Friday, 16 October 2020

(433) Basset of Beaupré

Basset of Beaupré
The manor of St. Hilary belonged to the Basset or Bassett family
from at least 1262 and possibly earlier. The name was spelled interchangeably as Basset or Bassett, although a single 't' became usual in later years, and is the form used here. The house which became known as Beaupré Castle was developed in the 14th century and is first recorded by that name in 1376. It descended to Jenkin Basset (c.1445-92), with whom the genealogy below begins. His eldest son and heir, James Basset (d. 1502) died young leaving an only daughter, Eleanor, as heiress. In 1511 she was married to Rice Mansel (1487-1559), a neighbouring landowner, but she died in or before 1516 without issue. Rice Mansel, who was knighted in 1527, went on to marry twice more, but retained a life interest in the house at Beaupré, which he enlarged and seems to have used as his main residence for much of his life. He arranged for his daughter Catherine (d. 1593) to marry William Basset (c.1506-86), who inherited Beaupré when Sir Rice's life interest expired, thus neatly ensuring the property was retained by his own descendants. William's son Richard (c.1535-1614) inherited Beaupré on his father's death and made further improvements to the house, giving it a sophistication that none of the previous works had possessed. Although the house was built as a manor house and was never a castle in the sense of a functionally defensible building, Richard gave it some of the trappings: an enclosing wall with crenellations, a gatehouse, and an inner porch tower, built in 1600. Both house and family were reaching the apogee of their importance at this time.

It is very probable that Richard Basset outlived his eldest son, Edward, and was succeeded by his grandson, William Basset (1578-1644), who was High Sheriff in 1622 and died in 1644, at the height of the Civil War. It was his son, Sir Richard Basset (c.1602-65), kt., who played an active part in the war, being a committed Royalist. He is said to have been knighted after the Battle of Edgehill, and he led a contingent of Royalist troops from Glamorgan to participate in the siege of Gloucester the following year. He was High Sheriff of Glamorgan in 1643-44 and was made Governor of Cardiff Castle in 1645, but only a few weeks later he was obliged to hand over the castle to Parliamentarians. According to his own account he then followed the king to Hereford, intending to resign his commission, but the king was not there and when the city fell to the Parliamentarians, he was arrested and his estate was seized. In 1646 he agreed a fine for the recovery of his estate (eventually paid in full in 1649), but in 1647 he was back in arms against the Parliament as one of the leaders of a Royalist revolt in south Wales, which was crushed with much slaughter in 1648. He may have been fined more severely this time, for the family's finances never really recovered after the Civil War, although happily he lived to see the Restoration of the monarchy and was even briefly reinstalled as Governor of Cardiff in 1660.

Sir Richard married twice, and the only surviving son of his first marriage, Sir William Basset (1627-67), kt., was the chief beneficiary of royal favour after the Restoration, being made a justice of the peace and deputy lieutenant and given commissions in the army. He married, probably in 1663, but had no surviving issue, and the Beaupré estate passed to his half-brother, Sir Richard Basset (1638?-91), kt., an officer in the army. He unwisely stood as surety for his kinsman, Sir Edward Stradling, in a debt of £21,000, and when Stradling was unable to pay, Sir Richard was obliged to sell assets and borrow heavily to meet the debt. By 1677 his income had been reduced to half the £1,000 a year that his grandfather had enjoyed, and much of it was swallowed up by paying the interest on his loans. In his will, he instructed that his lands at Glastonbury (Som.) should be sold to reduce his debts, and left Beaupré to his widow for life. She seems to have managed to find the resources to provide portions for her daughters, but perhaps as a result, the debts grew, and in 1709, her two sons, Philip and Robert, joined with her in selling the estate, which passed out of the family for the next hundred and thirty years. Beaupré Castle itself was largely abandoned and fell into ruins during the 18th century, except for a small part of the castle which was used as a farmhouse. 

For the next few generations, the Bassets maintained a tenuous hold on gentry status through the pursuit of military careers. Philip Basset died unmarried and without issue, but his brother, Richard Basset (1690-1746) eventually reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel a few months before his death. He and his second wife, a Bainbrigge of Lockington (Leics), produced an only son, Henry Basset (c.1729-82), who pursued a similar career, also reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and also marrying a member of the Bainbrigge family. Through a combination of careful living and prudent investment, Richard and Henry Basset acquired lands in both Ireland and North America, which Henry left to his eldest son, Capt. James Basset (1750-1825); since no more is heard of them, he probably sold them to supplement his retirement on half-pay. Henry's second son, Brig-Gen. Sir Richard Basset (1751-1806) had a more notable military career and died in the Caribbean while on active service. Both men were unmarried, but the family line was continued by their brother, Lt-Col. Thomas Basset (1757-1842), who reached the rank of Major in 1801 and retired soon afterwards. He seems to have suffered some form of financial calamity in the next few years, and in 1813 was admitted as one of the Poor Knights of Windsor. In about 1820 he became their Governor, a post which brought with it a house in the Lower Ward of Windsor Castle, where his children grew up. His eldest son, Richard Basset (1798-1849), joined the Royal Artillery in 1815; and in 1835 he was amongst the British troops sent to assist the liberal supporters of Queen Isabella in Spain during the First Carlist War. He played a leading part in raising the siege of Bilbao, for which he received a Spanish knighthood and was awarded a military decoration. A further welcome surprise came in 1841, when he learned that Daniel Jones, a Cardiff lawyer and philanthropist, had bequeathed the Beaupré estate to him as the senior male representative of its ancient possessors. The old castle itself was by this time largely uninhabitable, but a new house (known as New Beaupré) had been built nearby in 1820s, and in 1842 he retired from the army and moved in. He and his wife Frances had no children, so on her death in 1865 the property passed to his nephew, Maj. William West James Bruce (1830-71), who took the name Basset as a condition of the inheritance. 

Major Basset was succeeded in turn by his sons William Richard Basset (1863-1912) and Philip Thurstane Bruce Basset (1868-1922), the latter continuing to work as a veterinary surgeon after coming into the estate. During the First World War, the house was used as a military hospital, and when Philip Basset died in 1922 it passed to his widow for life. She tried unsuccessfully to let the house, and when this failed it was left empty for some years while she lived in a rented house in mid Wales. In 1928 the house and its lands were sold, finally ending the connection of the Bassets with St. Hilary and the Beaupré estate.

Old Beaupré Castle, St. Hilary, Glamorganshire

A ruined fortified house, set in an isolated position in the fields and now approached from the west along half a mile of footpath, although the original approach was from the north. It was the seat of the Bassets from at least the late 14th century until 1709. The house consists of a 14th century core, which was enlarged in the early 16th century and further elaborated in about 1600. The oldest parts of the house are at the southern end of the site (to the left on the plan below), where an irregular inner court is defined by the hall range and a service range at right-angles to it and by a detached group of buildings on the south side which seems to have been a complete second residence on a smaller scale.
Beaupré Castle: phased ground plan. Image: RCAHMW/Crown Copyright. Some rights reserved. 

The irregularity suggests that construction may have taken place in several phases during the 14th century. The hall was relatively small (32x20 ft) and had a simple two-storey parlour block to its west. To the east stood a mural staircase, then a gatehouse (which was apparently closed in and repurposed in the 15th century) and finally the service accommodation. The large and well-preserved kitchen lies at the angle between the hall range and the service range at right-angles to it.

In 1502, on the death of James Basset, the estate descended to his daughter Eleanor, who was married in 1511 to Rice Mansel (d. 1559) of Oxwich (Glam.). She died without issue within the following five years, leaving Sir Rice (as he became in 1527) the possessor of the estate for life, and it seems to have been Sir Rice who began the 16th century improvements at Beaupré. In about 1540, he constructed the three-storey west range of the outer court to enlarge the family accommodation, and built a spacious new stair, rising in short flights around a square pillar. He also modernised the older buildings, flooring over the great hall to great a great chamber on the first floor. This involved blocking the 14th century windows of the hall, inserting new mullioned windows with arched lights, and repositioning the hall fireplace. Although Sir Rice seems to have been living at Beaupré in 1527, he had other properties where he was also active as a builder. At his own family seat of Oxwich Castle, he was responsible for building the gatehouse on the west and a two-storey wing on the south side of the courtyard, and he may also have begun the conversion of Margam Abbey, which he bought in 1538, into the 'faire and sumptious house' which became the family's principal seat in the late 16th century.

Beaupré Castle: general view from the north-east. Image: RCAHMW/Crown Copyright Some rights reserved
Sir Rice Mansel arranged for his daughter (a child of his second marriage) to marry William Basset, the reversionary heir to Beaupré, so that, when he died in 1559 and the property passed back to the Bassets it did not leave his family. Richard Basset, who inherited in 1586, was to make the final and most dramatic changes to Beaupré, building the northern gatehouse and the wall to its east which completes the enclosure of the middle court in a style which adopts the features of fortification as an indication of status rather than for serious defence. This seems to have been particularly popular in south Wales, although it is found widely across the country in the Elizabethan and Jacobean period. Probably a little later, he added a 'tower of the orders' porch, dated 1600, to the north side of the hall. It is thought that the gatehouse and the porch represent two different campaigns of works because the tentative representations of classical motifs on the gatehouse are a world away from the rather sophisticated porch.


Beaupré Castle: the outer gatehouse, with crude classical decoration, perhaps of the 1580s. Image: RCAHMW/Crown Copyright. Some rights reserved.
Beaupré Castle: the inner porch tower is a more sophisticated classical production, dated 1600.
Image: RCAHMW/Crown Copyright. Some rights reserved.
After the house was sold by the Bassets in 1709, it was abandoned and fell into ruins, except for one wing, which was maintained as a farmhouse through the 19th century. In the 20th century, the site was taken into guardianship by the Secretary of State, and is now open to the public.

Descent: John Basset (fl. 1376); to son?, Thomas Basset (d. 1423); to son, John Basset; to son, Jenkyn Basset (c.1445-92); to son, James Basset (d. 1502); to daughter Elinor (d. by 1516), wife of Sir Rice Mansel (1487-1559), who had a life interest; to her nephew, William Basset (c.1506-86); to son, Richard Basset (c.1535-1614); to grandson, William Basset (1578-1644); to son, Sir Richard Basset (c.1602-65), kt.; to son, Sir William Basset (1627-67), kt.; to half-brother, Sir Richard Basset (1638?-91), kt.; to widow, Priscilla Basset, who with her sons sold 1709...sold 1755 to Thomas Edmondes; to son, John Edmondes (d. 1778); to daughter Charlotte, wife of Llewellyn Traherne (d. 1841); sold 1797 to Daniel Jones (d. 1841); bequeathed to Richard Basset (1798-1849); to widow, Frances Basset (1800-65) for life and then to his nephew, Maj. William West James Bruce (later Basset) (1830-71); to son, William Richard Basset Basset (1863-1912); to brother, Philip Thurstane Bruce Basset (1868-1922); to widow, Hilda Gwendoline Basset (d. 1937), who sold 1928...

New Beaupré House, St. Hilary, Glamorganshire

New Beaupré House: the modest building constructed for Daniel Jones in the 1820s and extended by the Basset family, photographed while in use as a hospital during the First World War, from an old postcard.
The centre of the house is a three bay two storey house built in the 1820s for Daniel Jones (d. 1841) of Llantwit Major, a solicitor who endowed Cardiff Royal Infirmary. When he died, he bequeathed the house to Richard Basset (1798-1849), thus re-establishing the connection of the family to their ancient estate. Richard Basset probably added the gabled wings either side of the centre. The house has simple interiors with well-preserved but simple decoration, including a central staircase with stick balusters. The house was offered for sale by auction in 1909, but failed to find a buyer, and during the First World War it was used as a Red Cross convalescent hospital. It returned to private residential use after the war, and was sold by the family in 1928. It remains a private house today.

Descent: Daniel Jones (d. 1841); bequeathed to Richard Basset (1798-1849); to widow, Frances Basset (1800-65) for life and then to his nephew, Maj. William West James Bruce (later Basset) (1830-71); to son, William Richard Basset Basset (1863-1912); to brother, Philip Thurstane Bruce Basset (1868-1922); to widow, Hilda Gwendoline Basset (d. 1937), who sold 1928...

Basset family of Beaupré


Basset, Jenkyn (c.1445-92). Son of John Basset of Beaupré and his wife Gwenthian, daughter of John Githin ap Jen ap Leisson, born about 1445. He married Jennet, daughter of Morgan Jenkins ap Philip, and is said to have had issue:
(1) Jane Basset;
(2) James Basset (d. 1502) (q.v.);
(3) William Basset (b. c.1477) (q.v.);
(4) Thomas Basset of Llantrithyd; married, before 1513, and had issue;
(5) Elinor Basset;
(6) John Gwyn Basset;
(7) Elizabeth Basset;
(8) Henry Basset;
(9) Richard Basset.
He inherited the Beaupré estate from his father.
He died 7 May 1492. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Basset, James (d. 1502). Eldest son of Jenkyn Basset (b. c.1445) and his wife Jennet, daughter of Morgan Jenkins ap Philip, born about 1470. He married and had issue:
(1) Elinor Basset (d. by 1516) (q.v.).
He inherited the Beaupré estate from his father.
He died in 1502. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Basset, Elinor (c.1493-c.1516). Only child of James Basset (d. 1502) and his wife, born about 1493. She married, 1511, Sir Rice Mansel (1487-1559), kt., of Oxwich Castle (Glam) and Margam Abbey (Glam.), but had no issue.
She inherited the Beaupré estate from her father in 1502 and carried it in marriage to her husband, who gained a life interest. He was responsible for enlarging and modernising the house in the early-mid 16th century.
She died before 1516. Her husband married 2nd, c.1520, Anne Brydges, and had issue two daughters (including Catherine, who married William Basset (c.1506-86), the reversionary heir to Beaupré, for whom see below) and 3rd, 1527, Cecily (d. 1558), daughter of John Dabridgecourt of Solihull (Warks), one of Princess Mary's ladies in waiting; he died in London, 10 April 1559, and was buried at St. Bartholomew the Great, London, but is commemorated by a monument in Margam Abbey church.

Basset, William (b. c.1477). A younger son of Jenkyn Basset (c.1445-92) and his wife Jennet, daughter of Morgan Jenkins ap Philip, born about 1477. He married Katherine, daughter of William Fleming, and had issue including:
(1) William Basset (c.1506-86) (q.v.);
(2) Christopher Basset of St Athan (Glam); married and had issue.
His date of death is unknown. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Basset, William (c.1506*-86). Elder son of William Basset (b. c.1477) and his wife Katherine, daughter of William Fleming, born about 1506. MP for Glamorgan, 1563, 1571. JP for Glamorgan (from 1561); High Sheriff of Glamorganshire, 1544, 1558; Escheator of Gloucestershire, 1584-85. He married Catherine (d. 1593*), daughter of Sir Rice Mansel (1487-1559) of Beaupré and his second wife, and had issue:
(1) Richard Basset (c.1535-1614) (q.v.);
(2) Arnold Basset (b. c.1542); educated at the Inner Temple (admitted 1560; called to the bar, 1571); barrister-at-law; married Mary Vaughan, and had issue three sons (from whom descended the Bassets of Tregaff) and six daughters;
(3) John Basset, of Caerwent (Mon.); married, c.1579, Ann, daughter of Thomas Prichard of Caerwent, and had issue three sons and two daughters;
(4) Elizabeth Basset; married Robert Thomas of Brigan, and had issue;
(5) Ann Basset; married her cousin, William Basset of St. Athans;
(6) Mary Basset; married, after 1586, Dr. Thomas Lyson or Leyshon MD of Neath (Glam.), author of a poem describing the gardens of St. Donat's Castle;
(7) Friswith Basset; married Thomas ap William Hopkins of Cwrt-y-Bettws, Llandarcy (Glam.).
He inherited Beaupré on the expiry of his father-in-law's life interest in 1559. At his death the house at Beaupré was left to his wife during her widowhood. He probably acquired the Llantrithyd estate through his marriage, and he also held lands in Glamorganshire under lease from the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester Cathedral.
He died 10 March 1585/6; his will was proved in the PCC, 1 April 1586. His widow died 10 March 1592/3 and was buried at Monkton Combe (Som.), where they are commemorated by a monument*.
* According to their monument at Monkton Combe, both William and Catherine died at the age of 80, she being seven years his junior. This implies dates of birth, respectively, of 1506 and 1513, but according to other sources, Catherine's parents were not married until c.1520, so she at least is likely to have been considerably younger.

Basset, Richard (c.1535-1614). Eldest son of William Basset (c.1506-86) and his wife Catherine, daughter of Sir Rice Mansel, born about 1535. High Sheriff of Glamorganshire, 1597, 1609. He married 1st, Catherine, daughter and heiress of Thomas Bowen of Fishwear, in St. Mary Church (Glam.); 2nd, Margaret, daughter of Sir John Raglan of Carnllwyd, widow of John Carne of Nash and of John Sheppard of Allston (Wilts), and 3rd, Catherine, daughter of Sir Thomas Jones of Abermarlais and widow of Thomas Vaughan of Dunraven, and had issue including:
(1.1) Edward Basset (b. 1556) (q.v.);
(1.2) Thomas Basset of Cogan; married 1st, Mary, daughter of John ap John of Cogan, and had issue two daughters; married 2nd, Elizabeth, daughter of David Evans, and widow of Christopher Van;
(1.3) John Basset; possibly the man of this name admitted to Grays Inn in 1580;
(1.4) William Basset;
(1.5) Ann Basset; married 1st, John or Thomas Powell of Llandough and 2nd, Sir Richard Gamage, kt.;
(1.6) Catherine Basset; married Richard Thomas of Brigan;
(1.7) A daughter; married William Basset of St. Athans (Glam.).
He inherited Beaupré from his father in 1586, and further extended the house, adding the mock fortifications and gatehouse and (probably rather later) the porch of the great hall.
He died in 1614; his will was proved in Llandaff, in that year. His wives' dates of death are unknown.

Basset, Edward (b. 1556). Eldest son of Richard Basset (c.1535-1614) and his first wife Mary, daughter and heir of Thomas Bowen, born 1556. He married Catherine, daughter and co-heir of Edward Carne of Nash (Glam), one of the Tellers of the Exchequer, and had issue including:
(1) William Basset (1578-1644) (q.v.);
(2) Rev. Richard Basset (c.1586-1645); educated at Christ Church and Lincoln College, Oxford (matriculated 1605; BCL 1625); vicar of Llantrisant, 1611-45 and rector of Llandough; prebendary of Llandaff Cathedral, 1612-44 and of Hereford Cathedral, 1622-45; married, 24 February 1611/2 at Mathern (Mon.), Margaret, daughter of Rt. Rev. Francis Godwin, bishop of Llandaff, 1601-17 and of Hereford, 1617-33, and had issue two sons (the elder of whom succeeded his father as vicar of Llantrisant and prebendary of Llandaff) and two daughters; died January 1644/5, and was buried at Llantrisant, where he was commemorated by a monument in the church porch;
(3) Margaret Basset;
(4) Ann Basset; married Richard Mason of Croston;
(5) Mary Basset; married John Basset of Tregaff;
(6) Catherine Basset; married, 3 June 1601, William Thomas of Brychton, barrister-at-law;
(7) Elizabeth Basset; married Francis Wyndham, of Somerset.
He probably died in his father's lifetime but his date of death is unknown. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Basset, William (1578-1644). Elder son of Edward Basset (b. 1556) and his wife Catherine, daughter of Edward Carne of Nash (Glam), one of the Tellers of the Exchequer, born 1578. High Sheriff of Glamorganshire, 1622. He married, about 1600, Cecil (c.1583-1669), daughter of Thomas Vachan alias Vaughan of Dunraven (Glam.), and had issue:
(1) Sir Richard Basset (c.1602-65) (q.v.);
(2) Busbie Basset;
(3) Edward Basset;
(4) Thomas Basset; married, after 1629, Catherine Powell, and had issue one son and three daughters;
(5) John Basset; married Anne (who m2, Morgan Cradoc of Cheriton), daughter of William Prichard of Caerwent, and had issue three sons and one daughter;
(6) Jenkin Basset (d. 1672?); said to have died in 1672;
(7) William Basset;
(8) Mary Basset (d. 1681); married 1st, Leyson Williams (d. 1663) of Aberpergwm (Glam.), gent. and 2nd, [forename unknown] John, and had issue by her first husband; will proved 13 December 1681;
(9) Elinor Basset; married Richard Mathew of Llwynrhyddid (Glam.), gent.;
(10) Cicil Basset; married Randal Harper (fl. 1642) of Machen (Mon.), gent.;
He probably inherited Beaupré from his grandfather in 1614.
He died in 1644. His widow died in 1669, and administration of her goods was granted at Llandaff, 11 November 1669.

Basset, Sir Richard (c.1602-65), kt. Eldest son of William Basset (1578-1644) and his wife Cecil, daughter of Thomas Vachan alias Vaughan of Dunraven (Glam.), born about 1602. He was an active Royalist during the Civil War and is said to have been knighted after the Battle of Edgehill, 1642; he was appointed Commissioner of Array for Glamorganshire, 1642; High Sheriff of Glamorganshire, 1643-44; and Governor of Cardiff Castle, 1645, which he yielded to the Parliamentarians on 20 August 1645 on condition of his liberty; he then followed the King to Hereford (intending, he said, to resign his commission), where he was arrested at the capture of that city. In 1646 he compounded for his estate for £753 and this fine was paid in full in 1649.  He is said to have been one of the leaders of the 1647 revolt in Glamorganshire. At the Restoration, he was briefly Governor of Cardiff Castle, 1660. He married 1st, 19 November 1623 at Wenvoe (Glam.), Mary (d. c.1634), daughter of Edward Thomas of Wenvoe and widow of George Kemeys (1583-1621), son of Edward Kemeys of Kemeys (Glam.); he married 2nd, c.1635, Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Van of Marcrosse and widow of William* Matthew of Aberaman and Roos, and had issue including:
(1.1) Catherine (k/a Kate) Basset (1624-77?), baptised at St Mary Church (Glam.), 14 December 1624; married Edward Mathew of Aberaman (Glam.), and had issue; possibly the woman of this name buried at St John, Cardiff, 4 January 1677;
(1.2) Sir William Basset (1627-67) (q.v.);
(1.3) Edmund Basset (b. 1629), baptised at St Mary Church (Glam.), 10 February 1629; died young;
(1.4) Mary Basset (1632-93), baptised at St Mary Church, 4 December 1632; married 1st, William Games of Brecon, gent., and had issue one son; married 2nd, Rev. James Corry (d. 1688), rector of Leckwith, Llandough and Cogan, and vicar of Penarth and Lavernock, and had issue one son and one daughter; administration of goods granted 6 March 1692/3;
(2.1) Jane Basset (b. 1636), baptised at St Mary Church, 28 December 1636; married Ven. Anthony Jones (d. 1678), vicar of Llantrisant, archdeacon of St. Davids, 1667-78 and prebendary of Llandaff, and had issue;
(2.2) Elizabeth Basset (1637-86), baptised at St Mary Church, 9 January 1637/8; married William Andrews (d. 1684) of Cadoxton, gent., and had issue at least two sons and two daughters; administration of goods granted 22 January 1687;
(2.3) Sir Richard Basset (1638?-91) (q.v.);
(2.4) John Basset (d. 1697); married Anna, daughter of Edward Stradling of Roath (Glam.); buried at St Hilary, 28 March 1697;
(2.5) Edward Basset (d. 1709); married, Jane [surname unknown] (d. 1695); buried at St Hilary, 28 April 1709;
He inherited Beaupré from his father in 1644.
He was buried at St Hilary, 24 February 1664/5. His first wife died between 1632 and 1635. His second wife's date of death is unknown.
* Burke's Landed Gentry calls him James.

Basset, Sir William (1627-67), kt.. Only surviving son of Sir Richard Basset (c.1602-65), kt. and his first wife, Mary, daughter of Edward Thomas of Wenvoe (Glam), baptised 6 October 1627. Educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1641, 1655). He was an officer in the Royal Horse Guards (Lt. 1661; Capt., 1664). MP for Cardiff Boroughs, 1661; DL for Glamorganshire, 1665; High Sheriff of Glamorganshire, 1665-death. He was knighted in 1666 or 1667. He married, c.1663-65 (licence, 24 February 1662/3; settlement 20 July 1665), Martha (d. 1685), third daughter and co-heir of Sir Hugh Wyndham, 1st bt., of Pilsden Court (Dorset) and widow of Edward Carne (1624-50) of Ewenny Priory (Glam.), but had no issue.
He inherited Beaupré from his father in 1664. At his death it passed to his half-brother, Sir Richard Basset (1638?-91).
He died 8 September and was buried in Westminster Abbey, 24 September 1667. His widow was buried at Llandough (Glam.), 20 March 1684/5; administration of her goods was granted 14 April 1685.

Basset, Sir Richard (1638?-91), kt. Eldest son of Sir Richard Basset (c.1602-65), kt. and his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Van of Marcrosse and widow of James Matthew of Aberaman and Roos, born about 1638. An officer in the cavalry (Lt., 1685) and possibly the same man as held a series of commissions in the infantry as Lt. and Capt. between 1660 and 1680. Steward of the lordship of Cardiff, 1682-91. He was knighted at Whitehall, 3 February 1681/2. Patron of the Eistedfodd, called the great Gorsedd, held at Beaupré, at which the rules of bardism and Welsh verse were revised, 1681. He stood surety for Sir Edward Stradling for a debt of £21,000, which he was called upon to pay, and this broke his finances and obliged him to sell most of his lands; by 1677 his income had been reduced to £500 a year, and he was still in debt at the time of his death. He married 1st, Philippa (d. 1674), daughter of James Campbell of Woodford (Essex) and 2nd, Priscilla (b. c.1656), daughter of Col. Phillip Jones of Fonmon Castle (Glam.), and had issue:
(2.1) Philip Basset (fl. 1691-1717); an officer in the Scots Fusiliers (Lt., 1711); living in 1717 but died unmarried and without issue;
(2.2) Jane Basset (d. 1715), eldest daughter; married, 3 December 1698 at St. Hilary, John Thomas (d. 1701) and had issue one son (who died in infancy); buried at St. Hilary, 31 December 1715;
(2.3) Elizabeth Basset (fl. 1691-96), second daughter; married, 20 July 1696 at Lisworney (Glam.), Thomas Powell of Llandough and had issue two sons and one daughter;
(2.4) Anne Basset (fl. 1691), third daughter; living in 1691; possibly married [forename unknown] Lewis of Lanishen;
(2.5) Priscilla Basset (fl. 1691-98), youngest daughter; married, 29 December 1698 at St Hilary, Thomas Cross of Bristol; 
(2.6) Lt-Col. Richard Basset (1690-1746) (q.v.).
He inherited Beaupré from his half-brother in 1667, and also had a house in Cardiff. At his death he left his estate in Glamorganshire to his widow for life, with remainder to his sons; they sold it in 1709. His property at Glastonbury (Som.) was to be sold for the payment of his debts.
He died after 26 December 1691 and was buried at St. Hilary, 4 January 1691/2; his will was proved in the PCC, 26 April 1692. His first wife was buried at Flemingston (Glam.), 26 March 1674. His widow's date of death is unknown.

Basset, Lt-Col. Richard (1690-1746). Younger son of Sir Richard Basset (1638?-91), kt. and his second wife, Priscilla, daughter of Col. Phillip Jones of Fonmon Castle (Glam.), baptised at St. Hilary, 12 November 1690. An officer in the army (Lt., 1710/11; resigned 1712; Capt., 1722; Maj. 1740; Br. Lt-Col., 1745). He married 1st, 27 April 1711 at Lincoln's Inn Chapel, London, Elizabeth (b. 1689?), probably daughter of Thomas Apprice of Westminster (Middx), and 2nd, 7 April 1720 at St Anne & St Agnes, Aldersgate, London, Barbara (b. 1703), daughter of William Bainbrigge of Over Hall, Lockington (Leics), and had issue:
(2.1) Lt-Col. Henry Basset (c.1729-82) (q.v.).
He died at Youghal (Co. Waterford), 18 March 1746; his will was proved in Dublin, 7 June 1746. His first wife died before 1720. His second wife's date of death is unknown.

Basset, Lt-Col. Henry (c.1729-82). Only son of Maj. Richard Basset (1690-1746) and his second wife, Barbara, daughter of William Bainbrigge of Lockington (Leics), born about 1729. An officer in the 10th Foot (Lt., 1755; Capt., 1757; Maj., 1765; retired as Lt-Col., 1776). He married, 15 August 1749 at Duffield (Derbys), Catherine (1724-72), daughter of Thomas Bainbrigge of Woodseat (Derbys), and had issue:
(1) Capt. James Basset (1750-1825), said to have been baptised 23 January 1749/50; an officer in the 29th Foot (Lt., 1764; Capt., 1774; retired on half-pay); Deputy Inspector-General of Musters and Accounts by 1804; inherited his father's lands in North America and Ireland; lived latterly at The Hermitage, George St., Battle Bridge, St. Pancras (Middx); died unmarried and was buried at East Barnet (Herts), 14 March 1825; will proved in the PCC, 12 April 1825;
(2) Brig-Gen. Sir Richard Basset (1751-1806), kt.; an officer in 10th Foot and later 6th West India Regiment (Ensign, 1764; Lt., 1775; Capt., 1778; Br. Maj., 1794; Lt-Col., 1795; Br.Col., 1800; Br. Brig-Gen, 1804); knighted by the Duke of Rutland, 31 October 1785; died unmarried at Brimstone Hill, St. Kitts, 19 May 1806;
(3) Catherine Basset (1752-1815), baptised at St. Alkmund, Derby, 16 September 1752; married, 20 December 1781 at St Paul, Shadwell (Middx), William King, and had issue three sons; buried at East Barnet (Herts), 17 May 1815;
(4) Barbara Basset (b. 1754), baptised at Dronfield (Derbys), 13 January 1754; probably died young and certainly before 1779;
(5) Lt-Col. Thomas Basset (1757-1842) (q.v.);
(6) Henry Basset (b. 1759), baptised at St. Alkmund, Derby, 11 July 1759; probably died young, and certainly before 1779.
He lived latterly in Marsham St., Westminster (Middx).
He probably died early in 1782; administration of his goods (with will annexed) was granted, 4 May 1782. His wife died 30 October 1772.

Basset, Lt-Col. Thomas (1757-1842). Third son of Lt-Col. Henry Basset (c.1729-82) and his wife Katherine, daughter of Thomas Bainbrigge of Woodseat (Derbys), baptised 13 November 1757. An officer in the 5th Foot (Ensign, 1775; Lt., 1777; Capt., 1787; Br. Lt-Col., 1800; Maj. 1801 and retired soon afterwards). He was appointed one of the Poor Knights of Windsor (from 1833, the Military Knights of Windsor) before 1813, and was Governor of that community, c.1820-42. He married, 29 March 1790, Elizabeth (d. 1835), daughter of Alexander Cruikshanks of The Cedars, Point Claire, Montreal (Canada) and formerly of Aberdeen, and had issue including:
(1) Catherine Basset (c.1793-1877), born in Canada, c.1793; married, 5 April 1821 at Clewer (Berks), Capt. James Brooks (d. by 1844) of Appledore (Devon), but had no issue; buried at Northam (Devon), 3 March 1877;
(2) Richard Basset (1798-1849) (q.v.);
(3) James Basset (b. 1800), born 18 January 1800 and baptised at St Pancras Old Church, 27 April 1804; probably died in infancy;
(4) Hannah Augusta Basset (1804-91), born 12 March  and baptised at St Pancras Old Church, 9 April 1804; living at Beaupré in 1844 and at Ryde (IoW) in 1881; died unmarried in London, 13 June 1891; administration of goods granted 23 July 1891 (effects £6,446);
(5) John Basset (b. & d. 1807), baptised at St Pancras, 24 February 1807; died in infancy and was buried at East Barnet, 14 August 1807;
(6) Isabella Basset (b. 1808; fl. 1881) (q.v.);
(7) William Alexander Basset (b. 1810; fl. 1844), born 1 June and baptised at Bushey (Herts), 28 June 1810; living at Sydney (Australia) in 1844; evidently died without issue in Australia; a legal case led to an official search being made for him in 1893, which was apparently unsuccessful in establishing his date of death;
(8) Georgiana Anne Monsell Basset (1813-71), born 13 May and baptised in St George's College Chapel, Windsor, 31 May 1813; lived with her sister at Ryde (IoW) but died unmarried in London, 22 November and was buried at St. Hilary, 30 November 1871; administration of her goods (with will annexed) was granted to her sister, 16 March 1872 (effects under £1,500).
He lived in the Governor's House in the lower ward of Windsor Castle from c.1820.
He died at Windsor Castle, 7 January, and was buried in the Dean's Cloisters of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, 13 January 1842; his will was proved 9 February 1842. His wife died 4 December, and was buried in the same place, 11 December 1835.

Basset, Richard (1798-1849). Elder son of Lt-Col. Thomas Basset (1757-1842) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Cruikshanks of The Cedars, Point Clair, Montreal (Canada), born 6 December 1798  and baptised at St Pancras Old Church, 27 April 1804. An officer in the Royal Artillery (2nd Lt., 1815; Lt., 1824; 2nd Capt. and Adjutant of 2nd Battn, 1837; retired on half-pay, 1842). By a royal licence of 25 January 1838 he was granted permission to wear the insignia of a Knight of the Royal Spanish Order of Isabella, and the Cross of the Military Order of San Fernando, First Class, awarded for his role in raising the siege of Bilbao during the First Carlist War, 1836. JP and DL for Glamorganshire. He married, 27 November 1844 at Ashcott (Som.), Frances (1800-65), second daughter of Stephen Dowell of Braywick Grove (Berks) and Bath (Som.), but had no issue.
He inherited the New Beaupré estate at St. Hilary from his friend, Daniel Jones, in 1841. After his death, his estates passed to his widow for life and then to his nephew, Maj. W.W.J. Bruce (later Basset).
He died 8 November and was buried at St. Hilary, 16 November 1849; his will was proved in the PCC, 21 December 1849. His widow died at Nice, 2 May 1865; her will was proved 29 June 1865 (effects under £7,000).

Basset, Isabella (b. 1808; fl. 1881). Third daughter of Lt-Col. Thomas Basset (1757-1842) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Cruikshanks of The Cedars, Point Clair, Montreal (Canada), born 13 May and baptised at St Pancras (Middx), 7 December 1808. She married, 12 November 1829 at St George, Hanover Sq., London, Lt-Col. William Bruce KH (c.1794-1868), who served in the army, 1812-41, was severely wounded at the Battle of Waterloo, and was appointed a Knight of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order in 1837; and they had issue:
(1) Maj. William West James Bruce (later Basset) (1830-71) (q.v.);
(2) Isabella Elizabeth Basset Bruce (1832-94), baptised at St Mary, Dover (Kent), 24 October 1832; married, 28 April 1870 at St Peter, Eaton Sq., Francis Irving (c.1828-96) of the Foreign Office, and had issue two daughters; died 7 October 1894; will proved 29 October 1894 (effects, £3,370).
She was living with her elder sister in Ryde (IoW) in 1881 but her date of death has not been traced. Her husband died at the Grosvenor Hotel, London, 28 November 1868.

Bruce (later Basset), Maj. William West James (1830-71). Only son of Lt-Col. William Bruce KH (c.1794-1868) and his wife Isabella, daughter of Lt-Col. Thomas Basset, born at Windsor Castle, 7 November 1830. An officer in the 74th Highlanders and 94th Regiment (Ensign, 1848; Lt., 1849; Capt. 1853; Br. Maj. 1865; retired 1866); JP for Glamorganshire. He assumed the name Basset in lieu of Bruce by royal licence, 12 December 1865, for himself and his descendants. He married, 3 July 1862 at St Pancras Old Church (Middx), Eliza (c.1830-97), daughter of Richard Weeks, barrister-at-law, and had issue:
(1) William Richard Basset Bruce (later Basset) (1863-1912) (q.v.);
(2) James Basset Bruce (later Basset) (1865-1919), born 23 July 1865 and baptised at Simla (India), 6 August 1865; died unmarried, Apr-Jun 1919;
(3) Eliza Maude Isabella Bruce Basset (1866-1929), born 31 August and baptised at St. Hilary, 10 October 1866; died unmarried in London, 30 January 1929;
(4) Philip Thurstane Bruce Basset (1868-1922) (q.v.);
(5) Ela Jane Mansel Bruce Basset (b. & d. 1870), baptised 9 January 1870 at St. Hilary; died in infancy and was buried at St Hilary, 2 April 1870.
He inherited the New Beaupré estate on the death of his uncle's widow in 1865.
He died in London, 16 October, and was buried at St. Hilary, 24 October 1871; his will was proved 30 December 1871 (effects under £10,000). His widow died of cholera in London, 30 July and was buried at St. Hilary, 6 August 1897.

Bruce (later Basset), William Richard (1863-1912). Eldest son of Maj. William West James Bruce (later Basset) (1830-71) and his wife Eliza, daughter of Richard Weeks, barrister-at-law, born 23 November 1863 and baptised at Amritsar (India), 7 April 1864. He took the name Basset in lieu of Bruce in 1865. He was a Conservative in politics and fond of sports, especially shooting and sailing; he was also an amateur pianist of considerable ability. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited the New Beaupré estate from his father in 1871 and came of age in 1884. He also had a house in South Kensington (London).
He died in London, 15 May and was buried at St. Hilary, 20 May 1912; his will was proved September 1912 (estate £13,776).

Basset, Philip Thurstane Bruce (1868-1922). Third and youngest son of Maj. William West James Bruce (later Basset) (1830-71) and his wife Eliza, daughter of Richard Weeks, barrister-at-law, born 17 August 1868. Veterinary surgeon. An officer in the Durham Light Infantry (2nd Lt., 1889) and the Imperial Yeomanry (Veterinary-Lieutenant, 1901). Working as a veterinary surgeon in south Wales in 1903. He married, 3 June 1902 at Oldbury near Bridgnorth (Salop), Hilda Gwendoline Clifford (d. 1937), daughter of Maj. Peter Clifford Browne of Ahascragh (Co. Galway) and had issue:
(1) Philip Thurstane Richard Ulick Basset (1903-59), born 1 April and baptised at St. Hilary, 19 May 1903; educated at Royal Military Academy, Woolwich; an officer in the Royal Regiment of Artillery (2nd Lt., 1923; Lt.; retired 1936; returned to service as Capt., 1939; cashiered following a court martial, 1944; he married 1st, 19 May 1929 at St Peter, Southwark (London), Kathleen Lilian Helen (1904-37), daughter of Anthony Oliphant Sergeaunt, company director, and had issue one daughter; married 2nd, Jul-Sept 1939, Lucy Norton (1904-42), daughter of Richard Eshott Carr, and had issue one son (who died in infancy), and 3rd, Apr-Jun 1944, Christine Warren-Bell (b. c.1908), actress, formerly wife of Charles Campbell, an American lawyer in Paris; died in London, Jan-Mar 1959;
(2) Hilary Catherine Mansel Basset (1906-94), born 3 August 1906; lived in London and worked as a private secretary; died unmarried in a home for distressed gentlefolk, 27 February 1994; will proved 25 April 1994 (estate under £125,000);
(3) Barbara Gwynedd Bruce Basset (1911-36), born 21 December 1911; died unmarried, Oct-Dec 1936.
He lived at Llanblethian House until he inherited the New Beaupré estate from his elder brother in 1912. After his death the house passed to his widow, who failed to let it and sold it in 1928.
He died following an operation, 9 July 1922, and was buried at St. Hilary; will proved 28 September 1922 (estate £1,633). His widow died in London, Apr-Jun 1937.


Principal sources

Burke's Landed Gentry, 1925, pp. 92-93; Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments in Wales, Glamorgan: the greater houses, 1981, pp. 46-64; J. Newman, The buildings of Wales: Glamorgan, 1995, pp. 478-80; A. Emery, The greater medieval houses of England & Wales: vol. 2, 2000, pp. 652-53; H.M. Thomas, St Hilary: a history of the place and its people, 2000; 

Location of archives

No significant archive is known to survive, although some estate and family papers survive among the Penrice and Margam archives in the National Library of Wales.

Coat of arms

Basset of Beaupré: Argent, a chevron azure between three bugle horns stringed sable.
Some accounts record the coat with the chevron sable too.

Can you help?

  • Does anyone know what Sir William Basset (1627-67), kt., had done to merit burial in Westminster Abbey?
  • Can anyone provide fuller genealogical information for the earlier generations of this family? In the absence of the parish registers for St. Hilary before 1690, my account is unusually incomplete.
  • I should be most grateful if anyone can provide photographs or portraits of people whose names appear in bold above, and who are not already illustrated.
  • Any additions or corrections to the account given above will be gratefully received and incorporated. 

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 16 October 2020.



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