" Kynge Rychard looked into a mountayne hye and saw the banner of the lord Stanley and
sayde Fetch the lord Strange to me, or els he shall dye thes day. They brought the lord Strange
unto hys syghte and he sayde For the death make the redy. Then answered that noble knyght
and sayde I crye GOD and the world mercy Jhesu I take witness that I was nevar traytor to my
Kynge. Upon a gentleman then called he, Lathom was hys name. And ever ye come into my
contrie grete well my gentlemen and yomen ; they had a master, now have they none I Then
he drew a rynge of hys finger and sayde Give thes to my Ladye, if the field be lost on our partye,
take my sonne that is myne heir, and fly into a far contrye Then came a knyght to Kynge Richard
and sayde It is high tyme to loke about, loke how yowr vaward begynnethe to fyght. When
ye have the Father and some o the yeman, loke yow what death they shall dye, ye may head all
at yowr own will. Then to Kynge Rychard ther cam a knyght and sayde I hold it tyme for ye
to flye, yondar Stanley hys dyghts he so sore agaynst them may no man stand. Her is thy hors
for to ryde. anothar daye ye may worshipe, to ym he sayde, Bring me my Battayle axe in my
hand and set the Crowne of gold on my hed so hye, for by hym that shope bothe se and sand Kynge
of England thes daye will I dye. one foote away I will not fle while brethe wyll byde my brest
within, as he sayde so dyed he. he lost hys lyffe.
" They hewyd the Crowne of gold from hys hed with dowtfuU dents. ..."
When the pursuit was over. Bray delivered the battered crown to Lord Stanley, who placed it
on Henry's head, hailing him King. Henry was wise and his throne was soon assured him ;
but History does not describe him to us as generous or rewarding those who risked so much to
place him there, with a great alacrity. I think the Petition sent him by Sir Richard Corbet has
a savour of this.
" The Petition of Sir Richard Corbet to King H. 7."
" In most humble wise sheweth unto your most noble highness . . . your true and faithful
subject and liegeman, Ric. Corbett knight for your bodie, to consider the true faithfull service
that he hath doun and hereafter entendeth for to doe to the uttermost of his power . . .
" First. Pleaseth your Grace to call to your remembrance the first service, that after the
death of the Lord Herbert after the Field of Banbury, hee was one of them that brought your
grace out of danger of your enemyes, and conveyed your grace unto your towne of Hereford, and
there delivered you in safety to your greate Uncle now Duke of Bedford : — and then at your
comynge into England, hee was one of the first came unto your Grace at the towne of Shrewesbury,
and there was sworn your liegeman, and went from thence unto the Field of Boseworth, and there
jeoparded with your Grace his life, lands, and goods, and the gentlemen and others his friends
that came with him in company, takinge your parte and rightwise quarrell to the number of 800
men ; and at every field and jorney since hee hath byne reddy to do your Grace service to his
great costs and charges, and hee, ne non of his that were with him at your first fielde, or at any
other insurrections or tumolts were never noe cravers for noe rewardes nor offices as yet.
The which GOD knoweth best, and your Highness."
Sir Richard's example was followed by Humphrey Cotes of Woodcote, who lost his life at
Bosworth. Sir Gilbert Talbot also joined the Earl with " two thousand tall men," vassals or
RICHARD CORBET, KNT., OF MORETON CORBET 257
dependants of the Earl of Shrewsbury ; and many another. What answer the King returned to
Sir Richard's petition I do not know, but it could scarcely have been an unfavourable one. The
King showed his appreciation of the services rendered him by Shrewsbury, and visited the town
often. In 1488 he stayed several days, and the following year brought with him his Queen and
his son Prince Arthur, and kept the Feast of St. George, April 23rd, in the Collegiate Church of
In 1491 Sir Richard was retained with George Earl of Kent to serve one whole year in the wars
of France : and I think his death took place a year or two later.
Before going further let me quote a Deed among the Rolls of Parliament of the first year of
Henry VII, as it mentions two Corbets. One of these must be Sir Richard's younger brother
Robert, mentioned in the Pedigree as unmarried. The other will be Thomas Corbet of Lye or
Leigh, the Constable of Caus.
" To the Kyng owre Sovereign Lord, prayen the Commons in the present Parliament assembled. Rot. Pari.
That where the most noble and blessed Prynce of most holy memory, Kyng Henry Sixt, your Uncle Vol. VI.
. . . and other noble Progenitiurs have kept Worshipfull, noble, and Honourable Estate of theire P' ^^ '
Household in this Land, of the Revenues thereof, as hath doont any Kyng or Prynce in England
Christenned . . . That it would please your Highness, by the advyse and assent of the Lords
Spirituell and Temporall in this present Parliament assembled ... to take seize, have, retayne
and resume into your hands and possession, from the XXI day of August last past, all such Castelles,
lordshippes. Honours, Manors, Landes etc. ... in England, Wales, etc. . . . as . . . Kyng
Henry the Sixt, your Uncle, had of Estate of Inheritance, or any other to his use had, the second
day of October the XXXiiii yere of his Reigne . . . Provided alway, that this said Acte of p. 3533
Resumption, ne any other Acte made or to be made in the present Parliament, be not in any wise Memb. n
hurtfull, prejudiciall, ne touchyng to Robert Corbet Squier, ne to the avoyding of any Letters
Patent or Graunts to hym made by oure Soveraigne Lord of the Offices of Constable and Porter
of the Castells of Radnor and Wigemore, the Office of Stewardshipp and Manour of Comot Towder,
of the Lordshipp and Manour of Preston, and Prestons Lands, and of the Lordship and Manour
of Kynghton, and of the Office of the Forster of the Forest of Cornedon and Radnor, of the Office
of the Parker of the Parke of Wigemore, in the Marches of Wales, ne of any of theym ; but that
the same Graunte and Letters Patents, be of like force and effecte in the Lawe, as they shulde or
myghte have been, if the said Acte of Resumption had never been made ne had. . . .
" Provided alway that this Acte of Resumption or any other Acte or Actes made or to be made p. 354b.
in this present Parliament, extend not nor in any wise be hurtfull ne prejudiciall to a Graunte
made, and yeven by oure Letters Patents unto oure well beloved Subget Thomas Corbet Esquier,
of the Office of Constable of the Castell of Cawse, in our Countie of Salop ; but that the same
Graunte be good and effectuall unto the said Thomas according to the effect of the said Letter
Patent ; this Acte or any other Acte made or to be made, notwithstanding."
The King came again to Shrewsbury with his Queen and his children some few years later ;
and this time he took up his residence in the precincts of the Abbey.
Sir Richard must either have died in France or very shortly after his return, and I should judge
about 1493. There was a Writ announcing his death dated 7 Feb. Hen. VII, and the Inq. P.M.
followed on the 28th Oct. 10 Hen. VII. He is said to have died 6th Dec. 8 Hen. VII, and was
siezed of the undermentioned Manors in Fee. Robert Corbet is mentioned as his son and heir,
and aged sixteen years and more. Manor of Condover, worth £2() 14s., held of the King by
knight service ; Manor of Moreton-Corbet, worth £s 13s. 4d., held of Roger Whetelane by knight
service ; Manor of Preston Brockhurst, worth £10, held of Roger Whetelane, service unknown ;
Manor of Peynton, worth £8 13s. 4d., held of Nicholas Segrave by knight service ; twenty mes-
suages, 200 acres land, 40 acres pastures, 50 acres meadow, and 10 acres wood in Lawley, Bowley,
Eggebald, "The Heth Howse," Harecote Parke, Harecote Myll, and Bromfield, with the Park
of Shawbury, worth £30, held of the said Roger Whetelane, service unknown.
Sir Richard's wife, Elizabeth Ferrars, outlived him for many years and remarried. Her second
husband was Sir Thomas Leighton of Stretton-le-dale. She died in 1541, and was buried in the
beautiful Church of Burford, in Shropshire. Her tomb is on the floor in the north-east corner of
the chancel. It bears her effigy in metal, and the inscription, which is rather elaborate, records
that she was the daughter of Sir Walter Deverok of Weobley, lord Ferrars of Chartley— that she
married first Sir Richard Corbet of Morton-Corbet, and secondly Sir Thomas Leighton. One of
her daughters, Anna or Juliana, lies buried in the same Church. She was the wife of Sir Thomas
Cornwall, and was mother of the Sir Richard Cornwall who is the central figure on the beautiful
THE FAMILY OF CORBET
f . 163b.
Elizabethan triptych in that Church : the triptych forms one of the remarkable and interesting
Cornwall monuments found in Burford Church. The central figure commemorates Anna's son,
Sir Richard Cornwall, who died in 1568. On his right is his wife and on his left his son Edmund,
who died in 1585 and who was known as the strong Baron. On the eastern wing of the lower
panel is the record of Anna : " Dame Anne Cornwall lies here, the daughter of Sir Richard Corbet
and the wife of Sir Thomas Cornwall." She died in 1548. On the other wing is a small figure
of her husband. Sir Thomas. He died in 1537, and was buried, it appears, at Acton, near London.
The Pedigree gives Sir Richard and Elizabeth Ferrars two more daughters than those I have
previously mentioned. Let me give their names here, and refer also to my surmise that the first
sub-branch of the Main Line was formed in this generation. The names of the two younger
daughters are Katherine and Margaret ; the former married Thos. Onneslow, of Rodington ; the
latter. Sir Richard Clyve of Walford, Co. Salop.
The founder of the sub-branch of Corbets which settled in Norfolk must be Sir Richard Corbet's
younger brother " Robert " ; he is given in the Pedigree as dying unmarried, but this does not
seem to be an insuperable difficulty, for Pedigrees are not always infallible in the matter of younger
sons. Sir Richard's mother outlived him ; we have the record of her death, and that also of her
third husband. Sir William Stanley.
The following extract is taken from General Plantagenet Harrison's Indexes. It tells us that
the " Inq. P.M. was taken at Stratford Langthorn, Co. Essex, 29th Oct. 14 Hen. VII on Elizabeth,
late wife of Sir William Stanley knight who was siezed of half of the Manor of Wodehouse Mortymer
and Wobrighall, by gift of Sir James Baskerville, knight, John Devereux, knight, to hold to the
said Elizabeth for life, remainder to Sir Richard Corbet, knight, dec. son of Roger Corbet knight,
also dec, and the said Elizabeth and their heirs, and in default to Robert Corbet son of said Richard.
Said Elizabeth died 22nd June last, and Robert Corbet is kinsman and heir, viz : son and heir
of Richard, son and heir of Elizabeth."
Elizabeth's third husband, Sir William Stanley, died in 1495. His stepson. Sir Richard Corbet,
died a couple of years previously in 1493 ; Elizabeth herself, as stated above, died in 1499. Our
sketch of her grandson. Sir Robert Corbet, and of his wife and family will be found in the following
chapter (Chapter XIV).
Let me close this chapter with a brief account of the Corbets of Norfolk, who, if tradition speaks
fair, founded their sub-branch of the Corbets of Moreton-Corbet in this generation. The Pedigree,
as before mentioned, notes a younger son of Sir Roger's and Elizabeth Hopton's called " Robert,"
and I assume him to be the father of the first John we find in Norfolk. Were we to reject this
origin we should be obliged to look back for more than one generation before the possibility of
an eligible younger son for this position could be found ; and surely this would carry us back to
too early a date. The Corbets in Norfolk seem to have settled themselves at Spikesworth and
Bradison, probably through marriage. John Corbet is the first noticed about the time of Henry VII,
and we are told that he married Margaret Dixon, and that he was supposed to be the son of " Corbet
of Moreton Corbet," so pointing to this Robert, the younger son of Sir Roger and Elizabeth Hopton,
and already referred to. Burke in his " Extinct Baronetage " gives this John and his marriage
with Margaret Dixon, mentioning the supposed connection with the Main Line at Morton-Corbet.
Blakeway also mentions this same John and his marriage, and styles him of Spikesworth, Norfolk,
adding that his will bears date 1340 and that it was proved in May 1542. He also adds that he
was said to be the third son of " Corbet of Moreton." The connection therefore seems clearly
claimed, but whether his father were the Robert whom we have assumed, or another son still
younger whose name is not found at all in the Pedigree, must remain an uncertainty. Blakeway
in the above reference gives this John Corbet and Margaret his wife three children, two sons and
a daughter. The daughter's name was Cicely, and she married Allen of Earlham ; the two sons
were John, who succeeded his father, and Thomas, said to have been a Priest.
The two Johns, father and son, are mentioned in an extract from the Collection of Henry VIII. 's
Papers — the date 1538, and the occasion, the " Accusation of Nycolas Came by Robert Browne
of Norwyche, jailor of the Castle there, before Sir John Shelton, knight, and Robert Holdich, 9th
Oct: 29 Hen: VIII." "The Accused was finally," says the extract, "taken before the John
Corbets, Father and Son, and by them committed to Mr Hare or some other Justice." This
establishes the fact that two Johns, father and son, were living in Norfolk in the reign of Henry VIII
and corroborates both Blakeway 's and Burke's statements. John Corbet Esqr. the son married
Jane the daughter of Ralph Berney of Gunton, Esqr. ; they left four children. Miles the son, who
succeeded his father and was knighted, and three daughters. Bridget married Bryan Darcy of
CORBETS OF NORFOLK 259
Essex, Mary married Sir Roger Wodehouse of Kimberley, and Elizabeth was the wife of James
Noon, gent, of Norfolk. Blakeway gives the date of their father John Corbet's will as Dec. 1558
and adds that it was proved in the following month of January. Sir Miles, who then succeeded,
is styled of Sprowston ; he was twice married, first to Catherine daughter of Sir Christopher Heydon
of Baconsthorpe ; and the mother of his large family. After her death he married another
Catherine, the daughter of William Sanders of Ewell, Co. Surrey, and widow of John Spilman of
Nerburgh. Sir Miles was knighted at the sacking of Cadiz by the Earl of Essex in 1596. He had
eight sons, he died in 1609 and was succeeded by his eldest son Sir Thomas, knight of Sprowston,
who married Anne daughter of Edward Barret Esqr. of Belhouse, in Essex. Sir Thomas was
Sheriff in 1622. I only know the name of one of the remaining seven sons — "Clement " — a
contemporary of Bishop Richard Corbet. The daughters ' names are not given either. Sir Thomas's
wife Anne appears to have been her mother's heir ; she was Elizabeth's daughter and co-heir of
Sir Robert Litton of Shrubland Hall, Suffolk. Sir Thomas died in 19 Charles I. He also left a
fairly large family of two sons and six daughters. His eldest son succeeded him and was the first
Baronet, a creation of 1623 ; the second son was the notorious Miles Corbet of Lincoln's Inn, who
has left so unenviable a reputation behind him as one of the Regicides of the unhappy and ill-fated
Charles L We must refer the details of his life to a later page. Sir John the first Baronet married
Anne daughter of Sir Arthur Capel knt, of Hadham, Herts. Burke gives us names of six sisters of
the first Baronet : Catherine wife of Sir J. Meead, Anne wife of . . . Foxon, Amy married Brewster of
Wrentham of Suffolk, Ellen married a Herrick, Cicely was wife to Thomas Sotherton of Taversham,
Dorothy married a Slany. Sir John left four children, two sons and two daughters. Elizabeth
married Robert Houghton of Ranworth, Anne married Francis Corey of Bramerton. Neither
of the two sons married and the Baronetcy became extinct. John the elder brother died at an
early age, and was succeeded by his brother Thomas, who was a devoted Royalist in the Civil Wars
of the century and suffered much in consequence ; he spent his patrimony in his efforts to help the
cause of his unfortunate King, and in this he was greatly aided by Sir Thomas Adams, a wealthy
Citizen of London, also devoted to the Royal cause. Sprowston was eventually sold to him and
the Adamses both died there, and Sir Thomas and Lady Adams are buried in Sprowston Church,
where also are several handsome monuments to the Corbet family of Norfolk.
Without doubt many Corbets may have been left in Norfolk when one reflects that in one genera-
tion there were eight sons, of whom I have only traced the eldest and main line. Rawlinson in
his MSS. quotes a rather detailed extract from an early Visitation of Norfolk of 1563, which I will
quote. It may throw a little more light on our Norfolk kinsmen. That given, i will close this
chapter with details of the life and end of the Regicide and of one of his great-uncles, by name
" The Visitation of Norfolk made by William Harvey Clarencieux King of Armes began the
XXVjth of July 1563 in the first yere of the raigne of our Soveraigne Lady Queen Elizabeth.
" Tavorham Hundred. Crest a Squirrel, or, Coat of arms Or, a raven sable.
" Jhon Corbet of Bradishe in Norfolk Esqre, married Margaret Di.xon, and by her had issue John
Corbet, sonne and heir, second son John Corbet, Richard Corbet third sonne, Thomas Corbet a
Priest, fourth sonne. Cecily married to Edmond Alen, of Aolame, gent.
" John Corbet of Sprowston in Norfolk Esqr: married Jane daughter of Robert Barney of Gouton
in Norfolk Esqr: , and by her hath issu Myles Corbet, sonne and heir, William second sonne, Henry
third Sonne, Mary marryed to Roger Woodhouse of Kymberley in Norfolk, Esqr:. Elizabeth marryed
to James Nowne of Lifton in Norfolk gent. Bridget marryed to Bryan Darcy of Tolson Darcy
in Esez, Esquire.
" Miles Corbet sonne and heir to John of Sprowston , married Katherin daughter of Sir Christopher
Heydon, kt, and by her hath issu Christofer Corbet, sonne and heir, Thomas Corbet, second sonne.
" Hemsted Hundred.
" John Corbet of Bradishe in Norfolk Esqr. married Margaret Dixon and by her hath issu John
Corbet Sonne and heir and John Corbet second heir, Richard, Thomas and Cicely.
" John Corbet of Framingham Erl, in Norfolk gent., second sonne to John Corbet aforesaia
married Elizabeth, daughter of John Thetford in Norfolk gent, and by her hath issu Georg sonne
and heir and Margaret."
Miles Corbet the Regicide was the second son of Sir Thomas Corbet of Sprowston, the Sheriff for
Norfolk in 1622. He seems to have been a young man of promise, became a barrister and was
entered at Lincoln's Inn ; soon after, he was appointed Recorder of Great Yarmouth. He repre-
sented Great Yarmouth in two Parliaments, that for 1628 and again in 1640. He was a hot Parlia-
VOL. II H
THE FAMILY OF CORBET
1 660- 1 ,
mentarian and later a subservient and devoted follower of Oliver Cromwell's ; thus from the first
beginnings of difficulties he showed his Parliamentary bias. He soon became a member of the
Committee for the county of Norfolk. According to " Whitelock " he was Chairman of the
Committee for managing the evidence against Archbishop Laud. Whether chosen designedly or
not by Whitelock, I think no other word could be found in our English tongue to so fittingly describe
the tenor of that evidence as the word " managing " ; it was " managed," and Miles Corbet, as
we are further told by Whitelock, was very zealous in the prosecution of the Archbishop. We
shall have occasion to refer to this in a later chapter, as one of the chief indictments preferred
against the Archbishop concerned his judgment in connection with Sir John Corbet of Adderley and
the Church of which this latter was chief patron. I hope to refer to it when writing the history of
the sub-branch of the Corbets of Adderley.
Miles Corbet meanwhile pursued his course in life in dealing harsh measures to all who differed
from him. He was appointed chairman of the committee of examinations, which gave him full
scope for his powers, and the arbitrary and inquisitorial procedures of this committee gained him,
and justly, great unpopularity. In this capacity Miles Corbet examined the papers of James Howell
and John Lilburne, also those of Clement Walker, and these gentlemen have left detailed accounts
of their controversies with him. " The committee of examinations where Mr Miles Corbet kept
his justice seat, ' ' writes Holies, " was a worth something to his clerk if not to him, what a continual
horse-fair it was, even like doomsday itself, to judge persons of all sorts and sexes ! "
He was appointed by Parliament in 1644 to be clerk of the Court of wards and a few years later
was made one of the registrars of the Court of Chancery, in the place of Colonel Long, one of the
impeached members. In the following December Miles Corbet acted as one of the King's judges,
he also signed the death warrant. Some years after this tragedy we find him appointed by
Parliament one of the four commissioners for settling the affairs of Ireland, and again chief Baron
of the Exchequer in Ireland. In this capacity we learn that " he manifested such integrity in his
different employments in Ireland that he improved his own estate for the public service whilst he
was the greatest husband of the treasure of the Commonwealth. Notwithstanding these self-
sacrifices we find that in 1659, in December, Dublin was surprised by a party of officers, and Miles
Corbet was arrested as he was coming from Church by Major Warren, and he returned to England.
The following year a charge of high treason was preferred against him by Sir Charles Coote and
others ; Ludlow, who was involved in the same charge, persuaded Miles Corbet to appear in spite
of it in the House of Commons. The House fixed a day for the two accused to answer their charges ;
but the hearing we are told was adjourned. A few days later, however. Miles was called before a
Council of State and had to enter into an engagement not to disturb the existing government. In
spite of those events Miles succeeded in getting returned member for Yarmouth in the Convention
Parliament, but there was a double return and the election was annulled. Events seemed unto-
ward and Miles thought it best to fly from England, which he accomplished safely in company
with Barkstead and Okey, fellow Regicides. They were seized, however, by Sir George Downing,
sent back to England, and the end soon came ; they were tried and executed in April 1662.
I have one or two contemporary observations concerning him, from which one would gather
that he was not a very popular person with the public of his day.
" Miles Corbet and two other Regicides, John Barkstead and John Okey, were discovered at
Delft by the King's Resident in Holland, and were hurried to England, where they were executed."
From the cutting from an old newspaper I have a not very flattering account ; it says, " We
have an odd account of his " (Miles Corbet's) " carriage in the House of Commons where he was
Inquisitor General to the Committee of Examinations, having found an expedient to purge both
Houses of such members as the Army or Independents disliked, without letting them know either
their charges or accusers, v,'hich the ' History of Independence ' terms a kind of Hangman's office,
and that he looked more like a Hangman than the Hangman himself. 'Tis true likewise he was
constantly called Corbet the Jew, much resembling that Nation in countenance and actions."
Miles Corbet's life was forfeit, but Charles II. behaved with an unexpected equanimity towards his
widow ; for I have a copy of the Proclamation restoring certain lands to the widow. It is to be
regretted that her name is not known beyond the Christian name, which was Mary. The unfor-
tunate Miles left no son, only one daughter who is said to have married one of the Arthurs of
Clapham. The King's Proclamation is as follows : —
"CHARLES R "
" Right Trusty and Wellbeloved Councillor, and Right Trusty and Wellbeloved Cousins and