Edward Corbet (d. 1658)

A Member of the Westminster Assembly

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Biography of Edward Corbet:

Edward Corbet (d. 1658), divine, born at Pontesbury in Shropshire, ‘of the ancient family of the Corbets in that county,’ was educated at Shrewsbury and Merton College, Oxford, of which house he was admitted a probationer fellow in 1624. Meanwhile he had taken his B.A. degree on 4 Dec. 1622, and became proctor on 4 April 1638. At Merton he distinguished himself by his resistance to the attempted innovations of Laud, and subsequently gave evidence at the archbishop’s trial. ‘Being always puritannically affected,’ he was chosen one of the assembly of divines, and a preacher before the Long parliament. In the latter capacity he published: ‘God’s Providence: a sermon [on 1 Cor. i. 27] preached before the Hon. House of Commons, at their late solemne fast, 28 Dec. 1642,’ 4to, London, 1642 [O.S.] For this discourse he received the thanks of the house, and by an ordinance dated 17 May 1643 was instituted to the rectory of Chartham, Kent. He held this living until 1646, when he returned to Oxford as one of the seven ministers appointed by the parliament to preach the loyal scholars into obedience, which office he found little to his liking. He was also elected one of the visitors of the university, ‘yet seldom or never sat among them.’ On 20 Jan. 1647-8 he was installed public orator and canon of the second stall in Christ Church, in room of Dr. Henry Hammond, who had been ejected by the visitors, but being, as Wood observes, ‘a person of conscience and honesty,’ he resigned both places in the following August. The same year he proceeded D.D. on 12 April. At length in the beginning of 1649 he was presented, on the death of Dr. Thomas Soame, to the valuable rectory of Great Hasely, near Oxford. Corbet married Margaret, daughter of Sir Nathaniel Brent [q. v.], by whom he had three children, Edward, Martha, and Margaret. He died in London on 5 Jan. 1657-8, ‘aged fifty-five years or thereabouts,’ and was buried on the 14th in the chancel of Great Hasely near his wife, who had died in 1656. By his will he left ‘to the publique Library of the uniuersitie of Oxford Bishop Robert Abbot’s Comentaryes on the Romans in fower Volumes in manuscript,’ besides gifts of books to Shrewsbury and Merton.

[Wood’s Life prefixed to Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), p. xxx; Wood’s Athenæ Oxon. ii. 226, iii. 325, 795, iv. 285, 343; Wood’s Fasti, i. 405, 500, ii. 80, 100, 117-18, 159; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1638-9 pp. 46, 68, 1639-40 pp. 508-9, 1640-41 p. 325; History of the Troubles and Tryal of Archbp. Laud, cap. 19, p. 207; Prynne’s Canterburies Doome, p. 71; Rushworth’s Historical Collections (ed. 1659-1701), pt. iii. vol. ii. pp. 330, 338; Hasted’s Kent (fol. ed.), iii. 156; Le Neve’s Fasti (Hardy), ii. 520, iii. 493, 535; Wilkinson’s Funeral Sermon on Mrs. Margaret Corbet, 1656; Will. reg. in P.C.C. 58, Wotton.]

Bible Verse:

“I will be sanctified by those that draw near to me…” (Lev. 10:3).

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