CORBET, John I (by 1500-55 or later), of Leigh, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. by 1500, s. of Thomas Corbet of Leigh by Jane, da. of Sir Roger Kynaston of Myddle and Hordley. m. (1) Margaret, da. of Sir Thomas Blount of Kinlet, 1s.; (2) Joyce or Joan, da. of John Pakington, 2s.; (3) Agnes, da. of William Booth of Dunham, Cheshire, 2s. 3da.2
J.p. Salop 1521-54 or later; ?forester, Hogstow and bailiff, Haberley, Salop by 1521; steward, Cause, Salop by 1523, constable, Cause castle by 1528; ?gent. usher, household of Princess Mary in 1525. sheriff, Salop Jan.-Nov. 1526, 1536-7; commr. relief, Salop and Shrewsbury 1550, goods of churches and fraternities, Shrewsbury 1553; other commissions 1535-47.3
Of a junior branch of the most powerful family of Shropshire, John Corbet usually appears on commissions as of Leigh, but in other contexts he is not easily distinguished from namesakes, especially from two of his uncles. It was probably one of these who in 1500 shared a lease of the demesne of the 3rd Duke of Buckingham’s lordship of Cause near Leigh, was duke’s deputy-steward and receiver there and served as a subsidy commissioner for Shropshire in 1512; but it was the nephew who was named a receiver of the late duke’s lands in 1523 and about the same time was made steward of Cause by the duke’s son Henry, later 1st Baron Stafford. A Star Chamber case—one of several instances of lawlessness involving persons of the name—shows Corbet allegedly abusing both his office of steward and his position on the bench. When Stafford appointed Corbet constable of Cause castle it was for service rendered to Stafford and to Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, a connexion which suggests that he was also the gentleman usher to Princess Mary whom the countess accompanied to the marches.4
In 1533 Stafford and Corbet disputed in Chancery the possession of land at Hope, Shropshire, and although judgment was given for Stafford he was ordered to grant Corbet a ten-year lease of the property. Cromwell apparently intervened on Corbet’s behalf and Bishop Lee, president of the council in the marches, was later to recommend him to the minister’s favour. One of Corbet’s relatives by marriage, Henry Blount, was in Cromwell’s service and his brother-in-law John Pakington was a member of the council in the marches. Cromwell and Lee may have helped to secure Corbet’s return as junior knight for Shropshire in 1539. The disputed election of 1536 makes it unlikely that he had sat in that Parliament and had been the ‘Mr. Corbet’ whose name appears on the dorse of the Act concerning beggars and vagabonds; in any case, Corbet is not known to have had the legal training which this namesake had presumably undergone, the two John Corbets admitted to Lincoln’s Inn in 1524 and 1530 being probably the two brothers from Norfolk of whom John Corbet II sat for Norwich. Corbet may have been re-elected in 1542 when the names of both knights for Shropshire are unknown. He remained active in shire administration, serving on the bench in both the succeeding reigns. The last reference found to him is in the will made in September 1555 by his brother-in-law Humphrey Pakington.5