CORBET, Sir Richard (1524-60 or later), of Assington and Lawshall, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. Sept. 1524, o.s. of Sir Richard Corbet (d. June 1524) of Assington by Joan. educ. ?L. Inn, adm. 2 Nov. 1545. m. settlement 10 Mar. 1552, Mary, da. of Sir William Drury of Hawstead, 2s. suc. fa. at birth. Kntd. 1 Dec. 1548.1

Offices Held


In February 1529 Corbet’s wardship was granted to his mother, Humphrey Wingfield and William Barnes (perhaps William Barnes I), the executors of his father’s will; Wingfield had also been the elder Corbet’s guardian. Three Shropshire manors forming part of the inheritance were, however, entrusted to George Cotton.2

The Wingfield connexion may have secured Corbet the favour he enjoyed in the reign of Edward VI. Knighted in 1548, he was granted the lease of the subsidy and alnage of cloth in East Anglia for 34 years in September 1551 and sent on the 9th Lord Clinton’s embassy to Paris later in the same year. In 1552 he received an Essex wardship. His election for Lynn, a borough with which he is not known to have been otherwise connected, may reflect the influence of the Duke of Northumberland or of the sheriff Sir Thomas Cornwallis. Like Cornwallis, Corbet may have studied at Lincoln’s Inn; the two had been knighted on the same day and at the time of his election Corbet was about to marry Cornwallis’s kinswoman Mary Drury. He supported Northumberland during the succession crisis and on 26 July 1553 he was imprisoned in the Tower. He was still there in September, when his wife was allowed to visit him, but in the following month, perhaps at the suit of his father-in-law who had rallied to Mary and been appointed to her Council, he received a pardon.3

Early in Edward VI’s reign Corbet had speculated in church lands and in 1552 he had been granted the right to purchase crown lands worth £50 a year, but he also contracted heavy debts and was forced to sell much if not all of his land. He took out a pardon in January 1559 but at about the same time he was sued in Chancery by Robert Gurdon (father of John Gurdon) for fraud over the sale of property in Suffolk, including Assington itself. After he lost the case in November 1560 no further trace has been found of him and he may have died soon afterwards. His widow married John Tyrrell of Gipping, Suffolk.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Date of death estimated from age at fa.'s i.p.m., C142/41/31, 33.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, ii-v.
  • 3. CPR, 1550-3, p. 231; 1553, p. 372; 1553-4, p. 436; APC, iii. 403; iv. 344; Machyn’s Diary (Cam. Soc. xlii), 38.
  • 4. CPR, 1547-8, pp. 272, 277, 278; 1554-5, p. 8; 1558-60, p. 239; APC, iv. 180; C3/70/14; 78/17/43.