Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 03.djvu/384

This page has been validated.
Basset
Basset
378

on 30 Oct. 1797; and he ultimately became we should now term a conservative. In 1807 a private act was passed (47 Geo. III, sect. i. cap. 3) to relieve him of the disabilities which he had incurred by taking his seat in the House of Peers before taking the oaths. His princely income, derived mainly from the mines which lay almost within sight of his mansion of Tehidy, enabled him to devote considerable sums towards developing the mining interests of Cornwall and the moral and social welfare of the miner; he also improved the means of locomotion in that county, and, in 1809, laid the first rail of the tramway designed to connect Portreath on the north with Devoran on the south coast. He was also a liberal patron of the fine arts; and his edition of Carew's ‘Survey of Cornwall,’ enriched with Tonkin's notes and published in 1811, is one amongst many instances of his services to literature. The friend and patron of John Opie, R.A., he was one of the eminent Cornishmen who acted as pall-bearers at the great artist's funeral at St. Paul's in 1807 (Rogers, Opie and his Works, 1878, p. 71); and his own collection of pictures was extensive and valuable. He was seventy-seven years of age when he was seized with paralysis, at Exeter, on his way to parliament, and died at Stratheden House, Knightsbridge, on 5 Feb. 1835 (Davis, Memorials of Knightsbridge, 1859, p. 110); but he was buried at Illogan, the journey homewards of the funeral procession occupying no less than twelve days. There is a bust of him by Westmacott on his monument in Illogan church; a fine oil portrait in the Royal Institution of Cornwall at Truro; and a tall granite obelisk to his memory stands on the summit of Carn Brea hill, which overlooks the bulk of his mining estates, and commands views of the English and the Bristol channels. His first wife was Frances Susannah Coxe, of Stone Easton, Somersetshire (Gent. Mag. 1823, xciii. ii. 274); his second, whom he married 13 July 1824, and who survived him for nearly thirty years, was Miss Harriet Lemon of Carclew, Cornwall. His monumental inscription truthfully records that he was ‘an elegant scholar, the patron of merit, and a munificent contributor to charitable institutions throughout the empire,’ and that ‘he proved himself the friend of his country and of mankind’ (Gent. Mag. 1835, iii. 655, and Annual Biography for 1836, p. 35). He was succeeded in his estates by his only daughter (by his first wife) Frances, who, on her father's decease, became Baroness Basset of Stratton. She died at Tehidy on 22 Jan. 1855, in her 74th year—the last direct representative of her race (Gent. Mag. 1855, xliii. 304).

[Gent. Mag. (1865), xviii. 257; Redding's Past Celebrities (1866), i. 133; Wraxall's Historical Memoirs of his own Times (1836), iii. 133; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub.]

W. H. T.

BASSET, FULK (d. 1259), bishop of London, was the second son of Alan Basset [q. v.], baron of Wycombe, and the elder brother of Philip Basset, whom Henry III appointed justiciar in 1261. Of the details of Fulk Basset's early life little seems to be known. His father died in 1232, and some seven years later (October 1239) the son was appointed dean of York. He also appears to have been provost of Beverley, but the date of this appointment is uncertain (Poulson's Beverley, 647), though from a document preserved in Rymer he held this office as early as 1235, in which year he was sent on a mission to France. Towards the middle of 1241 Fulk's elder brother Gilbert was killed by a fall from his horse, and, his death being speedily followed by that of his only son, the Basset estates devolved upon the dean of York by right of hereditary succession. In September of the same year Roger, bishop of London, died. As the archbishopric of Canterbury and the papacy were vacant at the same time, it was long before the empty see could be fully supplied. Towards Christmas, however, the canons of St. Paul's met and elected Fulk Basset their bishop somewhat to the chagrin of Henry III, who had begged the appointment for the bishop of Hereford. It seems probable from the words of Matthew Paris in describing this election that the high rank of the new bishop had as much to do with his election as his gravity of demeanour and the correctness of his morals. As the see of Canterbury remained vacant from the time of Edmund Rich's death (November 1240) till the consecration of Boniface (1245), it became necessary to ordain the new bishop of London in his own cathedral city. Boniface VIII issued a bull to this effect, but the chapter at Canterbury refused to recognise it, asserting that it was an infringement of their liberties. Finally, however, the ceremony was performed by William de Raleigh, bishop of Winchester, in the church of Holy Trinity at London, though not without Fulk's making a solemn protestation that this innovation should not be turned into a precedent (9 Oct. 1244). Within two years from this consecration Fulk became embroiled in a controversy with Pope Innocent IV, who in 1246 made a demand on all the beneficed clergy of England of one-third or one-half of their