BASSET, Francis (1674-1721), of Tehidy, Cornw.
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Family and Education
b. 10 Feb. 1674, o. s. of Francis Basset of Tehidy by Lucy, da. of John Hele, of Bennetts, Cornw. educ. Pembroke, Camb. 1693. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Sir Thomas Spencer, 3rd Bt.†, of Yarnton, Oxon., wid. of Sir William Gerrard, s.p.; (2) 1713, Mary, da. and h. of John Pendarves, rector of Drewsteignton, Devon and event. h. to her uncle Alexander Pendarves*, 2s. 4da. suc. fa. 1675.1
Stannator, Tywarnhaile, 1703; sheriff, Cornw. 1708–9.2
The Basset family had been seated at Tehidy since the 12th century. Basset was the great-grandson of Sir Francis Basset, a prominent Cornish Royalist who incurred great financial losses as a result of the Civil War. Basset nevertheless succeeded to a substantial estate, Thomas Tonkin* writing that Basset owned ‘a considerable tin-works’ out of which was raised ‘above a hundred thousand pounds worth of tin’ at Carnekye, the advowsons of the three considerable parishes of Tehidy, Camborne and Redruth, as well as ‘royalties of wrecks’ in these parishes. At the December 1701 election Basset had supported James Buller*, the Tory candidate for the county, and was himself successful in 1702 at Mitchell on the Tory interest. In October 1704 he was listed as a probable supporter of the Tack, but he did not vote for it on 28 Nov. This was, however, probably owing to absence rather than opposition to the measure, as Basset had defaulted at a call of the House on 25 Nov., was ordered into custody and not discharged until 8 Jan. 1705. Later the same month, on the 21st, he was granted a three-week leave of absence. He did not stand at any subsequent election.3
Basset married the niece and prospective heir of Alexander Pendarves, who ‘offered to settle on him his whole estate, provided he would after his death take his name’. He refused to do so, whereupon Pendarves married Mary Granville, the young niece of Lord Lansdown (George Granville*) and the future Mrs Delany, in the hopes of siring an heir of his own. Delany later described Basset as a man with enough ‘wit and cheerfulness’ to make up for his ‘despicable’ figure, and recorded that shortly after a visit to Pendarves’ house, he ‘was seized with terrible fits that ended his life’ on 11 Dec. 1721. His younger son and namesake sat for Penryn from 1766 to 1769.4