Show ContentsCorbatt History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

From the historical and enchanting region of Normandy emerged a multitude of noble families, including the distinguished Corbatt family. Nickname surnames were derived from an eke-name, or added name. They usually reflected the physical characteristics or attributes of the first person that used the name. The name Corbatt is a nickname type of surname for a person with dark hair. Tracing the origin of the name further, we found the name Corbatt was originally derived from the Old French word "corbeau," which means "raven." [1]

Early Origins of the Corbatt family

The surname Corbatt was first found in Shropshire, where they claim descendancy from Roger, son of Corbet as listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. Roger le Corbet (or Fitz Corbet) was granted several manors by William the Conqueror as the Barony of Caus for his role in the Conquest. [2]

They were so named after their Normandy estate in the Pays de Caux, France. "Corbeau, a noble Norman, came over with the Conqueror, and, with his sons, Robert and Roger, was employed by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury and Arundel. Of the earl and his servants, Ordericus Vitalis says, "That the earl was a prudent and moderate man, a great lover of equity and of discreet and modest persons, and being freely assisted by the wisdom and courage of the said Corbeau, and his two sons, Roger and Robert, was as glorious amongst the greatest nobles as any of them all, by keeping the Welsh in awe, and that whole province in peace." [3]

By the 12th century, the family had split into two branches: the elder branch was at Wattlesborough, the younger at Caus Castle. [2]

Today, Wattlesborough Tower is a ruined fortified 13th century manor house and Caus Castle is a hill fort and medieval castle. Another branch of the family was found at Tortington in Sussex at early times. "A priory of Augustine canons, in honour of St. Mary Magdalene, was founded here by the Lady Avicia Corbet, before the reign of John. [(1166-1216)]" [4]

"Shropshire has been for centuries the principal home of the Corbetts. Corbet was a common name there in the 13th century, and, in fact, in the Hundred Rolls of that date this county includes almost all of the name. The ancient and powerful Shropshire family of Corbett dated back to the time of Edward I. Since the reign of Henry V., the Corbetts or Corbets have at various times filled the office of bailiff or mayor of Shrewsbury, one of the mayors of last century being Sir Richard Corbett, baronet." [5]

"This is one of the few families still existing who trace, in the male line, an undoubted descent from an ancient race of the same name in Normandy, of whom was Hugh Corbet (or Corbeau), living 1040." [3]

Astall in Oxfordshire was once home to a branch of the family. "The church [of Astall] contains some interesting monuments, among which is a recumbent effigy on a stone coffin, under an enriched arched canopy, said to be the tomb of Alice Corbett, mistress of Henry I., and mother of Reginald, Earl of Cornwall." [4]

Early History of the Corbatt family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Corbatt research. Another 212 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1124, 1241, 1296, 1580, 1637, 1624, 1625, 1600, 1582, 1635, 1594, 1662, 1646, 1648, 1595, 1662, 1617, 1657, 1640, 1640, 1683, 1677, 1683, 1658, 1675, 1748, 1705, 1711 and are included under the topic Early Corbatt History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Corbatt Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Corbett, Corbet, Corbetts, Corbit, Corbitt, Corbitts and many more.

Early Notables of the Corbatt family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Robert Corbett of Selkirk Abbey; Sir Andrew Corbet (1580-1637), an English politician, Member of Parliament for Shropshire (1624-1625), matriculated at Queen's College, Oxford (1600); Richard Corbet (1582-1635) poet and prelate; Sir John Corbet, 1st Baronet of Stoke upon Tern (1594-1662), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1646 and 1648; Miles Corbet (1595-1662), an English politician, recorder of Yarmouth, convicted for Regicide of King...
Another 77 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Corbatt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Corbatt family to Ireland

Some of the Corbatt family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

New Zealand Corbatt migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Corbatt Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Lucy Corbatt, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Empress" in 1865
  • Sarah Jane Corbatt, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Empress" in 1865

The Corbatt Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Deus pascit corvos
Motto Translation: God feeds the ravens.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  3. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print. on Facebook