Bassit History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

The ancient Norman culture that was established in England after the Conquest of 1066 produced the name of Bassit. It was given to a person of small stature having derived from the Old English word bas, meaning of low stature. [1]

Early Origins of the Bassit family

The surname Bassit 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." [2]

"Thurstan Basset appears in the Roll of Battle Abbey." [3]

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." [4]

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." [4]

"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." [4]

Important Dates for the Bassit family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bassit research. Another 79 words (6 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 Bassit History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bassit Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Bassett, Basset, Bassit, Basett and others.

Early Notables of the Bassit family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Lord Basset of Drayton; Lord Basset of Weldon; Sir Robert Basset of Umberley, a colonel in the English Army; Arthur Basset (1597-1673), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1625 to 1626; William Bassett (c. 1602-1656), an English landowner and politician, Member of Parliament for...
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bassit Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Bassit family to Ireland

Some of the Bassit family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bassit migration to the United States

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Bassit or a variant listed above:

Bassit Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Bassit, aged 18, who landed in Bermuda in 1635 [5]
  • Peter Bassit, who arrived in Maryland in 1674 [5]

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Citations

  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.
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
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