Old Basing

In 1086 Basing was one of Hugh de Port's fifty-five lordships in Hampshire. It remained in the same family, and in the late twelfth century Adam de Port married Mabel St. John and their descendants took the name St. John. In 1347 Edmund St. John died and his heirs were his two sisters. In 1361 Isabel became sole heir. Her son Sir Thomas de Poynings succeeded to the manor in 1393. On his death in 1493 the barony of St. John fell into abeyance and his heirs were Constance, his granddaughter and wife of John Paulet; Alice, his sister and John Bonville, his nephew. A partition of the inheritance was made and Basing went to Constance and John Paulet. The Paulets continued to hold Basing, and in 1551 the barony of St. John was revived and John Paulet was created Marquess of Winchester. Another St. John is famous for his defence of Basing House. It eventually fell to Cromwell on 15th October 1645 and was destroyed. Although sequestered during the Commonwealth the lands were returned at the Restoration to the Paulets.

Basing continued to be owned by the Paulets, now Dukes of Bolton, until the death of Harry, the sixth Duke, in 1794 when it was inherited by his elder brother's illegitimate daughter. She married Thomas Orde, who took the name of Powlett in addition to Orde and was created Lord Bolton in 1797.

Basing is perhaps best known for Basing House, a fortified Tudor residence within the earthworks of an earlier Norman ring work and bailey castle, which was besieged by Oliver Cromwell during the Civil War. In November 1643 the house was attacked by Sir William Waller, the famous Roundhead General, but the Royalist garrison repulsed the Parliamentarians who withdrew to Farnham. Basing House was later besieged for 24 weeks in 1644, and amongst the residents was the eminent engraver Wenceslaus Hollar, who drew a sketch of the building and its fortifications. The long siege was finally relieved just as matters were getting desperate: Colonel Sir Henry Gage made a surprise march from Oxford and scattered the Roundhead troops. The family motto of the Marquisses of Winchester is Aymez Loyaute (Love Loyalty) which was manifested admirably at that period. Basing House was finally taken by storm in October 1645 and demolished soon afterwards.

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