Show ContentsCorbetts History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

From the historical and enchanting region of Normandy emerged a multitude of noble families, including the distinguished Corbetts 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 Corbetts is a nickname type of surname for a person with dark hair. Tracing the origin of the name further, we found the name Corbetts was originally derived from the Old French word "corbeau," which means "raven." [1]

Early Origins of the Corbetts family

The surname Corbetts 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 Corbetts family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Corbetts research. Another 212 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1124, 1241, 1296, 1580, 1582, 1594, 1595, 1600, 1617, 1624, 1625, 1635, 1637, 1640, 1646, 1648, 1657, 1658, 1662, 1675, 1677, 1683, 1705, 1711, 1748 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Corbetts History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Corbetts Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Corbett, Corbet, Corbetts, Corbit, Corbitt, Corbitts and many more.

Early Notables of the Corbetts family

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 Corbetts Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Corbetts family to Ireland

Some of the Corbetts 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.

Migration of the Corbetts family

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Corbetts or a variant listed above: Alexander Corbet who sailed on the Lucy to Canada and settled in PEI in 1790; Ann Corbet who with her husband Allan MacDonald, settled in Antigonish, N.S. in 1829.

The Corbetts 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