In November 2002 proof of the connection between Samuel Bass (1782-1868), basket maker, of Topsham DEV and the Bass's of Lympstone was finally found. The Public Record Office had placed the PCC (Prerogative Court of Canterbury) Wills on-line.
My search found two promising-looking Wills:
1. John Bass of Lympstone Devon proved 14 December 1832 (PRO ref,: Prob 11/1807) [see transcript]
2. Sarah Bass of Lympstone Devon proved 7 April 1841 (PRO ref.: Prob 11/1943) [see transcript]
In the first Will, John Bass (1784-1832) ) leaves land known as “The Windmill” at Littleham Devon to Samuel Bass of Topsham, basket maker.
He does not state what the relationship between them is. [see location relative to Lympstone]
However, in the second Will, Sarah Bass (1777-1841, who is known from my researches to be John’s eldest step-sister and daughter of the marriage between the elder John Bass and his first wife, Rebecca Marshall) refers to “my cousin Samuel Bass” when she leaves her part of their common interest in premises in Littleham to him.
From this, I deduce that Samuel’s father, Thomas Bass (a baker) must have been a brother to the above John and Sarah’s father, John Bass.
Unfortunately, I do not have a parish register entry showing this. Nevertheless the connection to Lympstone which my grandfather told me about in about 1946 is made.
I have concluded that the baptism of Samuel Bass (my 3xgreat grandfather) took place on 28 April 1782 at Gulliford Meeting House, on the outskirts of Lympstone, together with that of his sister, Sarah Bass.
My maternal grandfather's ancestry can now be traced back to my 8x great grandparents, William Bass and Agnes Adams, who married, 22 December 1646, in Lympstone Devon.
Their descendants include several generations of shipwrights who built wooden ships in Lympstone, West Teignmouth and Topsham.
There is an interesting reference at http://www.heritage.nf.ca/avalon/history to an early John Bass, master of the 45 ton ship John, with a crew of 7/8 men out of Topsham, being in the port of Ferryland, Newfoundland. In 1677, he appears to have taken on a cargo of wine from Fayal in the Azores and was bound for Bilbao in Spain.
In 1681 he was bound for the Mediterranean and had 800 quintals (of wine? A quintal = 100Kg or about 220 pounds). It appears to be rather a circuitous route, so perhaps he carried passengers to Ferryland.
At this period, fishermen would take a passage to Newfoundland and, during the summer, catch cod in small boats using lines. These would be dried and salted and sold to "sack ships" to be sold in Spain. These "sack ships" would also take provisions and passengers to the fishery.
It is possible that the John was involved with this trade. One statistic is that 34 vessels sailed to the fishery from Topsham in 1699.
It is feasible that this John Bass is an ancestor of mine.
It's probably not the same ship, but a converted frigate, also called the John, transported convicted rebels to Barbados after the Monmouth Rebellion between 1686-1689.
Information about the William Bass of brewery fame can be read here. (No connection known).
See also More Bass Research
Sources.: The Ports of The Exe Estuary 1660-1860 E.A.G. Clark 1968 University of Exeter