CORBET, Sir Richard, 2nd Bt. (1640-83), of Leighton, Mont. and Longnor Hall, Salop.
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Family and Education
bap. 2 Sept. 1640, 1st s. of Edward Corbet (d.1649) of Leighton by Anne, da. of Sir Richard Newport†, 1st Baron Newport of High Ercall. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1658. m. lic. 5 Jan. 1664, Victoria, da. and coh. of Sir William Uvedale†, treas. of the chamber, of Wickham, Hants, 4s. (3 d.v.p.) 6da. suc. gdfa. Apr. 1653.1
J.p. Mont. 1662-d., Salop by 1670-81; dep. lt. Salop by 1670-?81, capt.-lt. of militia ft. to 1682; commr. for assessment, Salop and Mont. 1673-80, recusants, Salop 1675; freeman, Shrewsbury 1675.2
Corbet came from a cadet branch of the family which settled at Longnor in the reign of Henry VI, and acquired a Welsh estate by marriage in 1617. His grandfather, created a baronet in 1642, was described as a delinquent in 1648, but his estate was not sequestrated, and he never compounded. His father appears to have taken no active part in the Civil War.3
On Corbet’s return for Shrewsbury in a contested by-election in 1677, Shaftesbury first classed him ‘worthy’ later altering it to ‘vile’. But his name figures on no government lists of the court party. A moderately active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to 16 committees. On 29 Apr. 1678 he was added to the committee of inquiry into the growth of Popery, and he was among those appointed to consider the bill to hinder Papists from sitting in Parliament (12 June). In the final session he was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges, and to that to draw up instructions for disbanding the army. He was reelected to the Exclusion Parliaments, and again marked ‘vile’ on Shaftesbury’s list, though he was not included in the ‘unanimous club’. A very active Member in 1679, he was appointed to 20 committees, including those to inspect the disbandment accounts, to consider the extension of habeas corpus, to draw up a bill to continue the prohibition of imported cattle and fish, to regulate parliamentary elections, and to prevent illegal exactions. On 5 May he moved to declare Danby’s pardon ‘illegal and void in law’, a proposition which Silius Titus found ridiculous and contradictory, and acted as teller against allowing all Members to vote on the committee stage of the bill against cattle imports. According to the list in the State Papers he voted against the committal of the first exclusion bill, but it is more likely that he abstained, as Roger Morrice thought.4
Corbet probably became an exclusionist under the influence of William Forester, with whom he travelled from Coventry to Westminster for the second Exclusion Parliament, although the informants admitted that Corbet, unlike his companions, ‘had no arms visible’. Again a very active Member, he was named to 11 committees, deputizing for George Treby to deliver reports on the Eye, Reigate, and Bury St. Edmunds elections. He was among those ordered to draft addresses for the preservation of the Protestant religion at home and abroad and for the removal of Jeffreys. He was also appointed to the committees to receive information about the Popish Plot, and to consider the bills to abolish the court of the marches and to unite Protestants. As chairman of the committee of inquiry into the proceedings of the judges, he presented a long report on 23 Dec. and ten days later introduced articles of impeachment against Scroggs. In the Oxford Parliament he was named only to the elections committee.5
Corbet, together with Forester, accompanied the Duke of Monmouth on his northern progress in 1682. At the time of the Rye House Plot he was seriously ill, and Lord Russell (Hon. William Russell), on the morning of his execution asked Dean Tillotson for news of his friend’s health. He died on 1 Aug. 1683 and was buried at St. Margaret’s, Westminster. His grandson, the fourth baronet, represented Shrewsbury as a Whig under the first two Georges.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. A. E. Corbet, Corbet Fam. ii. 208; Trans. Salop. Arch. Soc. (ser. 4), xii. 217-18.
- 2. CSP Dom. 1682, p. 81; Shrewsbury Burgess Roll ed. Forrest, 65.
- 3. Corbet, ii. 196, Mont. Colls. xiii. 349; Cal. Comm. Adv. Money, 725.
- 4. Grey, vii. 184.
- 5. CSP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, p. 175; CJ, ix. 688, 697.
- 6. CSP Dom. 1682, p. 428; Mont. Colls. xiii. 345.