9/16/2010 at 1:01 PM
The Corbets or Corbetts are an ancient family that can be traced back to Normandy. It is believed that the Corbets are of Danish origin and that the raven was their symbol. The Corbett name is probably an outcome of the old Norman "Le Corbeau" that , over time, changed to "Le Corbet". It could be derived from two possible sources. The Danish were known to display the "Reafan" or the raven as a sacred standard in battle. It is written by the historians, Pliny and Tacitus, that there was a warrior family who took their family name and emblem from "The Raven". They related that their direct ancestor was "Valerius". It is said that during a battle, Valerius had a Raven land on his helmet at a critical moment during a battle in Gaul and lead him to victory. The Latin for crow or raven is Corvus. The first documentation of this family is in A.D. 1040, Le Carpentier mentions one Hugo le Corbet or le Corbeau as "Chivalier". Until the Norman Invasion in 1066 they were thought to be an important family in the "Pay de Caux region of Normandy.
This family history begins with Hugo 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. And from Roger descended the families now existing in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.
The first Corbet to appear in Scotland is about 1116. Robert Corbet (son of Roger, Baron of Caus) retinue of Earl David (who later became King David I) came from Shorpshire and settled in Teviotdale where he obtained the manor of Fogou which he held under as a vassal under the Earls of Dunbar. They were brought or invited to Scotland by Malcolm Canmore and his son David I (Kings of Scotland) for the same reason they were on the Welsh border, to help control and civilize the local population. As time passed they became assimilated with the life of there adopted country and became true Scots.
In 1603 King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England. In 1607 he declared that the land (3,000,000 acres of Ulster land) held by the defeated Irish rebel leaders who had fled to the continent, was reverted to the Crown. He then invited his Scottish subjects to colonize this land. Thus the Corbets were on the move again to Ireland. By 1717, plagued by high rents, four years of drought, English import/export policies, and the religious factor thrown in many Scots look for a better life in America. Five thousand Ulstermen leave for America this year to start the flow. By 1776 Approximatley 200-250,000 have immigrated, one of them was probably John Corbet.