Lordship Title of Basmead or Basmey ID1010

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The manor of BASMEY or BASMEAD was held of the barony of Eaton by half a knight's fee. The last mention of the overlordship has been found in 1613, when it was held of Lord Vaux as of Eaton Manor by fealty and suit of court. The earliest tenants of this manor were a family called de Bath or de Baa, from whom it derived its distinctive title. As their name indicates, they came from Bath, in Somerset, in which county they owned much property. They owned land in this parish certainly during, if not before, the reign of John, when Reginald de Bath acquired 26 acres of assart from Robert de Meisil. In 1240, the year in which John de Bury and Hadwisa his wife brought the action against William de Beauchamp, which has been dealt with under Eaton Manor, Osbert de Bath and Agnes de Bath were called to prove their title to 1 carucate of land in Eaton, of which Agnes, probably the mother of Osbert, held 1 carucate in dower. The manor next passed to Reginald de Bath, who died seised of half a knight's fee in Wyboston in 1254–5. His son Reginald succeeded him, and was followed some time before 1286 by Osbert, who in that year made a settlement of the manor (here so called for the first time) on the Bishop of Bath and Wells. He died in 1296, leaving a daughter. Her name is given in the inquisition as Elizabeth, but it seems as if this might be a mistake, and that her identity is to be sought in the Emma wife of Robert Wauton to whom in the following year were quitclaimed one messuage, 373 acres of land, meadow and wood, and 7 marks rent in Staploe. Certainly Robert Wauton, described as 'of Basmey,' and his descendants are found holding the manor for the next 150 years. Robert Wauton was one of the constables of the peace for the county, and in 1308 complained that Alice Le Latimer, Joan Comyn and many others had besieged him in his dwelling at Eaton Beauchamp (sic), neither suffering him to go forth from it nor to discharge his duties as conservator of the peace. They had felled his trees and destroyed his fences, and thrown them, together with hay found in his meadow, into the River Ouse, and had assaulted those of his servants sent to guard the hay and cut the corn. In 1328 Robert Wauton, together with John de Relegh, acknowledged a debt of 80 marks, to be levied on his goods and chattels. He appears to have been followed by Thomas de Wauton, who is mentioned in an aid of 1346, but very little has been found about the family in connexion with their property during the following century. John Wauton was justice of the peace and commissioner of array for the county of Huntingdon (on which Basmey Manor bordered) in 1382. Thomas Wauton, described as of Eaton, was one of more than 800 men, 'for the most part girt with swords,' who gathered at Bedford in 1439 on the occasion of the assizes. They were said to have uttered contumelious words in the presence of the justices, but received pardon on payment of a fine, because the certificate against them was made 'of mere malice.' There is a brass in Eaton Church in memory of Ellen Wauton, widow of Thomas Wauton (possibly the above), who died in 1458. In the beginning of the 16th century one Sir Thomas Wauton died, leaving a widow Anne and two daughters, co-heirs. The manor thus became divided into moieties, and it will be convenient first to discuss that part which passed to Cicely Wauton, who married Sir Nicholas Luke, whose family has been traced under Cople (q.v.). John, eldest son of Nicholas and Cicely, died seised of half of Basmead in 1566. In 1581 his son Nicholas Luke of Woodend in Cople and other coppice-owners (not named) had a dispute with William Gery as to the boundary between Basmead and Bushmead, by which it was agreed that the value of wood of the double hedge which separated the two properties if sold was to be shared by the two owners. Nicholas Luke died in 1613, when his Basmead property was extended at a moiety of five messuages, 618 acres, 35s. 5d. rent and two capons in Basmead, Over and Nether Staploe, Devilhoe, Wyboston, Honydon and Eaton. Sir Oliver Luke of Woodend, kt., his son made settlements of the manor in 1616, about which time the other moiety appears to have been added to his estate. In 1627 Sir John Luke alienated the property to Edmund and Edward Bagshawe, (fn. 91) in whose family it remained till 1665, when Mary Bagshawe, who appears to have been the daughter of Edmund, with others, conveyed it by fine to Edward Atkins and Anthony Browne. It passed later to the Danvers family, for a monumental inscription in Eaton Socon Parish Church, dated 1741, bears the name of John Danvers of Basmead, son of Samuel Danvers of Smithland. One of the same name, possibly a son, suffered a recovery of the manor in 1748. On his death the property was put up to sale and was purchased by Thomas Smith. About the middle of the 19th century it was acquired by a family named Squire, whose representative, Miss Squire, owns and resides at Basmead Manor at the present day. Returning to the other moiety of Basmead Manor, left to the co-heirs of Thomas Wauton in the early 16th century, it is found that c. 1504–15 Thomas Fitz Hugh (who appears to have married Cicely Wauton's sister) owned a messuage with lands called Wautons in Eaton, of which Anne widow of Thomas Wauton had seized the title deeds. Robert Fitz Hugh, a descendant, died seised in 1609 of a messuage called the Farm House, a cottage and lands in Eaton, Wyboston, Roxton and Shelton. He left two daughters, Anne Cromwell and Mary Astry, and a grandson Robert Saunders as co-heirs. In the settlement of 1616 the names of George and Lora Astry are coupled with that of Sir Oliver Luke as deforciants, and in the alienation to the Bagshawes in 1627 Thomas and Mary Saunders appear with Sir John Luke, from which it may be inferred that the whole manor was at this time alienated.
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