Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Basset, Ralph (d.1127?)

BASSET, RALPH (d. 1127?), justiciar, is mentioned by Orderic (Hist. Eccles. lib. xi. cap. 3) as one of those ‘de ignobili stirpe’ whom Henry I, early in his reign, selected for the members of his administration. He appears, from the signatures to Henry's charters, to have been in constant attendance on the court. The chronicle of Abingdon speaks of him as ‘in omni Angliæ regno justitiæ habens dignitatem,’ and Henry of Huntingdon describes his son and himself as ‘viros clarissimos … justitiarios totius Angliæ.’ His exact post is, however, somewhat doubtful. In 1106 he was one of the five arbitrators between the archbishop of York and the abbot of Ripon. He is mentioned by Orderic as presiding at ‘Bricstan's’ trial in 1115–6, and by the English chronicle as condemning forty-four men to be hanged for robbery in a ‘géwitenemot’ at Huncote in 1124. His name occurs in the Pipe Roll of 1129–30 as a justice of the forests and an itinerant justice in six counties, but he was dead at the time. He had died, probably some two years before, at Northampton, entering on his death-bed the fraternity of Abingdon, and leaving several sons from whom descended the great house of Basset.

[Ordericus Vitalis; Chronicle of Abingdon (Rolls series); Henry of Huntingdon (De contemptu Mundi), p. 318 (Rolls series); Rot. Pip. 31 Hen. I; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 378; Foss's Judges of England (1848), i. 98; Stubbs's Select Charters (1870), 94–5.]

J. H. R.