CORBET, Sir Roger (d.1395), of Moreton Corbet, Salop.
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Family and Education
3rd s. of Sir Robert Corbet† (d.1375), of Moreton Corbet by Elizabeth, da. of Fulk, 1st Lord Strange of Blackmere. m. by 1382, Margaret (d. 14 Nov. 1395), da. of Sir Giles Erdington of Erdington, Warws.,1 2s. Robert* and Roger*, 2da. Kntd. by Mar. 1388.
J.p. Salop 2 July 1383-9, 24 Dec. 1390-d.
Commr. to make proclamation against disturbers of the peace, Salop July 1384; of array Apr. 1385, Mar. 1392; inquiry Oct. 1389 (extortion and oppression), Nov. 1389 (assaults).
Although his two elder brothers, Thomas and Sir Fulk Corbet, both died leaving issue, Roger was nevertheless to inherit a substantial part of the family estates. This came about as a result of transactions made by his parents in the 1360s and 1370s with the intention of disinheriting their rightful heir (Thomas’s daughter, Elizabeth, wife of Sir John Ipstones*) and restricting the descent of certain manors to the male line. After his mother’s death in 1381 Roger inherited the townships of Lawley in Wellington, Bletchley and Hopton Wafers as well as eight messuages and other property in Shrewsbury; and when his brother Sir Fulk died on 3 Aug. 1382 leaving a daughter as heir, he acquired the entailed estates, which included Shawbury, Moreton Corbet, Habberley, Rowton and three other manors in Shropshire (with an estimated value of over £40 a year). The remainder of the Corbet estates were to pass to Sir Fulk’s young child, Elizabeth, but there soon arose disputes over the manors of Yockleton, Shelve and Wentnor and a quarter of the forest of Caus, which were held for life by Roger’s sister Joan, wife first of Sir Robert Harley and then of John Darras*. Joan had leased these manors to Sir Fulk for term of his life, with remainder, so it was claimed, to Roger, but the King’s lawyers asserted that the property should escheat to the Crown during Elizabeth’s minority. Roger’s suit with the Crown dragged on until Easter 1385, when he apparently won his case, but the question of ownership arose again in 1390 when Elizabeth, who had by then married John Mawddwy, lord of Dinas Mawddwy, came of age. On 7 June Corbet and Darras along with their supporters (who included Sir Hugh Cheyne*, Sir Richard Ludlow*, Thomas Young I* and Malcolm de la Mare*) were summoned before the Council each on pain of 200 marks, the King having been informed that ‘strife and debate’ had arisen between them and the Mawddwys, and that they were ‘minded to make riots and unlawful assemblies of men of the march’. Two weeks later, however, they were excused appearing before the Council, so long as they bound themselves to keep the peace before the justices of assize. The manors in dispute eventually passed to the Mawddwys and their daughter, who married Hugh Burgh*.2
Corbet’s career was otherwise quite uneventful. On 26 Mar. 1378 he and his brother Sir Fulk had stood surety for James, Lord Audley, when, at the Exchequer, he was given custody of Whittington castle, Shropshire, during the minority of the Fitzwaryn heir; and on the same day Roger appeared as mainpernor for Sir Fulk’s farm of the Fitzwaryn manor of Bentham (Gloucestershire). He stood surety for Lord Audley again that November. It was only after his brother’s death, when he became the male head of the family, that he was elected to Parliament and appointed to the Shropshire bench. Some idea of his standing in local society may be found in the readiness of the abbots of Shrewsbury and Haughmond to serve as godfathers to his first-born son at about this time (1383). Corbet was knighted some five years later, possibly following military service overseas.3