CORBET, Reginald (by 1513-66), of Fitz and Adderley, Salop; Stoke-upon-Tern, Staffs.
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Family and Education
b. by 1513, 3rd s. of Sir Robert Corbet (d.1513) of Moreton Corbet, Salop by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Henry Vernon of Haddon, Derbys., bro. of Richard and Roger. educ. M. Temple, called. m. 23 Aug. 1546, Alice, da. of John Gratewood of Wollerton, Salop, 6s. 5da.1
Lent reader, M. Temple 1552, auditor 1556, assistant to reader 1559.
Feodary, Salop in 1543; recorder, Shrewsbury 1547-27 Dec. 1559; commr. chantries Salop 1547, relief 1550, subsidy 1563; j.p. Salop 1547, q. Glos. 1554-58/59, Herefs., Salop 1554-d., Worcs. 1554, Cheshire, Mon., Welsh counties 1558/59-d.; member, council in the marches of Wales 1553; justice of Anglesey, Caern. and Merion. 6 Apr. 1558-d.; serjeant-at-law Apr. 1559; j.K.B. Oct. 1559-d.2
After being returned for Wenlock while still at his inn of court, Corbet missed the Parliament of 1545. In 1547 he was returned for Shrewsbury, which had made him its recorder at the outset of the new reign. Of his part in the proceedings of the House all that is known is that in March 1552, towards the close of the last session, he was given leave of absence to carry out his Lent reading at his inn, this having been postponed from the previous autumn.3
Corbet was to sit in two further Parliaments for Shrewsbury, and the resulting pattern of his Membership presents some points of interest. Before proceeding to the election for Mary’s first Parliament of October 1553 the borough resolved that Corbet was to be one of those returned ‘at this time and at all times hereafter so long as he is recorder ... if he will take it upon him, for that it is supposed to be incident to his ... office of recordership’. This pronouncement was clearly prompted by the fact that Corbet had not been elected to the second Edwardian Parliament but why this had been so it is not easy to say. Perhaps he was superseded at the behest of the Duke of Northumberland, who on this occasion interfered extensively in elections elsewhere, or he may himself have been disinclined to sit in this particular Parliament. Corbet was perhaps the originator of the pronouncement, for none of his predecessors in the office is known to have sat in the Commons for Shrewsbury, and he was consulted simultaneously on several points about elections, including whether a man abroad could be returned and whether canvassing was permissible. Corbet never enjoyed as handsome a fee from Shrewsbury as his predecessor, and the town’s parsimony towards him may have entered into the matter. In 1553 he did not join the opposition to the restoration of Catholicism, but two years later he voted with his nephew Sir Andrew Corbet against an important government bill. In 1558 he advised the Shrewsbury authorities again about canvassing.4
Though Queen Mary approved Corbet’s call as a serjeant, her death postponed his receipt of the coif for several months. Elizabeth made him a judge, whereupon he resigned the recordership of Shrewsbury. His summings-up were commended by his colleagues and his conformity to the new church settlement was approved by the bishop of Lichfield. He died on 19 Nov. 1566, leaving property in Cheshire as well as in Shropshire and Staffordshire. The heir, his eldest surviving son Richard, was a child of two when he succeeded. Corbet’s will, made on 26 Aug. 1566, was proved in the following January. One of the principal beneficiaries was his nephew Sir Andrew Corbet, who was among the overseers appointed to help the sole executrix and residuary legatee, ‘my singular good wife Alice’. Corbet was buried, as he had directed in his will, in Stoke-upon-Tern church, where a fine alabaster monument was erected to him.