Ralph was born on 27 August 1300 at Huntingfield, Suffolk, the son of Sir Richard Basset, 1st Lord Basset of Weldon, and his wife, Joan de Huntingfield, daughter of Roger de Huntingfield of Huntingfield. He was baptized two days later at the church at Huntingfield.
Ralph's father fought in the battle of Bannockburn in Scotland on 24 June 1314, where he was captured by the Scots. He died in captivity, and Ralph's inheritance was placed under the guardianship of Richard de Grey of Codnor until Ralph reached his majority. Richard de Grey also obtained the right to arrange the marriage of Ralph. These two rights were granted to Richard de Grey by King Edward II of England at a hearing in York for a fine of £800.
A hearing was held in Suffolk on 29 March 1321 to determine if Ralph was of an age to end his guardianship. A dozen men ranging in age from 42 to 65 years testified to being either in the manor on the day of his birth or in the church on the day of his baptism. A royal edict declaring Ralph of age was issued by King Edward II on the following 14 December.
Marriage and Children
Ralph married a woman named Joan. Her true identity is not currently known for certain but she appears to have been a daughter or relative of William le Latimer (see Research Notes, below). Ralph and Joan had four sons and two daughters:
Ralph received knighthood sometime prior to 20 April 1324 when he was named as Ralph Basset, knight, of Weldon in an Inquisition Post Mortem for Nicholas le Latimer. Latimer held eight messuages, three virgates, and six acres of land plus one third of a windmill of Sir Ralph for a knight's service and one pair of gilt spurs per year.
Sir Ralph was assigned co-responsibility for the assessments of the military contributions from the county of Northampton by King Edward II in a writ issued on 6 August 1324. He was one of thirteen men who reported to the Bishop of Lincoln on this matter which was instigated because of fears that the King of France was marshaling a force to invade the southeastern coast of England.
On 5 April 1327, King Edward III issued a summons to a long list of nobles, gentry and clerics ordering them to marshal their their military forces and report to Newcastle-upon-Tyne on the Monday after the Feast of Ascension. Radulfo Basset de Weldon [sic] was on the list. The forces were to be prepared to march into Scotland and fight Robert, the Bruce, King of Scots, and his supporters, who had been sowing discord along the Marches between the two countries.
Sir Ralph attended King Edward III at Crockesden Abbey in Staffordshire in early October 1327, where he attested a writ issued by the king that would organize the celebrations for the first anniversary of the king's reign in England.
In 1327 he sued John de Bek and others for forcing their way into houses he owned in Staffordshire, stealing goods, and attacking and wounding his servants.
King Edward III issued a charter from Windsor on 30 January 1329 in which he defined the position of Keeper of the Peace. He then proceeded apace to appoint subjects whom he trusted to these positions in various domains of the realm. While he was at Eltham Palace on 1 May of that year, the king appointed Ralph Basset of Weldon as one of four Keepers of the Peace for the county of Northampton.
Although Cockayne states that Sir Ralph was only called to military service once in 1327, he was one of many on a summons from the king, issued at Pontefract on 11 March 1333, to bring forces once again to Newcastle-upon-Tyne to prepare for war with Scotland.
On 26 January 1335, King Edward issued a decree that defined the responsibilities for organizing the arming of the various counties of the realm for its defense. This decree was proclaimed from Roxbury in southern Scotland, and it named Sir Ralph and Eustace de Burneby as being responsible for the county of Northampton. Later that year on 7 August, the king summoned Ralph and a long list of his faithful subjects to London for a council of war to be held on the day after St. Bartholomew's Day, i. e. on 25 August.
Ralph held manors in Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Staffordshire, Hertfordshire and Leicestershire.
Sir Ralph Basset died shortly before 4 May 1341 when an Inquisition Post Mortem was initiated. The Inquisition was conducted on 28 May at Weldon, and it designated that his primary heir was his son, Ralph, aged 15 years or more and that his wife, Joan, and their son, John, were both alive at that time. His widow Joan married Robert de Furneux before 1346.
Ralph's wife is designated as "Da. of . . . Sturdon, of Winterbourne, co. Gloucester" by reference to Nichols' Leicestershire, (vol. iv, p. 905). However, Douglas Richardson has found documents indicating that she was the daughter of or otherwise related to Sir William le Latimer, 3rd Lord Latimer.
John Basset, son of Sir Ralph, needs additional documentation beyond that given in Richardson.
The location of Sir Ralph's death seems to be undocumented.
Richardson, Douglas. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 4 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham. 2nd edition. Salt Lake City: the author, 2011. See also WikiTree's source page for Magna Carta Ancestry.
Richardson, Douglas. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham. Salt Lake City: the author, 2013. See also WikiTree's source page for Royal Ancestry.
If you are interested in being a Gateway Guardian, or joining the project (or both), please post a comment to WikiTree-36, answer "yes" to the project's G2G "join" post (to join the project), or contact me. ~ David Douglass
Ralph Basset is also potentially the descendant of William d'Aubeney, Lord of Belvoir Castle. His descent from these two Barons is directly from his mother, Joan Basset. The potential trails can be inspected at Ten Surety Barons.
Royal Ancestry, Vol I p.263 casts doubt on Roger's wife's ancestry. She has been found to be a kinswoman or perhaps a daughter of William Latimer. Probably not enough to show her as a daughter, even if shown as "uncertain" My opinion is that Latimer-566 should be disconnected from her parents, and the possibility of who her parents are should be covered in the remarks section. Until certain proof is forthcoming she should become "Joan (Unknown) Basset.