Ralph BASSET of Great Weldon, Royal Justice


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Ralph BASSET of Great Weldon, Royal Justice

  • Born: Montreuil-au-Houlme, Normande, France
  • Married:
  • Died: 1127, Colston Bassett, Bingham, Nottinghamshire, England

  General Notes:

Compiler's 25/27 x great-grandfather

  Research Notes:

Orderic Vitalis names "Goisfredus de Clintona, Radulfus Basset et Hugo de Bocalanda…" among those who were "de ignobili stirpe" and whom King Henry I raised "de pulvere" (from the dust). Henry of Huntingdon names "Ralph Basset and his son Richard, justices of all England". Henry I King of England confirmed property ot Eynsham abbey by charter dated 25 Dec 1109, including the donation of "decimam suam de Strattona" by "Gillebertus Basset" and "decimam suam de una hida de Estelai" by "Radulfus Basset". "…Radulfo Basset" witnessed the charter dated 1113 granted by Henry I King of England in favour of Thorney abbey. "Radulfus Basset et uxor eius A." donated land "in villa…Chinalton" by charter dated 1120 witnessed by "…Willelmus Basset et Ricardus Basset". "…Rad Basset…" subscribed the charter dated to [10 Apr/29 May] 1121 which records the arrangements for the marriage of "Miloni de Gloec" and "Sibilia filia Beorndi de Novo Mercato". The Chronicle of Abingdon records that "Turstinus" [=Thurstan Le Despencer...] donated "ecclesiam de Mercham" to "cuidam ex regis clericis (Radulfo…de Tamewrtha)", after recording the dispute between Thurstan and Abingdon monastery concerning that church. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records in 1124 that "Ralph Basset held a court of the king´s thanes at Hundehoh in Leicestershire and hanged there more thieves than ever before". Military fee certifications in the Red Book of the Exchequer, in 1166, record that "Radulfus Basset" used to hold one knight´s fee from the abbot of Glastonbury in Somerset "tempore Regis Henrici" (presumably indicating King Henry I) now held by "hæres Radulfi Basset junioris". "Radulfus Basset et uxor eius A." donated land "in villa…Chinalton" by charter dated 1120 witnessed by "…Willelmus Basset et Ricardus Basset". Ralph & his wife had [four or more] children... 1


The first secure mentions of Basset are in royal charters dating to around 1102, where he appears as a witness. He then appears as a judge in a royal dispute with the sheriff of Yorkshire. Basset is named as one of the commissioners of the Liber Winton, a survey of the landholdings in the city of Winchester which took place at some point between 1103 and 1115, probably close to 1110. From his Norman lands, Basset is recorded as donating lands to the Abbey of Saint-Evroul in 1113.

Basset appears as a royal justice in 1116, serving in Huntingdonshire. Basset was noted in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for 1124 as hanging 44 thieves, during an eyre in Leicestershire. Possibly, Basset's severity was part of an attempt to overawe the under-tenants of the Beaumont twins, one of whom, Waleran, Count of Melun rebelled during 1124. During the period 1110-1127, Basset was one of the leading royal justices, and was described by the medieval chronicler Henry of Huntingdon as one of the "justices of all England". Huntingdon's implication is that Basset's scope was over all of England, not limited to his own locality.

Basset is recorded in the Pipe Roll of 1130 as having performed judicial functions in 11 different shires, even though by this point he was already dead. Basset also served on the informal vice-regency council that assisted Henry's wife and son when the king was out of England. Basset seems to have spent most of his judicial and royal career in England, as he only is a witness on one royal document that was drawn up in Normandy. 2


Secondary sources show two wives of Ralph Basset: Alice de Buci and Agatha de Bruce. However, I've been unable to confirm these through primary source material which only mention Ralph's wife as A.


Some sources refer to Ralph Basset as the son of Thurstan Basset. For example: "A.D. 1120.—Matilda Ridel...married Richard Basset, Lord Justiciary of all England to King Henry I. after the death of Galfridus Ridel, his father-in-law. He was of an ancient and noble family, being the son of Ralph Basset, Lord Justiciary of England; grandson of Thurstine, who came over with William the Conqueror; great grandson of Osmund, a powerful Baron in Normandy; and great great grandson of Hugh Basset, who lived in the end of the tenth century." 3

  Marriage Information:



1 Foundations of Medieval Genealogy, Chapter 9, Basset.

2 Wikipedia, Ralph Basset (with source citations).

3 History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Burliam, Will Huchinson, F.A.S., iv, Pedigree of the Ridels.

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