BASSETT, John II (by 1513-51), of Llantrithyd and Pencoed, Glam. and the Inner Temple, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1513, 1st s. of Thomas Bassett of Llantrithyd by Anne, da. of Jenkin ap Thomas ap Ieuan ap Dafydd. educ. I. Temple, adm. 9 July 1527. m. (1) by 1532, Alice, da. of Thomas Love of Dinas Powis, Glam. 2s. 2da.; (2) Elizabeth, da. of Andrew Norton of Bristol, Glos. 1da.2

Offices Held

Jt. (with William Herbert I) attorney-gen. of Glam. 12 Jan. 1535-d.; clerk of the kitchen, I. Temple 1539, marshal 14 Nov. 1542, bencher 1545; j.p. Glam. 1536, q. 1543; member, council of Queen Catherine Parr and surveyor of her lands by 1544; sheriff, Glam. 1545-6; commr. chantries, S. Wales 1548, relief, Glam. 1550; surveyor, ct. augmentations, S. Wales by 1550, Rad. by Nov. 1550; solicitor, council in the marches of Wales by d.3


The Bassetts of Llantrithyd were a junior branch of the Bassetts of Beaupré, a family settled in Glamorgan since the 13th century. Thomas Bassett, himself a fifth son, had acquired Llantrithyd by marrying its heiress, and the estate was to pass to his son John, who was sometimes also given the patronymic and called John Thomas.

Bassett’s early years at the Inner Temple were not without incident. An episode of 1528, which led to his first being put out of commons and then let off with a fine for assault, was followed five years later by a more serious affair in which John Lucas persuaded others to join him in going out of commons; Bassett was one of four students charged with abetting Lucas and was fined 20s.with the alternative of expulsion. These escapades he lived down and in 1545 he became a bencher. He also progressed in the outer world. By 1535 he was joined with William Herbert, later 1st Earl of Pembroke, in the attorney-generalship of Glamorgan, and it was probably to Herbert that he owed his place on the first commission of the peace issued for Glamorgan in February 1536. After the Union Bassett emerged as a leading figure in the county, being described by Leland as ‘Master Bassett of Pencoed, a man of £40 land hard by the New Park of’ George Mathew. He is also found practising as an attorney at the great sessions in Breconshire and Glamorganshire in 1542.4

By 1544 Bassett was in the service of Queen Catherine Parr as her surveyor of lands; he had evidently been introduced to her service by Herbert, who was the Queen’s brother-in-law, and in addition to his own status as one of her learned council his wife was also in attendance. Apart from its other advantages his position gave him the opportunity of acquiring lands for himself on favourable terms, and in November 1545 he bought for £328 the manor of Peterson-super-Ely in Glamorgan; he had earlier acquired those of Bonvilston (in 1542) and Michaelston (in 1543). It was with John Cock II, a fellow member of the Queen’s council, that in February 1550 Bassett also acquired the lordship of Talyfan, near Cowbridge, and the lordship, manor and advowson of the rectory of Shevington in Gloucestershire: the application to purchase had been made in 1546 and the patent records that the late King had intended the grant to be made but that it had been delayed by his death. Cock and Bassett did not keep the manor of Shevington but sold it to William Button, probably the elder of the two Members of that name.5

Under Edward VI Bassett’s work increased in scope. His post in the re-organized court of augmentations left him with little time for other duties. Yet he remained close to Herbert; thus in a clash between Herbert and Walter Devereux, 3rd Lord Ferrers, over the keepership of the castle and gaol of Carmarthen, Bassett tried to gain entrance to the castle in Herbert’s name but was repulsed by Ferrers’ men. His experience was heavily drawn upon in the vast amount of legal work accruing from the dissolution of the chantries; he was made responsible for the surveying of chantry lands in South Wales and for the upkeep of their buildings and property.6

Bassett sat in three Parliaments, the second occasion being when he was sheriff of Glamorgan. As attorney-general for Glamorgan with property of his own in or near several of the contributory boroughs, and an associate of Herbert, he was an obvious choice as the first Member for Cardiff Boroughs. Bassett’s election for Old Sarum (where his name may have been inserted in the indenture in a different hand from that of the document) may have been Herbert’s doing, although as one of the Queen’s officers he probably also benefited from the patronage which she wielded on this occasion. His election in 1547 for Glamorganshire was doubtless facilitated by the Herberts, the sheriff returning him being Miles Mathew, son-in-law of Sir George Herbert. Nothing is known of his role in any of these Parliaments, although he was to be so heavily involved in implementing parts of their legislation that he may be expected to have taken an interest in its terms.7

Bassett was not to see this Parliament out, for he died on 20 July 1551 during the prorogation between its third and fourth sessions. The heir Thomas, then aged 19, became a royal ward, and although he was to inherit the bulk of his father’s lands, Llantrithyd itself and Talyfan were settled, perhaps as a dowry, on his half-sister Elizabeth, who married Anthony Mansell. Bassett’s replacement as knight for Glamorgan in the fourth session of the Parliament is not recorded on the revised list of Members dating from the close of 1551.8

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: P. S. Edwards


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament; Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from education. G. T. Clark, Limbus Patrum Morganiae, 356-7.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, viii, x, xix; NLW ms Wales 17/1, m. 71; 22/8, m. 8v; LC2/2/46; APC, iii. 101; Strype. Eccles. Memorials, ii (2), 163; C193/12/1; CPR, 1548-9, p. 136; 1553, pp. 364, 399; Stowe 571, f. 19v; SP46/3/1, f. 2.
  • 4. Cal. I.T. Recs. i. 90, 103; LP Hen. VIII, viii; Leland, Itin. ed. Smith, iii. 21; NLW ms Wales 17/1, m. 7v; 22/8, m. 8v.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xvii-xix, xxi; LC2/2/45; CPR, 1549-51, p. 246; 1550-3, p. 2; E318/299.
  • 6. APC, iii. 101, 202; Augmentations (Univ. Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xiii), 45, 165, 475, 503; E321/7/42; Cardiff Recs. ed. Mathews, i. 258; iii. 44.
  • 7. C219/18C/145; Strype, ii(2), 163.
  • 8. Wards 9/135/288; C142/93/91.