CORBET, Roger (d.1430), of Shrewsbury and 'Culseys', Salop

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

Family and Education

b. aft. 1383, yr. s. of Sir Roger Corbet*, and bro. of Robert*. m. by 1426, Elizabeth, o. surv. da. of Sir William Lichfield† of Eastham, Worcs. by Elizabeth, da. and h. of Sir John Cornwall* of Kinlet, Salop, 1da.2

Offices Held

Bailiff, Shrewsbury Sept. 1416-18, 1429-30; coroner Sept. 1418-19.3

Commr. of inquiry, Salop Oct. 1418 (Fitzwaryn estates); to survey waterways Nov. 1424, Dec. 1427.

Escheator, Salop and the march 4 Nov. 1418-23 Nov. 1419.

Constable of Holt castle, Denb. by July 1422-aft. Jan. 1423.

Biography

In July 1407 Roger, along with his elder brother Robert and most likely acting on behalf of Thomas Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, was party to the grant of ‘Ireland Hall’ in Shrewsbury to the local Benedictine abbey. They were probably both already ‘esquiers de count d’Arundell’, as they were to be later described. Unlike his brother, Roger was also briefly connected with John Talbot, Lord Furnival, for he acted in October 1410 as a feoffee of the manor and lordship of Worksop (Nottinghamshire) which was to be settled on Talbot’s wife. The connexion may well have come about through Talbot’s mother, Lady Ankaret, who was the earl’s cousin; and there can be no doubt that it was Corbet’s ties with Arundel which were to play the more important part in his career, especially when, a few years later, the earl and Talbot were at odds. He attended the shire elections held at Shrewsbury castle in 1410 and 1413 (May), at both of which fellow Fitzalan retainers were elected (John Burley I and David Holbache in 1410, and his own brother and Richard Lacon in 1413); and he was to be closely associated with his brother, Lacon, Burley’s son John, John Wele* and John Wynnesbury* in the allegations of lawless behaviour in Shropshire made at the Parliament at Leicester in April 1414, and in the many indictments brought before the King’s bench sitting at Shrewsbury that summer. Among the indictments levelled against Corbet himself were the charges that he had given liveries against the statutes and that two years before he had brought an armed force to Egmond, driven away livestock belonging to the rector and stripped his house of all his goods and chattels. More serious were the allegations made by the collectors of the parliamentary subsidies appointed in the previous year, who claimed that Corbet’s servants had assaulted them at Eaton, and that when they were on their way to London to render account at the Exchequer one of them, who had obtained a writ against Corbet, was confronted by him in an inn at Dunstable, crying out ‘who made thee so hardy to putte any bille to the Kyng to undo me with all?’ and at the same time cutting him about the legs and inflicting ‘horrible wounds’. When he and the others were brought for trial before the King’s bench at Westminster during the Michaelmas term of 1414, their lord, the earl of Arundel, stood bail for them all. They subsequently presented royal pardons to the court, and although further petitions were brought against them in the Parliament of 1415 there is nothing to suggest that they ever suffered any penalty.4

In company with his brother, Corbet joined Arundel’s retinue for the royal expedition to France in the summer of 1415. There is no indication that he returned home with the earl after the siege of Harfleur, and it would appear that he went on with Henry V’s depleted army to meet the French at Agincourt. That same month, October, he was named in the will of John Burley, who had also taken part in the expedition, as one of his executors. After the death of his patron, Arundel, Corbet turned his attention to the affairs of Shrewsbury, where his father had once held a number of properties and where members of this branch of the family appear to have been automatically recognized as burgesses by right of descent. Corbet was unusual in holding office as bailiff of Shrewsbury for two years running, during this term, in December 1416, being responsible for ordinances to ensure the fair collection of the ‘taske’ of the town. After relinquishing office he was elected as borough coroner, and at the same time obtained royal appointments as escheator of the shire, discharging both posts, therefore, at the time of his first return to Parliament in 1419. He had previously been present at the shire elections of 1417 and now attended when his brother was returned as Member for Shropshire to the same Parliament. The borough paid him his expenses (which, as they amounted to only £2 16s.8d., compared with the £4 paid to his fellow MP, David Rathbone, suggest either that Corbet failed to remain at Westminster for the whole duration of the session or else that he had agreed to serve for less), and provided him with wine on his return. In September 1419 Roger Thornes* conveyed to him all his property in Shrewsbury, Eaton Mascott, Berrington and ‘Monkforegate’, Shropshire, thereby increasing his landed holdings, and after his brother’s death in the following year he assumed the responsibilities of the eldest male representative of the Corbets of Moreton Corbet during the minority of his nephews. In 1420 Corbet found mainprise for the Exchequer lessees (who included John Harper*) of the estates of Sir Thomas Harcourt. Before the end of Henry V’s reign he was appointed constable of Holt castle, being required as such in July 1422 to take custody of 15 French prisoners from the Tower of London. He escorted them back to the Tower in January following.5

Save for a lawsuit in 1425, in which Humphrey, earl of Stafford, alleged that he had abducted a minor whose marriage belonged to him, Corbet’s last years were spent as a respectable member of the Shropshire community. He was party to the shire elections of 1423, 1426 and 1427 and was himself returned as a shire knight in 1429. His local standing owed something to his marriage to the daughter of Sir William Lichfield, a former sheriff and landowner in Shropshire and Worcestershire. On 14 Nov., during the Parliament, Corbet was associated with his father-in-law while standing surety at the Exchequer for Hugh Burgh*. He did not live to take possession of any of Lichfield’s estates, however, for he predeceased him, dying on 15 July 1430. The wardship of his daughter Margaret, then aged only three, was granted by the earl of Warwick to John Wood I*, a Worcestershire lawyer. Margaret inherited her grandfather Lichfield’s estates in 1446, having in the meantime married Humphrey Stafford of Frome.