Sir Hugh le Corbeau

Roger fitz Corbet Baron of Caus

f a m i l y
Sir Robert Corbet

William Corbet Baron of Caus
Roger fitz Corbet Baron of Caus
  • Born: Abt 1048, Pays de Caux, Normandy, France
  • Died: Abt 1134

    pict2578.jpg [145x193] The Corbet Crest
    This family history begins with Hugo le Corbet or le Corbeau. With two of his sons, Roger and Robert, Sir Hugo joined in the battle of Hastings with William the Conqueror in 1066. Hugo helped counsel the Conqueror in regards to the Welsh border lands which were rebellious. For their service as knights to the Conqueror, Robert and Roger were given Baronies. Roger received twenty-five manors. Robert received a grant of fifteen manors in Shropshire which became the barony of Longden. These Manors were townships under the Saxon rule. Roger called both his castle and barony "Caus" after his home in Normandy. The Corbets served under the Earl Roger de Montgomery. They were in service to help control the borders of Wales.

    In this family history we are following the eldest branch - Roger. After the invasion, Roger made his home at one of his newly acquired manors, the Saxon Morton-Toret. It became the central home for his family, as well as an important Norman castle. During the Civil Wars it was burnt down by Cromwell's soldiers. After that, Acton-Reynold Hall became the new center of the family's activities.
    Corbet the Norman was dead before 1086: for his son, Roger Fitz Corbet, is the Domesday baron, and built a castle at Alfreton as the head of his honour, which he names Caux, from Pays de Caux, his former home in Normandy. "This was one of the Border castles which, for two centuries after Domesday, served its continuous purposes of aggression and defence." Eyton's Shropshire.

    It stood in a strong position, commanding the pass called the Valley of the Rea; for, as a former marcher fortress, "it was exposed to all the turmoil of a hostile frontier"; and was taken and burnt by the Welsh in the time of his successor. Robert Fitz Corbet, the younger brother, held Longden and Alcester; but his line died out in the following generation, and it is Roger who is the ancestor of the numerous families that have planted the name in the county. He constantly appears as a witness to Earl Roger's charters; and continued the faithful liegeman of his two sons, for he and Ulgar Venator were the only Shropshire chiefs that adhered to the last to Robert de Belesme. He held Bridgnorth Castle for his Earl against Henry I for three months; and it is, according to Eyton "A question" whether he forfeited his estate by his rebellion. His son, at all events, peaceably succeeded to the barony in 1121; and the line continued, without a break, for more than two hundred years after that.

    These Barons of Caus were assiduous at their arduous post as guardians of the frontier: and an ancient roll that names Robert Corbet among those present with Couer de Leon at the siege of Acre, is discredited by Eyton on the ground (among others) that "a Lord Marcher was little likely to become a crusader," having his hands so full at home. A daughter of this house, however, crossed the hostile border to become the wife of Welshman, Gwenwynwyn, Prince of Powys. She was the sister of Thomas Corbet, Sheriff of Shropshire and Staffordshire in 1248, whose wife Isabel, was sister, and in her issue co-heir, to Reginald de Valletort, a great feudal baron in the west. Their son Peter served in the campaign that closed Llewellyn's career, as well as in Edward I's Scottish wars, and was summoned to Parliament by him in 1293. He was "a mighty hunter," as his father had been before him*, and in 1281 received the King's commission to destroy all wolves, wherever they could be found, in the counties of Salop, Stafford, Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford: one more proof - if another were needed - that the alleged extirpation of wolves in Anglo-Saxon times is a fable.

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