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The Scottish Nation

CORBET (from Corbeau, a raven), the surname of a family, whose ancestor, Roger Corbet, came over from Normandy, with William the Conqueror, and obtained extensive grants of lands in Shropshire and on the marches of Wales. In England this family held many high offices in the state, and not less than nineteen of them are in the rolls, of those who served at Agincourt, the sacking of Cadiz, the wars against the Welsh, Scots, French, &c. Between 1192 and 1625, seventy-one were made knights, and one a banneret, and since that time two of the Corbets of Shropshire have been created baronets.

      A branch of the family seem early to have settled in Scotland, and to have obtained possession of the lands of Mackerstoun in Roxburghshire. Walter Corbet, “dominus de Mackerstoun in Teviotia,” is witness with others to a charter of Malcolm the Fourth preserved in Anderson’s Diplomata. This Walter was the son of Robert Corbet, who is witness in the inquisition made by David prince of Cumberland of the lands belonging to the church of Glasgow, and also in other deeds of that prince, when king of Scots. In the Chartulary of Melrose, Walter de Corbet is mentioned as a donor of the church of Mackerstoun to the abbacy of Kelso. Avicia de Corbet of this family was the wife of Richard Morville, high constable of Scotland, who died in 1191. In the charters of Alexander the Second, Nicolas Corbet is frequently mentioned as a witness. Among those who swore fealty to Edward the First in 1296, occur the names of Roger Corbet and Adam Corbet, the former of Mackerstoun and the latter supposed to be of Hardgray in Annandale. The barony of Mackerstoun was afterwards possessed by the Frasers of Drummelzier, and in the reign of David the Second, was inherited by an heiress, Margaret Fraser, who married Dougall Macdougall; and is now in possession of General Sir Thomas Macdougall-Brisbane, baronet, who received it on his marriage, in 1819, with the eldest daughter and heiress of Sir Henry Hay Macdougall, baronet, the descendant of the above Dougall Macdougall.

      The Corbets of Hardgray in Dumfries-shire, resided latterly in Clydesdale. A charter by Thomas de Corbet, dominus de Hardgray, Joanni de Corbet, filio suo, of the lands of Limekilns in Annandale in 1405, was confirmed by the earl of Douglas. The Corbets of Hardgray became extinct in the male line in the early part of the eighteenth century. Mr. Hugh Corbet of Hardgray, the last proprietor, left two daughters, coheiresses of his estate, the elder married, first, to John Douglas of Mains, and secondly, to Sir Mungo Stirling of Glorat; and the younger of James Douglas of Mains.

      A John Corbet, who is styled minister of Benhill, (Bonhill?) published at Dublin in 1639, a quarto work, entitled ‘The Ungirding of the Scottish Armour; in answer to the information for Defensive Arms against the King’s Majesty, which were drawn up by the Covenanters at Edinburgh.’ He also published at London, in 1646, ‘A vindication of the Magistrates and Ministers of the city of Gloucester,’ 4to. Another John Corbet, also a Scotsman, beheaded in the Irish rebellion in 1641, was the author of ‘The Epistle Congratulatorie of Lysimachus Nicanor to the Covenanters in Scotland.’

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