CORKEBY, John, of Carlisle.
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Family and Education
Corkeby first appears as one of the beneficiaries of the will of William Hothwayt, which was proved in August 1375 before the bishop of Carlisle. Although not specifically described as a lawyer, he could evidently boast a flourishing legal practice, and most of the surviving references to him concern his involvement in the property transactions or litigation of others. In November 1382, for example, he and Henry Bowet (future bishop of Bath and Wells, and later archbishop of York) acted as trustees of land in and around Botcherby in Cumberland; and, three years later, he stood surety for no less a person than John Fordham, bishop of Durham, who had been ordered by the Crown to confiscate the effects of Sir Peter Tilliol*, an influential local landowner then in trouble for breaches of the truce with Scotland. His circle evidently included the chancery clerk, Richard Ravenser, with whom, in 1386, he took sureties of 40s. from the vicar of Brampton. It is, indeed, interesting to note that most of the business in which he was involved was completed at Westminster. In March 1387 he and Thomas Bowet (who may have assumed Henry’s position as a feoffee-to-uses) secured bonds worth 50 marks there from a local clergyman; and in the following July he offered guarantees at the Exchequer for one of the farmers of customs at Newcastle-upon-Tyne.1
Somewhat surprisingly in view of the fact that he spent a good deal of time in London, Corkeby represented Carlisle only once, in the second Parliament of 1388, which met at Cambridge. Between then and February 1392 he acted as a mainpernor for at least six people under interrogation in the court of Chancery as a result of alleged offences ranging from rape to champerty. Although three of these men were evidently southerners, Corkeby retained strong connexions with Cumberland. He is invariably described as living in the county, and we know that in August 1390 he was present at the assizes in Penrith to stand bail on behalf of one of the defendants in a lawsuit brought by William Aglionby*.2