HINTS and The Bassetts

(Meynell, Dethik, Hunt, Fitzherbert)

The village of Hints lies between Tamworth and Lichfield in Staffordshire.

It neighbours Drayton Bassett, the original location of the royal manor held by the most powerful Bassett of Drayton family in the 12th to 14th century.

At the time that the Bassetts of Drayton held Drayton Bassett, the Meynells held the smaller Manor of Hints.     On the death of Sir Hugh Meynell of Meynell Langley the Meynell estates were divided amongst his four daughters, Elizabeth, Margaret, Thomasia and Joan.    Thomasia acquired Hints as her portion and she married Reginald Dethick.  Their daughter Margaret Dethik, widow of Richard Montgomery,[1] married Raufe Bassett of Blore c.1420 and thus Hints became part of the Bassett Estate.

However, no mention of the Hints estate has been found for the next hundred years.   

Around 1521, William (III) Basset of Blore came to an agreement with John Hunt of Ashover that his sister Dorothy should marry Christopher Hunt.   Dorothy was the youngest of the three sisters named in the Inquisition Post Mortem of his father in 1506.   The young couple were both under 21 years old and William agreed to provide for them until they were of suitable age.    Lands in Hints[2] to a value of £10 per Annum were to be provided as her jointure on condition that if she died before Christopher was 21 years old, then he “makes a good estate in lands in Ynce to the yearly value of £10 over charges to Christopher for John’s life then Sir Thomas Cokayn kt and others named shall be seised of the lands Huknall Torkerd, Wylne, Rysley and Chelaston to the use of John as set out above”.   Dorothy died and Christopher married again in 1532.

    In 1537/8 an agreement was made between Thomas (I) Bassett[3], and his wife Margaret and Christopher Hunt Armiger[4] in respect of 10 houses and 800 acres[5] of land in Hints.   Christopher Hunt acknowledged that the tenements to be the right of Thomas and Margaret, for which they granted, to Christopher and his heirs, an annual rent of four pounds issuing from the said tenements.

In 1544, Thomas (I) Bassett was recorded as living at Barton Backpuche, subsequently known as Barton Blount, near Broughton in Derbyshire.   In 1545 he was in dispute with Ralphe Sacheverell of Melbourne over lands he held in Hints.   As a result of independent arbitration, Thomas (I) Bassett was awarded "the site and precinct of the Manor Place of Hints" (illustration) plus 266 acres of land and the right to graze 400 sheep and 40 beasts on the common land at Hints and free fishery[6].    For his part, he was required to pay £4.00 per year in rent to Ralph Sacheverell[7].      Ten years later on the 6th September 1554 Ralph Sacheverell of Melbourne died and his son Ralph of Normanton upon Sore, Nottingham sold to Thomas (I) Bassett Esq of Hints, his interest in the land in Hints for £515.19.2d.

    According to the inscription on a monument in the chancel of Hints Church in the 18th Century, Thomas (I) Bassett had two wives: Jane and Margaret.  

 Thomas married his wife Jane, and she had one son Edward and two daughters in

 Thomas Bassett of Hints was married to Margaret, daughter of xxxxxx Cokayn of Ashbourne in xxxx.

         According to the Parish Registers, on the 14th February 1558, Thomas married his second wife Johanne Perry;  the surname is taken from a brochure in Hints Church but a transcription of the Parish Registers reports that it is indecipherable.   In 1558, the Manor of Hints is recorded as being in the possession of the Bassetts[8].

    On 5th July 1564 the marriage was arranged between Edward Bassett and Jane Lynne, niece of Mary and Humphrey Wellys of Hore Cross[9].  Mary Wellys was the daughter of Wm Chetwynd of Ingestre; her sister had married a member of the Lyne family by whom she had Jane a daughter.   Humphrey Wellys was a rich and important man; Member of Parliament, Justice of the Peace and Sheriff.   He died a year later in 1565 and Thomas Bassett was one of the Appraisers of the Inventory of Humphrey Wellys, valued at £622.11s.0d.   However, in his will there is no mention of the young couple Edward and Jane.   (photo of tomb in Yoxall Church[10])

    Thomas Bassett agreed that on his death the land in Hints should descend to Edward his son.   Humphrey Wellys, for his part, agreed to provide a dowry of £200 for his wife's niece Jane.  The boy Edward was to be properly dressed and equipped for the marriage, by his father, in accordance with his standing. Jane's Uncle agreed to see that she was dressed in accordance with her position.   He also agreed to supply the food, drink and accommodation for the guests at the wedding.

    An unusual stipulation in the marriage agreement is the right of veto given to each of the children: "and if the said Edward and Jane will thereunto consent and agree".    The couple must have been very young and, therefore, giving them a right to refuse seems very unusual.  This kind of clause appears in documents, relating to the aristocracy, after 1640, but it is unusual to find it among the children of the gentry[11].  There is no record in the Parish Register of the marriage of Edward and Jane, it could be that they were married in the Parish from which Jane came.  However Parish Records for the period from 1538 are notoriously problematic.

    Jane, a daughter by the second wife of Thomas Bassett of Hints, married Robert Fitzherbert of Tissington.    Jane Fitzherbert died 27th October 1574 and was buried in St Marie's Church, Oxford.   They had five sons: William, Thomas, Rafe, Hoffry and Samson and three daughters: Anne, Elizabeth and Dorothe.

    Dorothy married Edward Whorwood of Compton and had two sons Sir Thomas Whorwood and Sir William Whorwood.

                        In 1565 and 1566 two children both called Thomas, are recorded as being baptised at Hints. The first child died at birth and the second only lived for a year.    On the 10th December 1567, the baptism of a son Walter is recorded.    They had seven other children:  Thomas, John, Dorothy, Ann, Mary, Magdalen and Jone.

     In 1578, Edward Bassett of Hyntes was involved in a court case after he provided bail for Thomas Thickbrome of Cannal who was indicted in a case of alleged burglary. Thickbrome was subsequently pardoned and Edward was repaid the £40 he had provided[12].

    In 1586 when the eldest son, Walter was 19, his father Edward arranged the marriage with Sconsolate, one of the daughters of Sir Fulke (II) Greville.  Sconsolate is a most unusual name; it has been suggested that it may be of Italian origin probably from some literary work but so far no other example of the name has been found.   It may be a corruption of "consolation" in line with the Puritan practice of avoiding saintly names.    Her brother Sir Fulke (III) Greville, Lord Brooke, was certainly a Puritan but it is unclear what were the true affiliations of her father.

    Sir Fulke paid a dowry of £400 and Edward conveyed lands in Hints to Walter and Sconsolate and granted to Sconsolate £10.00 per year for life should Walter die before she did, out of the rent of Hints Park.  Just as in the case of the previous marriage settlement, the children are given the right to refuse.

    Another oddity about this marriage is the fact that there are records of two ceremonies.    The first is recorded in the Alcester parish register on 27th November 1586 and the second at Hints on 3rd March 1587/8.    Although it is not specifically stated in the parish register, it is possible that the first ceremony took place in a private chapel, at the home of the Grevilles - Beauchamps Court, near Alcester.  It was not uncommon for those, whose marriage took place in a private chapel, to have it acclaimed publicly elsewhere.

    There is some doubt about the number of their children, but there appears to have been ten of them: Edward, Fulk, Wylliam, Thomas, John, George, Margaret, Elizabeth, Dorothy and Jane.

    In 1588, Edward and his underage son, Walter, leased a portion of Hints to Mr Flyer at 13/4d per acre and thereafter at 40/-d per acre.  On the 6th May 1594 Edward gave to his son Walter the Manor of Hints and all his lands in Staffordshire.

     In 1591 Edward Bassett leased land in Hints to Sir Francis Willoughby[13].   Edward’s son Walter leased by mortgage further land to Edward Willoughby in 1598, 1601 and finally in 1602 the land was sold by bargain and sale.   In 1598 William Bothe is also named in connection with the lease from Walter Bassett and in 1602 land was sold to William Chapman in 1599.

In 1599 Walter and Sconsolate sold parts of their estate in Hints, first to William Underhill of Utlicote and secondly to Raffe Fitzherbert of Hints.

According to a pedigree there is a Thomas Bassett born 1599 from whom Tony Bassett, Dr Betteridge, Roy Bassett and Peter Bassett descend.   (To investigate this Thomas Bassett….)

    In 1604 Edward Bassett was granted a pension for life of five shillings per day for his services in Ireland.   This may refer to his joining the forces of Robert Earl of Essex who passed through Drayton Bassett in 1599 on his way to Ireland to make war against the Earl of Tyrone.    There is an undated reference in the "Memorials of the Dead" Ireland F.E.  Vol VIII page 192 which reads:

"BASSET Edward of Hince, Staffordshire

Father of Joyce second wife of Groot Madden."

    As Edward would have been around fifty years old, which is a bit old for gallivanting off to the wars, this Edward could well be yet another of the many confusing Edwards, Thomases, Walters and Williams to be found in the Bassett family.

    In 1601 Walter sold "all that capital messuage or house called Hynts Lodge" to Ralph Flyer[14].     Ralph Flyer went on to acquire the rest of the estate fourteen years later in 1623. On the death of Ralph Floyer in 1793 his nephew Cawley took the name of Floyer with the manor and estate and it remained in the family until the late 1800s.

    In 1606/7 Walter and his father Edward sold to John Endisor, haberdasher of London and Christopher Endisor a further part of the estate.  In 1611 Walter Bassett sold  a further twelve acres of land to William Endsore.   Thus the entire interest of the Bassetts in the Manor of Hints had passed to other hands; the end of yet another chapter in the story of the Bassetts.

    Walter Bassett of Hynce, gent, is shown in the Staffordshire Quarter Sessions Rolls of Jurors in the Offlow for 1608.

    Edward Bassett, gent, was buried in February 1608/9.   The fact that he is described as "gent" rather than "esquire" again brings doubt as to which Edward is being recorded.  All previous records show esquire which was regarded as higher in the social scale than gent.

    His grandson died in 1617 and his son Walter Bassett was buried at Hints on 9th September 1632.

In 1591 Edward Bassett leased land in Hints to Sir Francis Willoughby – Sir Francis was related to Robert Fitzherbert.

In 1649/50 six houses and lands in Hints were recovered by Robert Fitzherbert from Edward Frith, William Needham.    The deed was signed by Robert Fitzherbert, William Kempson and John Hill and witnessed by Randle Terrick, John Cowley, Simon Hill, John Cox and Simon Jasson.    In 1652, Robert Fitzherbert of Hints was one of the executors of the will of William Kempson, the husband of his daughter Dorothy[15].

In 1666, Robert Fitzherbert of Hints was, with Sir Richard Astley, Thomas Pegge and Gilbert Pegge, named as a trustee to hold the Manor of Ashbourne to the use of Sir Aston Cokayn and his wife Mary[16].   Two years later, in 1668, Sir Aston Cokayne, Sir Richard Astley and Robert Fitzherbert of Hints, sold land in Clifton, Ashbourne, to Rowland Eyre of Hassope[17].

Robert Fitzherbert of Hints is named in three deeds among the Cokayne of Rushton Papers dated 1668[18].

In 1676, Mary Fitzherbert, one of the daughters, a spinster, of Robert Fitzherbert, gent of Hints, gave to Richard Floyer a copy of the deed of recovery made in 1549/50.

When Elizabeth Ferrers (née Kempson) wife of George Ferrers died in 1689, her will provided for the distribution of £7.10s.0d for the soul of her grandfather Robert Fitzherbert[19].

[1] DAJ vol 72 p.67

[2] Spelled  “Ynce” Derbys RO D779B/T 97

[3] second son of William (II) Bassett, brother of Sir William (III) Bassett

[4] SHC XI p.277

[5] 10 messuages, 100 acres land, 24 acres meadow, 260 acres pasture, 120 acres wood, 300 acres furze and heath

[6] Shaw “History & Antiquities of Staffs” 1801 p.14   also includes a picture of Hints Hall and Chapel

[7] S.R.O.  D1344/1

[8] Tilley “Old Halls of Derbyshire”

[9] S.R.O. D 1344/1  Indenture 5.7.1563/4

[10] DAJ LXXXIV 1964 plate VII

[11] Dr H.T. Betteridge (deceased)

[12] CPR E I vol vii p.429

[13] Nott Univ GB 159 Mi 5/169/1/72-80  

[14] Shaw “History & Antiquities of Staffs” 1801

[15] Shakespeare Birthplace Trust DR 3/460

[16] Arundel Castle Mss   ACM/DD/90  1666

[17] Sheffield Archives  Bag C/2395

[18] Northampton R.O. C3181/2,  C3189

[19] Shakespeare Birthplace Trust DR 3/546