Basset, Peter

, esq. a gentleman of a good family, and a writer in the fifteenth century, was chamberlain, or gentleman of the privy chamber, to king Henry V. on whom he was a constant attendant and an eye-witness of most of his glorious actions both at home and abroad; all which he particularly described. Beginning at his tenderest years, he gave a full and exact account of Henry’s several expeditions into France; his glorious victories, large conquests, and illustrious triumphs in that kingdom; his advantageous and honourable peace with Charles VI. his marriage with the princess Catherine, his coronation at Paris: and, finally, his death, and the coronation of king Henry VI. his son and successor. These several remarkable events Peter Basset comprized in one volume, which he entitled “The Actes of king Henry V.” This book was never printed; and was said to be extant in manuscript in the college of heralds, and perhaps in some other | places but upon the closest examination it appears that he is originally quoted only by Edward Hall, in his Chronicle, and perhaps by Bale. What has been quoted out of his writings, either by Mr. Thomas Goodwin in his “History of the reign of Henry the Fifth,” or by other historians within that period, is visibly borrowed from Hall. Dr. Nicolson mentions Basset only upon the authority of Pits, who Had taken his account from Bale.

In one particular he differs from the rest of king Henry the Fifth’s historians: for whereas Monstrelet says that that prince died of a St. Anthony’s fire; others, of a fever and dysentery; or of the disease of St. Fiacre, which is a flux accompanied with the haemorrhoids; Basset, who was with him at the time of his decease, affirms that he died of a pleurisy. Basset flourished about the year 1430, under the reign of Henry VI. 1


Biog. Brit.