The earliest records relating to the Bashforth name and its variants in Yorkshire derive from the second half of the sixteenth century. The earliest of these is the marriage of Henry Basforth to Jenett Archard on 11 July 1552 at Rothwell, near Leeds. Two children were baptised in Thorne, near the peat moors south of Doncaster: Cecily Basford on 11 July 1574 and Isabel Basford on 3 November 1577. Elizabeth Basforth married in Kirkheaton, three miles north-east of Huddersfield on 27 June 1598. The last of these is the earliest, bar one, of records in south-west Yorkshire, where the Bashforth name evolved.
The Sheffield parish register records the baptism of Roger Basforde, the son of Francis, on 11 January 1596, but no further records pertaining to the family until 1642. The name is more commonly found in records further to the north.
A will dated 30 December 1597, was made by Ralph Basford, husbandman of Langside (Langsett), near Penistone, and proved at York on 23 February 1598. He divided his goods and chattels among his four children, Henry, Thomas, Anne and Ellen, with precedence given to Thomas. Ellyn Basforth married John Crosland in Penistone on 18 June 1609.
In Ecclesfield, two records pre-date 1600. An un-named infant of John Basworthe was buried on 30 August 1570 and a Nicholas Basforthe was buried on 26 March 1584. They were closely followed on 25 November 1602 with the death of Richard Basforthe, described as ‘senex’, an old man. Richard (named as Basford) also left a will dated 22 November 1602 and proved at York on 17 January 1603. Richard was a weaver and lived in the township of Whitley, a few miles to the north-west of Ecclesfield itself. He left what remained after payment of debts, part to his wife Margaret and part to his three sons, William, Ralph and John. Each of these sons married in Ecclesfield in the following years. Amongst their male children there is a continuation of the forenames Richard, Ralph, Nicholas, John, William and Robert.
Thus, at the end of the sixteenth century, we have Francis, head of family in Sheffield, Ralph, head of a family in Langsett, and evidence of three adult males, John, Nicholas and Richard, possibly heads of families, in Ecclesfield. Of these, only Richard and his three sons in Ecclesfield seem to carry on the family line into the seventeenth century.