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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, French

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

Following the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, the name Basset was first found in Britina. It was a name for a person of small stature having derived from the Old English word bas, meaning of low stature. [1]


It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Basset are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Basset include Bassett, Basset, Bassit, Basett and others.

First found in Staffordshire where the family traces back to Thurston, a Norman who held six hides of land in Drayton (known today as Dayton Bassett.) Thurston was the "paternal ancestor of several families of Basset, which rose to power and distinction very shortly after the Conquest. Ralph Basset, the illustrious founder of their greatness, is said to have been raised by Henry I, from a lowly condition, and to have been 'exalted above earls and other eminent men.' True it is he was constituted Justice of England, and invested with the power of sitting in whatever court he pleased." [2]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Basset 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 Basset History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Basset 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.


Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Basset, or a variant listed above:

Basset Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • William Basset, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621
  • William Basset in Virginia in 1622
  • George Basset in Virginia 1637
  • Henry Basset, who landed in Barbados in 1663
  • Francis Basset, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1682

Basset Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Thomas Basset, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1700
  • John Basset, who arrived in Virginia in 1754
  • Claude Basset settled in Louisiana in 1756

Basset Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • James Basset, aged 25, arrived in New York in 1849

Basset Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century

  • Benigne Basset, who landed in Montreal in 1657
  • Jean Basset, aged 17, landed in Canada in 1657

Basset Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Isaac Basset, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749

Basset Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Basset, aged 23, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "William Money"


  • Francis Basset FRS (1757-1835), 1st Baron de Dunstanville and Basset, an English nobleman and politician
  • John Basset (1791-1843), English writer on Cornish mining
  • Anne Charles Basset de Montaigu, French Divisional General during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars from 1789 to 1815
  • Francis Basset (1715-1769), Cornish landowner and politician
  • Sarah Basset (d. 1730), slave and alleged witch in the British colony Bermuda in the West Indies
  • Frances Basset (1781-1855), 2nd Baroness Basset, British peeress
  • Delfin Carbonell Basset (b. 1938), contemporary lexicographer


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. ^ Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. 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.
  2. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  3. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  4. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  5. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  7. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  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. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  11. ...

The Basset Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Basset 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 2 December 2015 at 13:05.

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