BASSETT, John I (by 1503-50/51), of Singleton, Suss. and Minchinhampton, Glos.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1503, 2nd or 3rd s. of Giles Bassett of Uley, Glos. by Joan, da. of one Davis. educ. I. Temple, adm. 27 June 1517. m. (1) Faith ( 1544), da. of one Love, wid. of Sir John Devenish of Hellingly, Suss.; (2) Joan.1

Offices Held

Servant of the earls of Arundel by 1524.2


The Bassett family had been established in Gloucestershire since the 14th century, when the marriage of Margaret, a daughter of Thomas, 5th Lord Berkeley, with Sir Anselm Bassett had brought him the manor of Uley in the hundred of Berkeley, which their descendants were to hold until the middle of the 18th century.3

John Bassett, a younger son, received a legal education at the Inner Temple, where in 1520-1 he was fined three times for failing to keep the vacations. He entered the service of a Sussex magnate, Thomas Fitzalan, 10th Earl of Arundel, to whom he was perhaps introduced by Thomas Prestall a contemporary of his at the Temple: in 1524 he and Prestall’s father witnessed the earl’s will. He continued in the service of the next earl, through whose influence he obtained a seat in the Parliament of 1529. As he was then living in the neighbourhood of Midhurst, he was no stranger to the borough. Nothing has come to light about his role in this Parliament. He presumably sat again for Midhurst in 1536 when the King asked for the re-election of the previous Members, and may have been elected there or at another Sussex borough to one or more of the later Parliaments of Henry VIII’s reign, although in the absence of so many returns this is a matter of speculation. He stood close to the 11th Earl of Arundel and in 1539 he was listed at the head of the earl’s gentlemen servants. When in 1544 this earl died, Bassett apparently left the Fitzalan service and Sussex, retiring to his native county where he made his home at Minchinhampton.4

Bassett’s last years are obscure. He made his will at Minchinhampton on 15 Oct. 1550. He appointed 20s. to be given to the poor at his burial, and left his farm of Uley and all his jewels and livestock to his second wife and sole executrix. In Bosham in Sussex he had a pasture purchased from John Hardham of Chichester; 40s. out of the profits from this were to be disbursed to repair the highway between Cocking and Midhurst, and a further 40s. were to be delivered to the inhabitants of Singleton, where several of the Earl of Arundel’s servants lived. Bassett’s will was proved on 20 Feb. 1551.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: R. J.W. Swales


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from education. Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 206; Wards 7/1/73; C1/977/44.
  • 2. PCC 28 Bodfelde; SP2/S, f. 210.
  • 3. Vis. Glos. 206; Rudder, Glos. 783.
  • 4. Cal. I.T. Recs. i. 54, 56, 61; PCC 28 Bodfelde; SP2/S, f. 210.
  • 5. PCC 6 Bucke.