of Fines for Cornwall A.D. 1262
of Fines were a final judgement regarding land after
legal action had been taken.
They were frequently
collusive and provided a record of title, often after
Many family history researchers are unaware of
the existence of these documents.
The words in
brackets have been added by the translator as an aid to
Numbers have been assigned to names which
occur for more than one person.
'At Lancaveton (Launceston),
3 weeks from the day of St Michael, in the 46th ye King
Henry (20 Oct 1262). Before Robert de Briwes, Richard de
Middelton and William de Staunton, justices itinerate,
and other liegemen of our lord the King then there
present. Between Thomas Corbet & Isabella his wife;
claimants, and Walter Derewyn & Orguyllosa his wife,
deforciants; as to « ploughland in CADEBYRE (Cadson Bury
in St Ive). Walter & Orguyllosa acknowledged the land
to be the right of Isabella & gave up the same to her
at the Court & remitted & quit-claimed for
themselves & the heirs of Orguyllosa to Thomas &
Isabella & the heirs of Isabella for ever. For this
Thomas & Isabella gave to Walter & Orguyllosa 1
score sparrow hawk.'
On 28 April 1241
William de Englefeld was a claimant and Alan Basset the
opponent regarding land at Shiplake in Oxford. Alan
acknowledged the moiety to be the right of William. 'To
have and to hold to William & his heirs of Alan &
his heirs for ever. Tendering therefor yearly 1 pair of
white gloves or 1d at Easter at Ippeden. (Ipsden in
Oxfordshire.) William in return gave land in Tehidy in
Illogan, Cornwall which he had by inheritance from Alan
those lands held in dower by Alan de Dunstanville's
widow, Isabella, his second wife. [The note with these F
of F state that these de Dunstanville's were not
connected with Reginald de Dunstanville, Earl of
Cornwall, the son of Henry I and Sibyl Corbet. Nor were
they connected to the mother (a de Dunstanville) of this
Alan Basset. This repetition of names frequently causes
Dunstanville was the daughter of Reginald de Valletort (who
married secondly Thomas Corbet, according to Meisel,
(Further study of
the notes with the Feet of Fines for Cornwall finds
Lysons saying that 'A Peter Corbet married Isabel,
daughter of Roger de Valletort! To say that such matters
cause confusion is understating the problem.)
As a result of
this marriage Thomas received three manors, one in
Cornwall and two in Devon. Meisel makes it clear that she
believes this to be Thomas, 6th Baron of Caus, (who died
1274) the son of Robert Corbet and Emma Pantulf, born
before 1177 and not Thomas of Morton Corbet.
The Manor and
Castle of Trematon (Trematon in St Stephens-by-Saltash)
was the cause of a court case on 16 February 1270.
Richard Plantagenet, (created Earl of Cornwall 1226) the
son of King John was the claimant and Roger de Valle
Torta the opponent regarding this land and 60½ knights
fees in Devon and Cornwall and the Manor of Calstock. The
land was said to 'be the right of the said king as those
which he had by Roger's gift.'
endorsement of this feet of fine it says: And Henry de la
Pomerai and Peter Corbet (1) put in their claim. This was
saying that they did not agree with this decision and
were lodging notice of their rights to the land. The
argument was to continue for many years.
appear in the Fine Rolls Vol. 1 1272-1307 order, in 1274,
the executors of Thomas's will were ordered to deliver to
Peter Corbet (1), son and heir of Thomas Corbet,
deceased, the lands which had belonged to his father.
Peter (2) was born in 1298, the son of Peter (1), who
died in 1300, and his first wife, Joan Mortimer.
Edward II became
king in 1307 and was not a popular one. He was idle and
incompetent and favoured syncophants such as Piers
Gaveston who was created Earl of Cornwall and was
eventually executed in 1312. The king then turned to the
Despencers and attempted a conquest of Scotland in 1314
which ended in the English defeat of Bannockburn by
A page note in the
Feet of Fines confirms that Peter Corbet (2) was the
grandson of Isabella Corbet (formerly Valletort). This
Peter (2) in 1315, was to petition Parliament for the
recovery of the Trematon estate, alleging that when Roger
de Valletort made a deed of gift in favour of Richard,
Earl of Cornwall, he was non compos mentis.
Both Peter (2) and
his half brother John fought for the Edward II at
Boroughbridge against the Barons. Once more showing their
loyalty to the Crown. Despite their continuing attempt to
regain the Valletort lands in Devon and Cornwall which
the Crown had claimed they were still summoned to levy
men from these lands for military service!
Peter (2) died a
very short time after the Battle of Boroughbridge and was
succeeded by his younger half brother John.
loyalty to the Crown since William I invaded in 1066 the
Corbets of Caus were gradually losing their power. Part
of their land had been lost as described but other lands
may have been lost by other means.
It seems possible,
and some deeds confirm this, that Peter's (1) and (2)
assigned various lands to different members of their
family. John received Leighton in Wales (Leigh) from his
father and Roger received Caus from his uncle. Although
an inquisition found that John had inherited the Caus
The Calendar of
Fine Rolls Vol. III 1319-1327 shows that on 22 January
1322-3 orders were given to the sheriff of Salop and
Stafford to seize the lands, goods and chattels of Roger
Corbet of Caus (along with that of various others
including William de Stafford kt.).
Many of the Corbet
estates held by John, including Caus, passed into the
hands of two of his aunts, Alice who had married Robert,
Baron of Stafford and Emma, wife of Brian de Brampton,
knight. Perhaps they took advantage of the confusion
feeling that their brother's son by a second wife had
less call upon inheritance than they.
When Edward III
mounted the throne in 1326-7 John (with Pomeroy)
unsuccesfully revived the claim regarding the de
was his son Roger of 'Legh juxta Caus' (Leigh) and the
Sundorne Corbets are descended from this line. A E
Corbet, however, takes an entirely different tack,
despite the evidence of her own words, 'Peter the Baron
calls Roger "his beloved nephew". She tries to
persuade us that 'cousin' was really meant and says John
(who died 1347) was the last Baron of Caus and that he
died without issue. She assigns the Leigh line to be
descended from a brother of Thomas who married Isobel
Valletort, William. She shows that from this William are
also descended the Chaddesley Corbett and Hope lines.
The real cause for
the loss of the Caus estates may never be known. For over
52 years the Corbets of Caus tried to prove that the
Valletort Cornish and Devon lands were theirs. Four
generations had battled to regain through the courts
since 1270 land that had, at one time, been handed on a
plate to Piers Gaveston when he was created Earl of
Cornwall. The Barons rebellion in 1322 might have seemed
the ideal opportunity to show once more their loyalty to
the king and possibly regain these lost lands, even if
only as a reward for that loyalty.