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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Bassett family come from? What is the English Bassett family crest and coat of arms? When did the Bassett family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Bassett family history?

The name Bassett is part of the ancient legacy of the early Norman inhabitants that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Bassett was a Norman name used for a person of small stature having derived from the Old English word bas, meaning short.


Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Bassett, Basset, Bassit, Basett and others.

First found in the county of Glamorgan, Wales, where they had been granted lands by King William after the Norman Conquest in 1066.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bassett research. Another 157 words(11 lines of text) covering the years 1093, 1198, 1597, 1673, 1625, 1626, 1602, 1656, 1640, 1644, 1644, 1695, 1628, 1693, 1669, 1679, 1681, 1693, 1641, 1720, 1687, 1688, 1674, 1721 and are included under the topic Early Bassett History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 211 words(15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bassett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Bassett family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 87 words(6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Bassett name or one of its variants:

Bassett Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • William Bassett, who arrived in America in 1620
  • William Bassett, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1621
  • Williamn Bassett (c. 1600d. 1667), English master mason from Sandwich, Kent who arrived in Plymouth in November 1621 aboard the ship Fortune
  • Oliver Bassett, aged 14, arrived in America in 1635
  • Oliver Bassett who settled in Barbados in 1635

Bassett Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Thomas Bassett, who landed in New England in 1715
  • Cornelius Bassett, who landed in Newport, Rhode Island in 1780

Bassett Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Frederick Bassett, who landed in New York in 1826
  • Alexander Bassett, who arrived in New York, NY in 1834
  • George Bassett, who landed in New York in 1844
  • R G Bassett, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Mr. Bassett, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851


  • Leslie Bassett (b. 1923), American composer
  • Captain Charles Arthur "Art" Bassett II (1931-1966), former NASA Astronaut
  • Angela Bassett (b. 1958), award-winning American actor
  • Richard Bassett (1745-1815), American lawyer and politician, delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787
  • William Isiah Bassett (1869-1937), English footballer
  • Sir Walter Bassett (1892-1978), Australian engineer
  • John White Hughes Bassett PC, OC, O.Ont (1915-1998), Canadian publisher and media baron
  • Corporal Cyril Royston Guyton Bassett VC (1892-1983), the first New Zealander to be awarded the Victoria Cross in World War I


  • Joseph Bassett, Englishman and American by Barbara M. Anderson.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Pro rege et populo
Motto Translation: For King and people.


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  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  2. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  3. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  4. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  7. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  8. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  9. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  10. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  11. ...

The Bassett Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bassett Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 27 December 2013 at 13:18.

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