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WORKMEN'S TOPICS. *

THE HOUSEHOLD.

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MUSIC IN WALES. a

Songs for the People. .

-----_..__.-.-. THE FLAME…

Illustrated Fashions. 1

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SCIENCE AND HEALTH \^

Illustrated Humour. I

Welsh Tit-Bits. ..

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Welsh Tit-Bits. Neu Wreichion Oddiar yr Eingion* BY OAORA WO. THE BASSETT FAMILY. The origin of the family of Bassett is Norman. Among the retinue of William the Conqueror were two brothers, named Allan and Thnrstane. The first was a General in the Conqueror's ser- vice. the second being his Grand Falconer, an office, as we have shown lately in this column, of tbe highest distinction. These brothers were the progenitors of the various branches of this great family. Drayton Manor, the seat of the Right Hon. Sir Robert Peel, Bart., was formerly known as Drayton Bassett, and was the residence of the above-mentioned Thurstane Bassett Ralph, his eldest son, continued at Dray ton, from whom descended several noble and illustrious branches of the family who distinguished themselves both in the field of battle and on the Judicial Bench. There were two of the name of Ralph who appear to have held the office of a Judge for many years during the reign of King Henry I. and King John; and the signatures of two of the Bassetts are attached to Magna Charta. Later there are two more of this family holding the office of Chief Justice of the Kings Bench, in the reigns of Henry QI. and Edward HI. while others appear to be actively engaged in the cause of the barons under Simon de Mont- fort, and many of the Bassetts perished in the wars of Henry III. John, one of Thurstane Bassett's youngest sons, came over with Robert Fitzhamon to tbe conquest of Glamorgan, and Fitzhamon ap- pointed him his sheriff, with authority to hold his Courts at Cardiff ClIoStle:and Boverton Grange. lIe also presented him with the Lordship of 8t. T1 inry, together with several knights' feea. This John is supposed to have been born about the year 1066. He married a daughter of Wm. Bretevill, a distinguished Norman, and had issue Sir Richard Bassett, who married a Welsh lady named Cynedda, a daughter of Howel ap Efan, Lord of Senghenydd, and issued Richard, who married Eve, a daughter of Cynfrig ap Griffith, ap Iestyn, ap Gwrgan. The Ancient Name of Beaupre was Maes Essyllt, which signifies in English Fair Meadow, and the Norman name Beaupre ia only a translation of the original Welsh. This castle is stated by Mr Malkins to have been successively possessed by Llywelyn, Conan, and Robert ap Sitsyllt, three Welsh chieftains. Sir James Sitsyllt, son of the said Robert, was slain at tbesiee of Wallingford Castle, in the reign of Stephen. His son John was taken prisoner at thesiegeof Lincoln. A son of this John married a daughter of Sir Walter Pembridge, and had by her Baldwin Sitsyllt, who was slain in his father's lifetime at the siege of Cardiff, in the reign of Henry II. From this family is said to be descended the Earls of Exeter and Salisbury, the Welsh Sitsyllt being Anglicised into Cecil. The tradition that Magna Charta was signed at the old Castle of Beaupre has its origin in the fact that several Bassetts had signed their names to this charter of freedom. We find in the family pedigree of the Bassetts that Sir Philip Bassett, who was Forester of Santh Wales, towards the end of the twelfth century married a Sitsyllt of Beaupre, with whom he received the estate. His next in descent was Alexander, who married the daugh- ter of Tidfyl ap Howel. This person is said t& have distinguished himself greatly as a Crusader in the Holy Land. His son William married a daughter of one of the Tnrbervilles of Coity. Thomas their son married Alice, daughter of William de Carey, oE Cardiff, and issued Sir Elias, married Margaret, daughter and co-heiress of Sir John Delabace Lord of Gwibli and Knolston, in Gower. The arms of the Celabares form the second of the six compartments on the old Porch at Beaupre. The issue from this marriage was Hugh. who married Sleicy, a daughter of Sir Griffith ap Nicholas. This Hugh is supposed to have been engaged in a fatal duel wherein he slew hie opponent! and his lands in consequence were forfeited to the Crown. John, brother or cousin to the aforesaid Hugh, continued the Bassett line. He married Joan, daughter and heiress of Thomas ap Madog ap Rhun. This John was witness to a Cardiff Charter, bearing date 16th Oct., 20th of Richard II., or A.D. 1397, He is buried at St. Hilary, where a handsome recumbent figure of him may still be seen on his tomb in the chancel of the church. On the tomb his death ia recorded 4a have taken place 14th Dec., 1423. On the tomb are carved the arms of the Bassetts. Before-we leave this tomb. let me ask- Where is the Welsh Motto so prominently placed over the old porch af Bewper, with the Bassett arms? Why not here on the tomb? Had it been adopted by the family at this time ? Or was it after the death of this John Bassett it was adopted f I am inclined to believe that it was after the above date it became the family motto of the Bassetta It was used by the De Spencers previous to the above date. Sir Thomas LeDespencer, who died 1400, being killed by the rabble at the High Cross, Bristol, had for his motto the Welsh legend— Gwell Angau na Cbywilydd." This ia on his tomb at Tewkesbury Abbey. Thif Sir Thomas was in residence at Cardiff Castle, or had escaped there after the battle in which he acted treasonably towards the King (Richard IL). When the King sent his soldiers down to Cardiff he bolted, and got on a ship in the Bristol Channel. But the captain of the vessel would not land him at any port but that o Bristol, and the people of that town hated th< Despencers, and forced the Mayor to hand hin, over to them, and he was cruelly done to deatfc by them. But his remains were taken to the Abbey, the burial place of Fitzhamon, the De. Clares, and the Despencers. If it coulrik be proved that the Bassetts married into the Despencer family, we could account for the subsequent Cde of the motto by the Bassetts, But Thomas, tbe son of the above mentioned John Bassett, married Alice, daughter and heiress of Lewis Marcross, Esq., and by thiir marriage the Bassetts became possessed of the Marcross estate. From this marriage there appears no issue. The next in rotation is John Bassett, born 1410, who married Gwenllian, daughter of Eva" Gethin, ap Evan, ap Lleysion, Lord of Baglan, From this marriage issued Jane, who married John Butler, Esq., of Dunraven, and Jenkir, Bassett, the continuator of the Beaupre line, who married Jennet, daughter of Morgan Jen- kin Philyp. of Pencoed, Moumouthsbire-thf" same family as the Morgans, of Tredegar. From this marriage issued— James Bassett, who married Catherine, daugh- ter of Rimbron Mathew, Esq., of Llandaff, and issued an heiress, Eleanor, who became the nrat wife of Sir Rees Mansell, Knt., nurchaser oi Margam Abbey, which at the Dissolution was of the value of JE188 14s total yearly income- 8 tolerably large sum at that time—the King- granting the site to his faithful friend and councillor Sir Rees Mansell. irom whose des dants it has passed into the possession of the Talbot family. The original document is still extant which records the Crown sale to Sir Reec Mansell, Knt., for the sum of JE938 6s 8d. Sir Rees, in A.D. 1552, converted part of the Abbey into a dwelling-house, which for two centuriea continued to be the family mansion. The modern mansion of Margam was built by the late Mr C. R. M. Talbot, M.P. It is in the Tudor style, and from tbe design of a London architect, a Mr Hopper. This is the first instance it seems of a failure ot transmitting inheritance from father to SO in the Beaupre family. But the name restored with the next generation. Sir Rice Mansell gave the Beaupre estate aa a marriage portion with his daughter Catherine, who mar- ried William Bassett, born 1510, who was 4th and 18th sheriff for the county of Glamorgan, who also represented the county in the British Parliament in the years 1563-1571, Richard, eldest son of WiJliiam and Catherine Bassett, born 1535, married, 1st, Mary, sole heiress of Thomas Bowen, Esq., ofFishwear; 2nd, Margaret, daughter of Sir John Raglan, who had been the widow of John Carae; and 3rd, Catherine, a daughter of Sir Harri John, of Abermarlais, a widow of Thomas Vychan of Dunraven. but bad no issue by his last twe wives. This Richard it was wbo built the poreh at Beaupre, a beautiful specimen of architecture in the Elizabethan era. There is a tradition, but no evidence, that the plan of this porch was furnished by the celebrated architect. Ioigt Jones, who at that time was taking a took through the Principality, and that it was lnigt who recommended his fellow traveller^and com- panion in Italy, Twrch, to Mr Richard BaMett for the execution of tbe design.