BASSINGBOURNE, John, of Weymouth, Dorset.
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Family and Education
m. by 1402, Isabel.1
Collector of the court and bailiff of the earl of March’s liberty of Portland, bef. 1391.2
Collector, customs and subsidies, Melcombe 28 Oct. 1395-Apr. 1398.
Bailiff, Weymouth Mich. 1396-7.3
Alnager, Dorset 23 Oct. 1396-July 1399.
In 1387-8 Bassingbourne was the farmer of the demesne lands at Portland of Roger Mortimer, 4th earl of March; and in 1391 he was described as lately bailiff of the earl’s liberty there and also as owing half a mark for a fish, which he had claimed as appurtenant to that office.4 His connexions were mainly with Weymouth. He was a feoffee of the property of Philip Soydon† there as well as at Wey Ruant (now Broadway) and Wyke Regis, and in 1393 his cofooffees released to him all their right in a house at the end of High Street. In 1396 he was granted, by John Brond†, a plot adjoining St. Nicholas Street, and later he held a tenement next to one owned by Thomas Cole I*. In 1400 he found mainprise at the Exchequer for Walter Cokkys, the lessee of a burgage in the town which had once belonged to Thomas Dovere*. Bassingbourne is not known to have had any particularly notable landed interests outside Weymouth, but in 1402 he, his wife and others, including Stephen Russell*, were accused at the Dorchester assizes of illegally occupying lands in Maiden Newton. Except for Russell, all the defendants were acquitted.5
Bassingbourne’s trading concerns included the import of wine from Gascony and the shipment of cloth through Melcombe Regis. In 1395-6 he had been assessed for the subsidy on four cloths sold at Weymouth. At one time he concurrently occupied the posts of customer at Melcombe, bailiff at Weymouth and alnager for the whole county. In 1412 Bassingbourne took out a royal pardon for failing to appear in the court of common pleas to answer the allegations of Edward Skinner that he had failed to render account as his receiver. He was one of the delegates from Weymouth who reported the results of the parliamentary elections of 1422 at the shire court.6 It seems very doubtful that he was the John Bassingbourne who represented the borough in 1435. Had this been the case he must then have been a very old man.