BASELEY, William (by 1521-73/74), of Lambeth and Southwark, Surr. and Garsdon, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1521. m. (1) by 1554, Catherine (d. 30 Nov. 1556), wid. of Richard Mody of Garsdon and of William Stumpe (d. 22 July 1552) of Malmesbury, Wilts.; (2) by 1573, Anne ?Johnson; 1s. 2da.1

Offices Held

King’s bailiff, Southwark by 1544-6; commr. relief, 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553.2


On 1 Mar. 1542 William Baseley was granted a 21-year lease of the royal manor of Paris Garden, Southwark. This was a pleasure ground, destined to become notorious, which had supplied a refuge for debtors and others in the days when it was held of Bermondsey abbey by the Knights of St. John, and which more recently had formed part of the jointure of Jane Seymour. Baseley was the King’s bailiff of the Great Liberty manor, Southwark, and clerk of the market there until replaced by Sir John Gates in 1546, a year in which he leased further lands in Lambeth and Southwark. In 1547 he was licensed to organize in Paris Garden bowls, dice and other recreations which had lately been forbidden by Act of Parliament. The previous tenant Robert Urmeston (perhaps the under-clerk of the Parliaments of that name) had paid £52 a year, after he had built bowling alleys there, but when in 1562 the property was leased to Edmund Wiseman (perhaps the Elizabethan Member for Plympton Erie) it was stated that Baseley had enjoyed a reduction of rent for some years past. He may have been the William Baseley whose house in the parish of Christ Church, Newgate Street, was burgled on 30 Apr. 1557, when £120 was removed by ‘servants’ of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, perhaps soldiers from the expedition commanded by the earl in France.3

The identification of the tenant of Paris Garden with the Wiltshire Member depends upon the presence at Southwark of Sir Richard Long, keeper of Paris Garden from 1536 until his death ten years later. Long’s brother Sir Henry, who sat for Wiltshire in the Parliament of October 1553, was evidently responsible for Baseley’s return at Calne, a borough much under the influence of the family, and in 1555 the sheriff of the county was Robert Hungerford, Sir Henry Long’s son-in-law. Baseley was presumably a Wiltshireman who owed his Southwark preferment to Sir Richard Long. Several persons of his surname appear on the subsidy rolls for the county and he had married the widow of the clothier William Stumpe by 1554 when he presented to the rectory of Garsdon in her right. Garsdon lay in the hundred of Malmesbury, adjacent to that of Calne, and although Catherine died in 1556 her husband, whose crest was seen by Aubrey on one of the windows of the mansion, was still living there nine years later. This alliance, besides enhancing Baseley’s standing in the county, to the point of making him eligible for the knighthood of the shire in 1555, serves to identify him, rather than Reginald Beseley of York, with the ‘Mr. Baseley’ who then opposed a government bill in company with Sir James Stumpe, William Stumpe’s heir.4

Baseley, described as of Lambeth and still possessing a copyhold in Paris Garden, made his will on 15 July 1573 when ‘weak in body’. He asked to be buried in Lambeth church and appointed his wife Anne and son William executors (William and the two daughters being under age) and his ‘cousin’ Basil Johnson and ‘son’ William Johnson overseers. Baseley’s second wife was thus probably a Johnson, and Basil Johnson perhaps the recusant lawyer who had sat for Liskeard in 1571. Baseley’s will was proved on 29 Mar. 1574.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. F.T. Baker


  • 1. Date birth estimated from first reference. Wilts. N. and Q. viii. 481; PCC 12 Martyn.
  • 2. D. J. Johnson, Southwark and the City, 102n, 107; CPR, 1553, pp. 362, 417.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xvii, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, p. 249; 1557-8, p. 203; 1560-3, p. 463; Bull. IHR, xvi. 145, 148; VCH Surr. iv. 150; Johnson, 99, 100, 395; APC, vi. 127, 129, 151; vii. 195.
  • 4. Johnson, 98; Two Taxation Lists (Wilts. Arch. Soc. recs. br. x), 7, 44, 110, 158; Wilts. N. and Q. viii. 395, 481; Aubrey, Wilts. Topog. Colls. ed. Jackson, 243; Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2.
  • 5. PCC 12 Martyn.