CORBET, Richard (1649-1718), of Shawbury Park, Salop.
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Family and Education
bap. 15 Jan. 1649, 1st s. of Richard Corbet of Shawbury Park and Moreton Corbet, Salop by Grace, da. of William Noel of Kirkby Mallory, Leics. m. settlement 2 Apr. 1692 (with £3,500), Judith (d. 1700), da. of Sir John Bridgeman, 2nd Bt., of Castle Bromwich, Warws., and sis. of Orlando Bridgeman I*, 4s. 1da. suc. fa. 1691.1
Freeman, Much Wenlock 1680.2
Corbet’s father had inherited in 1688 the principal family estate of the Shropshire Corbets, at Moreton Corbet, on the death without issue of his great-nephew Sir Vincent Corbet, 3rd Bt. The Member himself first appears in 1694 when, through the influence of the Earl of Bradford (Francis Newport†), the leading Whig in the county, and of Bradford’s son, Lord Newport (Hon. Richard Newport I*), he was able to avoid being pricked as sheriff for the ensuing year. He was included in the lieutenancy in March 1701, and at the general election in December was ‘prevailed on by Lord Newport . . . and his friends’ to stand for knight of the shire on the Whig interest. He and Sir Humphrey Briggs, 4th Bt.*, were opposed by two Tories, one of whom, Robert Lloyd I*, was Corbet’s wife’s brother-in-law. John Bridgeman of Blodwell, Shropshire, who was brother-in-law to both Corbet and Lloyd, was placed in an awkward position by the opposition of the two men to one another: before the election Bridgeman noted that ‘both my brothers to my great satisfaction seemed fair so in their proposals to each other but the other candidates not agreeing I believe will occasion a poll’. In the event Corbet and Lloyd were both returned, Corbet heading the poll. He was re-elected in 1702, after having again stood in opposition to Lloyd. He made no speech in Parliament, as far as is known. On 18 Jan. 1703 he was granted leave of absence in order to recover his health. Considered in 1704 a likely opponent of the Tack, he figured on Harley’s lobbying list, and voted against the Tack or was absent on 28 Nov. His brother-in-law Bridgeman, himself a Whig, wrote to him on 19 Dec.: ‘I am one of those who rejoice that your opposers lost their point of forcing the sovereign to what they would think a hardship in their own case.’3
Corbet did not stand for re-election in 1705, possibly on grounds of ill-health, his place as Whig candidate for the shire being taken by his kinsman Sir Robert Corbet, 4th Bt.*, and in 1708, racked by gout, he again cried off, declining invitations to stand as knight and on the Whig interest at Shrewsbury, and giving over his own interest in the county to Sir Robert Corbet and Hon. Henry Newport*, who were returned unopposed. In 1710, however, although his health was still poor, he joined Henry Newport in opposing a strong Tory challenge in the county election. The two Whigs were defeated, Corbet coming bottom of the poll. He seems to have taken no further part in politics. As one of the nominees for the shrievalty of Shropshire in 1711 he wrote in November of that year to Lord Oxford (Robert Harley*), to whom he was distantly related, begging not to be pricked
for these reasons following. My estate is much impaired and a great deal in debt and younger children to provide for, but this is not all. I grow old and very infirm, being now confined to my chamber with the gout and stone, in so much that I am fitter for the grave than a white staff.
He was excused. In March 1713 he wrote in despair to Bridgeman: ‘I have been confined to my chamber ever since you saw me, with a great deal of pain; and God knows when I will go off . . . in so much misery.’ Corbet died in April 1718, after having been bedridden a long time, and was buried at Moreton Corbet.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. ser. 1, vii. 311; Salop Par. Reg. Soc. Lichfield dioc. i. Moreton Corbet, 22.
- 2. Salop RO, Forester mss, copy of Much Wenlock corp. bk.
- 3. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. ser. 4, xii. 8; Bradford mss at Weston Park, Corbet to Orlando Bridgeman, 5 Nov. 1694, 5 Jan. 1695; John to Sir John Bridgeman, 19, 25, 29 Nov. 1701; same to Corbet, 19 Dec. 1704; CSP Dom. 1700–2, p. 249.
- 4. Bradford mss, Sir Edward Leighton, 1st Bt.*, to Corbet, 22 Jan. 1708; Sir Robert Corbet to same, 29 Jan. 1708; John Bridgeman to Sir Robert Corbet, 10 Feb. 1708; same to Richard Corbet, 10 Feb. 1708, 17 July 1710; Sir John Bridgeman to (Sir) Arthur Owen II*, 1 Nov. 1710, 25 Apr. 1718; Corbet to Sir John Bridgeman, 3 Mar. 1713; Add. 70219, Corbet to Ld. Oxford, 9 Nov. 1711; A. E. C[orbet], Fam. Corbet, ii. 358.