BASHE, Edward (c.1507-87), of London and Stanstead Abbots, Herts.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Dep. sec. council in the marches of Wales c.1538; usher of ct. of gen. surveyors 1546; jt. surveyor of victuals for the navy 1547, surveyor gen. 1550, for life 1560; constable, Porchester castle and lt. of Southbere forest, Hants 1557-60; j.p. Herts. from c.1556, Mdx. from 1562; sheriff, Herts. 1571-2, 1584-5.2
Like other administrators of the mid-sixteenth century, Bashe began his career under Thomas Cromwell. By 1545 he was acting as one of the agents engaged in victualling the navy and, in the naval reforms of Henry VIII’s last years, was made a joint surveyor of victuals, then ‘general surveyor of the victuals for the seas’, at £50 p.a. and 3s. 4d. a day expenses. This office, which he shared with a succession of joint patentees, was, for the rest of his life, his main occupation. Under Elizabeth there came a considerable expansion and reform of the victualling department of the navy, and in 1565 Bashe agreed to undertake the whole of the victualling for a fixed sum per head of naval personnel without recourse to the old method of purveyance. Though this sum was increased in 1575, Bashe was, by October 1578, heavily in debt to the Crown, and asking Burghley for a remission of part of the sum owed or time to pay. In May 1586 he finally gave the required six months’ notice for termination of his contract, but retained his office for the last year of his life.3
Meanwhile Bashe had acquired land and in Hertfordshire, a house in London and estates in other counties, most of which he re-sold. He was an active justice of the peace, mainly in Hertfordshire. During his second term as sheriff, when he was an old man, his hasty temper involved him in several disputes, but his position with Burghley and the Privy Council was not affected. To the last few weeks of his life he continued to send them his advice on the provisioning of the navy.4
Bashe sat in three Parliaments for the naval port of Rochester. His return for Preston in 1571 was no doubt due to the influence of his father-in-law, the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. In October 1566 he spoke on the subsidy bill, urging the House to grant money willingly and pointing out the great sums necessary for naval expenditure. The following speaker suggested that Bashe was an interested party, as the more money he handled, the more he profited. He may have been the Mr. ‘Baghe’ who served on a committee for the river Lea on 26 May 1571.5
His will, made on the day of his death, 2 May 1587, left the bulk of his estate to his wife and two sons, and provided for his servants. He left considerable sums in annuities, a certain amount of plate and £20 for a ‘convenient tomb’, to be erected in the north chapel at Stanstead Abbots. His ‘trusty and well beloved friends’ Sir Christopher Wray, Sir William Wynter, Thomas Sadler and George Horsey, were appointed overseers to help the widow, the sole executrix. The will was proved the following October. An inscription at Stanstead commemorated his service under four monarchs. Bashe was the subject of a lampoon by an anonymous rival for the charms of his wife, ‘a councillor’s daughter’. The ‘new made squire of Stanstead town in Hertfordshire’ is described as loving ‘double beer full well’, of having a nose ‘as red as any rose’, and of deserving a shoehorn as a crest because ‘his dad’ manufactured these in Worcester town.6
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: Roger Virgoe
- 1. H. Chauncy, Herts. i. 383; Vis. London (Harl. Soc. cix, cx), 98; LP Hen. VIII, xx(1), p. 667; CPR, 1563-6, p. 143.
- 2. R. B. Merriman, Life and Letters Thos. Cromwell, ii. 163; LP Hen. VIII, xxi(1), p. 74; CPR, 1549-51, p. 309; 1557-8, p. 149; 1558-60, p. 390; 1560-3, p. 63; Sp11/5/6, f. 35v.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII, xx(2), p 515; M. Oppenheim, Hist. Admin. Royal Navy, 103, 141-3; CPR, 1549-51, p 309; 1566-9, pp. 255-6; Lansd. 37, f. 172; 48, ff. 134-5; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p 534; 1581-90, p. 396; HMC Hatfield, ii. 221; APC, ix. 201.
- 4. CPR, 1550-3, p 246; 1558-60, p. 354; 1560-3, p. 172; C142/215/269; SP12/177/5, 6; Lansd. 48, ff 134-5; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 396.
- 5. Neale, Parlts. i. 137; D’Ewes, 189.
- 6. PCC 63 Spencer; C142/215/269; Chauncy, i. 383; Arundel Harrington ms. ed. Hughey, i. 225-33.