Bassett is a pretty little village, arranged above a steep-sided
valley that is the source of the Letcombe Brook. In the
springtime roadside verges in the village are pretty with
snowdrops and daffodils. Although not on the high downs,
when approaching Letcombe Bassett from Childrey about three miles to the north, it is apparent that this
is a proper downland village. It is a quiet village as
traffic has no reason to pass through unless it has a
purpose to come to the village.
from Letcombe Regis,
a mile and a half to the north-east, the road follows the
route of the Letcombe Brook, but at a higher level. As
the road enters the village it drops to cross the brook
at the watercress beds where the old ford is still clearly
visible. A bench has thoughtfully been provided here to
enable visitors to relax and admire the peaceful scene.
Watercress was once a thriving industry as local springs
provide the pure water it needs for successful cultivation.
Bassett Cress was sold as far away as Covent Garden.
origins of the village name probably meant that it was
a valley of a man called Leoda. However an alternative
theory is that "Ledecumbe", comes from the "lede in the
combe" - "the brook in the valley", whilst a perhaps more
imaginative theory is that onlookers of a nearby battle
between Alfred and the Danes shouted "Let it come, Let
it come!" as the blood poured down the hillside and into
the river. In 1158 "Bassett" was added to the
name from the name of Richard Basset, who then owned the
manor, to identify it from the nearby possessions of the
the south edge of the village opposite the racing stables
is the attractive little parish church of St Michael and
All Angels which has a 12th century chancel and nave.
The tower dates from the 13th century and the most recent
parts of the church date from the 19th century when it
half a mile to the south east of the village is Letcombe
Castle, a Ridgeway hill fort which is also known as Segsbury
Letcombe Basset is about two miles south-west of Wantage.