|St. Bartholomew's||The nave with entrance to the Bassett Chapel on the left|
|The Bassett Monument||Detail of the screen before the chancel arch|
|Arms above Bassett Monument||The Font|
St. Bartholomew's at Blore is an interesting church with a beautiful atmosphere on a warm summer day, the yellow walls of the nave giving it a warm glow. The nave is believed to have some Norman work but the tower and chancel are 14th century. The north aisle and font are 15th century but the north chapel and porch are 16th century. The stalls, panelling, communion rail, pulpit and benches are Jacobean and the Bassett Monument in the north chapel dates from about 1630.
The Bassett Monument
Given that Blore is a relatively small church it is surprising to find that it contains a huge and elaborate alabaster monument, marking the passage of local gentry who were ancestors of Dukes and royalty. The following information is condensed from a typed notice in the church which is based on the research of Mr. David Swinscoe of Hereford.
Few aristocrat or gentry families can prove descent from the companions of William of Normandy but Osmond, Thurstan and Raoul Bassett are named on the Battle Abbey Roll. In the 13th century a Ralph Bassett became Lord of Sapcote near Leicester and he was the ancestor of the Bassetts of Blore. The male line ended with William Bassett. He was a member of Parliament and served as Sheriff of Staffordshire and of Derbyshire. In 1598, at the age of 48, he married Judith Boothby a widow. His only child, Elizabeth, was born in 1599. William Bassett died in 1601 and was buried at Blore on 10 December. Judith was now a widow for the second time. As an heiress, Elizabeth became a ward of court. The Master of the Wards was Lord Burghley's son, Sir Robert Cecil, later 1st Earl of Salisbury. He gave the wardship to his brother-in-law, Lord Cobham, who sold it to Sir Walter Raleigh. Judith could keep Elizabeth with her for a payment of £40 a year until she was ten years old and then £66 a year until she was 16. However, by 1603 Raleigh was in the Tower of London and Judith had married Sir Richard Corbett an eminent lawyer. Elizabeth ceased to be a ward of court.
Sir Richard Corbett died in 1606 but Judith widowed for a third time, did not remarry. She kept herself busy by managing the Bassett estates. This included leasing part to her brother-in-law, Sir John Fitzherbert of Norbury, a village on the Derbyshire side of the Dove. Judith was buried in the family vault at Blore in August of 1640. The monument was designed by Jasper Hollemans and erected about 1630. The effigies are of William Bassett and his wife Judith (died 1640), and their first son-in-law, Henry Howard. He was the third son of the Earl of Suffolk and grandson of the 4th Duke of Norfolk. The caskets at their feet indicate Henry and Elizabeth Howard's son James, who died in infancy, and a stillborn child. At Henry's head is Elizabeth his wife and at Judith's head is represented her grand-daughter, Elizabeth Howard.
Elizabeth Bassett married first Henry Howard, but he died in 1616. In 1618 she married Sir William Cavendish, nephew of the 1st Earl of Devonshire and grandson of Bess of Hardwick. Sir William and Elizabeth lived at Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire and Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire. Sir William was enobled as Viscount Mansfield in 1620 and Earl of Newcastle in 1628. During the Civil War he was commander in chief of the Royalist forces in the north. His wife died on 17 April 1643, only three years after her mother. After the Civil War, Charles II created William the Duke of Newcastle. From this branch of the Cavendish family came the Dukes of Newcastle and Portland. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, was descended from the Bassetts of Bloor, through her mother, Nina Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck.
The Buildings of England, Staffordshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner, Penguin,
1974, ISBN 0 14 071046 9
Staffordshire Churches, by Mike Salter, Folly Publications, 1996.