An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
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 of low stature. 
The surname Bassett was 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 [(died 1265], 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."  One source claims that the family may have branched to Withcote in Leicestershire in ancient times. "At the south-western extremity of the parish [of Withcote] may be traced the foundations and embankments of Solay or Sawley Castle, a place of great importance in the baronial wars, supposed to have been built by the Bassett family."  The aforementioned Ralph Basset was father of Ralph Basset, 1st Lord Basset of Drayton and Maud (c. 1265-1299.) He rose to become Governor of Edinburgh Castle (1291-1296.) His son Ralph Basset III was killed at the Battle of Evesham one year after his appointment. Wooton-Bassett, a market-town and parish, and formerly a representative borough, in the union of Cricklade and Wootton-Bassett, hundred of Kingsbridge in Wiltshire was an ancient family seat. "This place, which appears to have been originally of greater importance than it is at present, was, at the time of the Norman Conquest, called Wodeton, from wode, a wood, and tun, a town. About a century after that period, it became the property of the noble family of Bassett, from whom it derived the adjunct to its name."  "At the upper end of the north aisle [of the church at Blore, Staffordshire], within a kind of chantry chapel, is a noble altar-tomb of statuary marble, supposed to be to the memory of William, the last male heir of the Bassetts, who was living in 1588; there is also a brass, dated 1400, in the aisle." 
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.
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 United States in the 17th Century
Bassett Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Bassett Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Bassett Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
Bassett Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
Bassett Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
Bassett Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
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.
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 18 March 2016 at 14:16.