Thurstan Basset
(-After 1088)
Ralph Basset
(-Abt 1127)


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Ralph Basset

  • Born: Montreuil-au-Houlme, Normandy, France
  • Marriage: Unknown
  • Died: Abt 1127, Northamptonshire, England 481

bullet  Information about this person:

• Background Information. 852
Ralph Basset was the baron of Welden in Northamptonshire. He was a common man and a Norman by birth who moved into the noble classes with his service to Henry I.

Henry de Huntingdon, according to Dugdale, in his epistle, De mundi Contemptu, called Ralph Basset Chief Justiciary during the reign of Henry I. This is unlikely since the person who yielded such power during the reign of Henry I was Roger, Bishop of Salisbury. As a witness for King Henry's charter to Westminster Abbey [Monast. i. 308],1121/22, his name appears as the fifteen witness. This shows that he could not yet have held the office of Chief Justiciary. Nevertheless, Ralph Basset did fill a very high position in the administration of just at this time.

Ralph Basset is mentioned in 1124 as presiding over a court of the barons held at Huncote, Leicestershire for the trial of offenders who were convicted of robbery. The Roll of 31 Henry I calls him the justice of the forests in Norfolk, Suffolk and Surrey. He was most likely dead at the time, and the references in the Roll are to debts due to the crown in previous years.

Ralph died in Northampton. When he became sick, he called for a monk's habit of the order of those of Abingdon. He disposed of his estate and donated money to that abbey with a grant of four hides of land in chesdelesworth. He died there and was buried in the Chapter-house. He left several sons, some who, like their father, became justiciers.

[Citations given, Dugdale's Baron. i. 378; Madox, i. 12, 146, 541, ii. 224; Thorton's Notts, i. Mag. Rot. 31 Henry I., Hunter's ed. 31, 101, 124, 145]

~Biographia Jurdidica, p. 57

• Background Information. 236
Ralph Basset, is mentioned by Orderic [Hist. Eccles. lib. xi. cap.3] as one of thos 'de ignobili stirpe' whom Herny I, early in his reign, selected for the members of his administration. He appears, from the signatures of Henry's charters, to have been in constant attendance on the court. The chronicle of Abigndon speaks of him as 'in omni Anglić regno justitić habens dignitatem,' and Henry of Huntingdon describes his son and himself as 'viros clarisimos . . . justitiarios totius Anglić.'' His exact post is, however, somewhat doubtful. In 1106, he was one of the five arbitrators between the archbisop of York and the abbot of Ripon. He is mentioned by Orderic as presiding at 'Bricstan's' trial in 1115/6, and by the English chronicle as condemning forty-four men to be hanged for robbery in a 'géwitenemot' at Huncote in 1124. His name occurs in the Pipe Roll of 1129/39 as a justice of the forests and an itinerant justice in six counties, but he was dead at the time. He had died, probably some two years before, at Northampton, entering on his death-bed the fraternity of Abingdon and leaving several sons from whom descended the great house of Basset.

[Sources: Ordericus Vitalis; Chronicle of Abingdon (Rolls Series); Henry of Huntingdon (De contemputu Mundi), p. 318 (Rolls series); Rot. Pip. 31 Henry I; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 378; Foss's Judges of England (1848), i. 98; Stubbs's Select charters (18700, 94-5]

~John Horance Round, Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. III, p. 385

• Background Information. 737
Ralph Basset, son of Thurstan, the Norman, was a justice of England under King Henry I. Ralph died in 1120 leaving sons, Thurstine, who succeeded to the manor of Colston; Thomas, ancestor of the Bassets of Heddington, from whom diverged the Wycombe Bassets; Richard, who succeeded his father as a Justice of England in the latter part of Henry I and through the reign of Stephen; Nicholas, who sided with King Stephen against the Empress Maud; and Gilbert, of Little Rissington, Gloucester, ancestor of the Bassets of Little Rissington.

~ Burke's A Genealogical History of the Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited, and Extinct Peerages of the British Empire, p. 26

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