Postmaster Charles Bassett was a prominent figure in the commercial and public life of pridd during the mid-nineteenth century. He was a founder member of the Pontypridd Market Company, established in 1877. He came to Pontypridd about 1840, and rapidly established a large business as a chemist, one of the first of its kind in the town. He later became manager of the Provincial Banking Corporation and gave evidence in 1844 to the Royal Commission investigating the causes of the Rebecca Riots.
He also assisted in founding the first permanent Wesleyan place of worship in Pontypridd at Chapel Street. In 1843 he was, appointed postmaster at a time when the weekly volume of letters was no more than 400. It was due to this role as postmaster that Bassett became responsible for the adoption in 1856 of Pontypridd as the name for the growing town. It was, said he had grown tired of having to deal with mail intended for the many other ‘Newbridge’s’ in Britain and Ireland. One of the main roads in neighbouring Llantrisant is still, called Newbridge Road. He died in 1887 at his home at Brynffynnon on Merthyr Road.
Notice of his death
About half-past ten tonight, Mr. Charles Bassett, J.P., Brynffynon, Pontypridd, passed away like one falling to sleep. He had suffered much since last Tuesday week, when his illness commenced. He was 69 years of age, and since his early manhood had been a prominent resident of the town, and one can say that he lent dignity to his public life He was one of the sons of the late Rev. R. Bassett, vicar of Colwinstone, near Cowbridge.
During many years he was the only chemist in the town. In that capacity, he came into, contact with most of the inhabitants of the adjacent localities. He was postmaster in the town for upwards of 30 years, and in all the relations of life he won the highest esteem of those who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. Many years ago, he resigned his postmastership and his other business, and became bank manager.
At the time of his decease, he was joint manager with Mr. A. C. Cobb of the Pontypridd branch of the London and Provincial Bank. His first wife was one of the daughters of Mr. Price, Llantwit Major, by whom he had two daughters. One of them was the first wife of Mr. Nixon Gray, Mountain Ash, the other daughter survives. He married the second time one of the daughters of the late Mr. Edwards, Abergorki, Ystradyfodwg, who survives him.
The following further particulars as to his public career may be, mentioned. He was for some time treasurer of the East Glamorgan Liberal Three Hundred. As a banker, he occupied the position of treasurer to a great many local institutions and public boards. He was for some years a member of the Pontypridd Local Board, and for some time chairman of that body.
He occupied a leading position with the Wesleyan body in South Wales, and occasionally entertained at his house the leading members of that denomination in the United Kingdom. It is hardly necessary to state that the deepest sympathy is, felt for Mrs. and Miss Bassett, and, also for Mr. Key, his nephew, who during many years was the deceased’s right hand.
The mortal remains of Mr. C. Bassett, J.P., Pontypridd, were, interred at Glyntaff Cemetery on Thursday afternoon. The funeral was, announced as a private one, but at intimation had been, given that any friends who desired to attend might do so. Consequently, there was a large and representative gathering, and around Brynffynon about two o’clock.
The funeral was, headed by a large detachment of police, under the command of Superintendent Matthews and Inspectors Thomas and Jones. Then came the magistrates: The Rev. D. W. Williams, M.A., Fairfield; Mr. Danial Owen, Ash Hall; Mr. L. G. Lenox, Ynysangharad, Mr. Ignatius Williams, Croescade; Mr. E. John, Llantrisant; and Mr. E. Thomas, Penarth. The public followed, and amongst those present were: The Revs. D. G. Davies, vicar of St. Catherine’s; J. Jenkins, vicar of Llantwit Vardre; S. R. Jones, vicar of Glyntaff; and P. Davies, curate; the Revs. W. J. Morris, J. Pugh, W. Parry, D. L. Evans, W. Rees, – Owens, and the ministers who officiated; Mr. Lewis Williams, J.P., Cardiff; Mr. F. L. Davies, Ferndale; Mr. Josiah Lewis, vice-chairman, and Mr. W. John, clerk of the Llantrisant School Board; Mr. James Richards, chairman of the Llantrisant Vadre School Board; Mr. H. Ll. Grover, clerk to the Pontypridd Local Board; Mr. E. C. Spickett, clerk to the Board of Guardians.
Mr. D. Rosser, clerk to the Ystrad School Board; Mr. M. Cule, Eglwysilan School Board; Dr. Edwards, Cardiff; Mr. D. T. Alexander and Mr. George Alexander, Cardiff; Mr. W. Merchant, National Bank of Wales, Pontypridd; Mr. A. C. Cobb, London and Provincial Bank, Pontypridd; and a large, number, of the leading inhabitants of the district.
The hearse and mourning coaches came next. The coffin, which was of polished oak, was, covered with magnificent wreaths. Among the mourners were Messrs. Wm. Bassett, Charles Bassett, John Bassett, Robert Price, William Prices, Colonel Gray, Messrs. Charles P. Davies, Pearson Price, Edwin Price; D. E. Williams, J P., Hirwain; W. Morgan, Tynewydd; W. H. Key, T. Y. Williams, barrister; and W. H. Morgan, solicitor, Pontypridd.
The Rev. S. R. Jones, vicar of Glyntaff, met the procession at the cemetery gate. and read the first part of the service. The Rev. G. B. Butters, Pentre (Wesleyan), read the other portion. It should be, said that the coffin was, carried from the house to the hearse by members of the family, and from the hearse of the Wesleyan Church, Pontypridd, who, assisted by other friends, carried it from the chapel to the grave.
The interment took place in the consecrated ground, in a grave adjoining that of the late Mr. J. Edwards Price, the exact place having been, chosen by Mr. Price and Mr. Bassett eight years ago. At the grave the Rev. J. Slack read the Burial Service, the Rev T. R. Thomas gave out the hymn, and the Rev. R. F. Cape (Cardiff), in the course; of a brief address, paid tribute of respect to the departed as a husband and father, a member of the Wesleyan Church, a public man, and as a magistrate who faithfully tried to administer justice, but always justice tempered with mercy.
The departed, he said, was a large-hearted Christian. The Rev. D. Young (Ferndale) offered up prayer, and the service was, brought, to a close. The body was, then lowered into the grave, by members of the police force.
Wreaths from the following were, interred with the coffin: Mrs. and Miss Bassett, Pontypridd; Mrs. Davies, Brynhaulog, Bridgend; Mrs. Roberts, Southport; Mrs. Price Davies, Caer-Cwrt, Bridgend; Mr. Walter Morgan, Brynhyfryd, Pontypridd; and the children of Mr. and Mrs. Key Pontypridd.
Upon the coffin were places wreaths from the following friends Mrs. Coe, Cardiff Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Powell, Swansea Mrs. Lewis Dm vis, Ferndale; Mrs. Edwards, Fedw hir, Aberdare; the clerks of the London and Provincial Bank, Pontypridd; the officers of the Wesleyan Church, Pontypridd; Judge and Mrs. Gwilym Williams, Mr. and Mrs. Grover, Mr. and Mrs. Merchant; Mr. and Mrs. Bradley. Wotton-under-Edge; the Rev. J and Mr. Powell, Pantysgallog, Breconshire; Mrs. Lloyd and family, Cardiff; Mrs. Smith, Ty-Rhondda; Mrs. W. Williams, Danygraig; Mr. Spickett, Maesycoed; Mrs. Leckie, Underwood House; Mrs. Morgan Williams, London and Provincial Bank, Cardiff; Miss Jones, Porth-y-Glo; Mrs. Elia Thomas, Chiswick; Mr. and Mrs. John Evans, Pontypridd, and the Rhondda Wesleyan Circuit.
The funeral arrangements were, entrusted to Messrs. John Evans and Co., drapers, Pontypridd. The coffin was, made, by Mr. Julian.
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