from the 1300’s.
The family was rich and powerful in Tudor times. But their fortunes declined after the Civil War. Another line of these Bassetts held Miskin manor. They like the Bassetts of Beaupre before them were sheriffs of Glamorgan. And the Bassett name had by this time extended west into Llanelli and Carmarthenshire.
America. William Bassett arrived at the Plymouth colony on the Fortune from Kent in 1621.
Another William, this time from Dorking in Surrey, arrived on the Abigail in 1635 as a young boy and settled in Lynn, Massachusetts. His family later moved onto Salem.
Bassetts in the South Another William Bassett left London on the Truelove in 1635 and came to York county, Virginia. A line of these Bassetts moved south to Georgia around 1750. Thomas Bassett later fled the American patriots there by moving to the Tombigbee settlements in present-day Alabama. However, in 1781 Thomas was murdered on Bassett’s Creek, just across the Tombigbee river from his plantation. Bassett descendants still live in this area.
A Bassett family came to Georgia from North Carolina in the early 1800’s. Sue Bassett Folawn’s 2001 book Homeplace: The Bassetts of Fort Valley, Georgia traced this line.
Australia. The tin mining slump in Cornwall in the mid 19th century prompted Cornish emigration. John Bassett and his family left their home in Madron in the 1850’s for Victoria.
Samuel Bassett departed for Queensland in 1858. There at the
small town of Roma he learnt the business of wine-growing and his sons continued the family enterprise.
Select Bassett Miscellany
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
Select Bassett Names
Sir Richard Basset of Sapcote in Staffordshire and William Basset of Tehidy manor in forebears of two long-standing Bassett families.
Sir Francis Bassett was a leading Cornish mine owner of the late 18th century.
Ebenezer Bassett, born to free blacks, was the first US African American diplomat, having been appointed US ambassador to Haiti in 1869.
John Bassett was a Canadian publisher and media baron. He was inducted into the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame in 2000.
Angela Bassett is an American actress who has become well-known for her biographical film roles of African Americans such as Tina Turner.
Select Bassetts Today
- 14,000 in the UK (most numerous in Hampshire)
- 7,000 in America (most numerous in California)
- 5,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)
Leave a Reply