The Corbett One Name Study


Why Thomas Corbett stood in the Pillory

Calendar of Letter Books of the City of London

Undated c 1423 (The spelling is as it appears in the book.. Paragraphs have been added to make reading easier.):

Proclaimation of the cause why Thomas Corbet stood on the pillory, viz. for having forged a deed purporting to be a conveyance by Richard Pavy, esq., and Johannes, sometimes his wife, and now the wife of John Kent, of a certain tenement for the purpose of ousting Henry Julyon, 'irnmonger', to whom the said tenement had been conveyed by the said Richard and Johanna by deed.
Tuesday 16 November 1423:

Inquisition taken at Guildhall before William Crowmere, the Mayor, and the Aldermen, when it was found that on 28 July I Henry VI (1423), John Russell, of Cestone, co. Leicester, otherwise called 'John Russell sumtyme clerk convyct', Thomas Corbet, Sir John Canesby, clerk, otherwise called 'Sir John the Morowemasse priest' of St Brides, Richard Perry, skinner, and Tidman Harper, otherwise called 'John Brockley', scrivener, conspired to forge a deed bearing a seal of arms of Richard Pavy (cunningley removed from an old deed), and purporting to be a conveyance of a certain tenement by the said Richard and Johanna his wife (afterwards wife of John Kent) to John Passemore, serjeant-at-arms, one of the surviving friends of the said John Kent, and to Thomas Kighley and John Lane of Canterbury since deceased. 

It was further found that on 6 October 2 Henry VI (1423), the said Sir John Carnesby brought the counterfeit deed to the house of Walter Vicory, tailor, where the aforesaid John Kent, Johanna his wife, and other were supping, and pretending that he had obtained it from Simon Hoke, clerk, in discharge of a debt, caused it to be publicly read by Master Gilbert Kymer, Doctor of medicine (who was unaware of the deception) and to be delivered to John 'Pasmere' for the purpose of challenging the title of William Caumbrigge, grocer, to the said tenement, which has sometime been conveyed by the said Richard Pavy and Johanna his wife to a certain Henry Julyan and his heirs, such conveyance being enrolled in the History of Monday before the Feats of Conversion of St Paul (25 January) 4 Henry IV (1402-3)

2 October 2 Henry VI (1423):
William Caumbrigge informed William Walderne, the Mayor, and Aldermen that Richard Pery, servant of John Kent, had been taken into custody and excommunicated in the Court of the Archdeacon of Westminster for conspiring with John Russell and others to oust the said William Caumbrigge from a certain tenement called 'le Culverkey' near Billingsgate, by a forged deed. The said William therefore prayed that the said Richard, before he regained his freedom, might be examined on oath as to the matter, so as to avoid further annoyance.

Thereupon the said Richard declared on oath that at various times after the Feast of St Peter ad Vincula (1 August) last past he was present when John Kent, John Russell, Thomas Corbet, and Sir John 'le Morowemasse-preste' (the priest who says Mass on the day following Easter) of St Brides (whose other name he knows not), conspired, at a tavern called 'le Petres Key' near Oldefisshestrete, and another hostel called 'Sarsynshede' in Fletestrete, and elsewhere, and caused him to forge a deed to prove that Richard Pavy and Johanna his wife (now the wife of the said John Kent) had granted the above tenement called 'le Culverkey' to [John] Pasmere, [Thomas] Kighley, and [John] Lane at Canterbury (whose proper names the deponent cannot recall to mind), at a date prior to that of their conveyance of the same tenement to Henry Julyan, which conveyance was enrolled in the Guildhall circa 4 Henry IV (1402); and that the said forged deed bore the seal of the said Richard taken from an old deed, and was endorsed as if duly enrolled in the King's Bench. Furthermore, that the said forged deed was brought to the house of [Walter] Vicory, 'taillour', near Oldefisshestrete, where the said John Kent and others were supping, by the same Sir John [Canesby], who pretended that he had obtained it from Simon Hoke, a deceased clerk, in discharge of a debt, and caused it to be publicly read by Master Gilbert Keymer, Doctor of medicine.

Afterwards, viz. on the 4th October, the said Sir John le Moroewemassepreste, otherwise called Sir John 'Cannesby', the priest celebrating in the parish church of St Bride, Fletestrete, was brought up in the custody of the Sheriff before the said Mayor and Aldermen, and being asked about the above forgery declared, on the word of a priest, that he knew nothing about it; but after the above confession of Richard Pery had been read to him confessed his guilt and pleaded for mercy. Whereupon he was ordered to set out in writing what he knew of the forgery in the same hand as he had written the forged document, and to bring it before them on the 8th October, which he did, in the following words: 'Thomas Corbet come to me John 'Candesby' prest in to Fletestrete un to my chamber abowte the Feste of Lammes and delivered me a copy of a dede concerning how that one Richard Pavy esquier and Johan his wif about the third yere of Kyng Henry the fourthe shuld a yose (have given) by a dede of fefferment alle rentes and tenementes that he had in the paresshe of Seint Marie at Hyll to Pasmere that yet liveth and Lane of Caunterbury that is dede (dead) and prayde me to write on thereafter of Raghand (Court-hand similar to that in the Ragmans Roll). 

And I forseide John beyng a ferd (afeared) but it shuld be p'judice to sum party and he swore to me a boke (on the Bible) that it was no p'judice to man lyvyng. For he said it was rolled many yeres a go and for be cause it was lost he wold have a newe in strengthyng of right and none otherwise whiche I conceyved and yaf (gave) credence to for because he swore so sore to me the whiche dede I dide write and he yaf (gave) me for my Travayll at that time that I delivered it to him xxd. And an other tyme he toke me a Noble. And after that he come ayein (again) to me in the seide parissh and brought with hym the scrowe (scroll) that I wrote defaced and made Oldlich to seme (made to look old) and sealled with a seall of armes as thaugh hit had be a verrey trewe dede and bade me write on the back thereof as it were rolled in the Kynges benche the same thrid yere. In the roll cccclvij or elles (else) cccc and xij I knowe nat the sertayne nowe And wenyng that it had bene sothe for as mochell as it were writene on the scrowe that he broughte me firste I wrote it so and he prayde me to deliver the dede to John of Kent and he shuld paye me xj li .vii s.iiij d. the whiche sire Symond Hoke did ough me so that I wolde that I hadde that dede delivered be sire Simound Hoke forseid An that forsaide Simound chargyng me to deliver it the aunere (owner) that is to say Richard Pavy wif or elles eny other of the neghe (next) kyn Whiche dede I forsaide John 'Canesby' delivered to John of Kent at a Taillours house over for a yens Petres Taverne be poules cheyne Anne alle thus he bade me seyne and so I hopyng and supposyng no wrong to no party to falle ne happen I did after the same Corbettes will and fulfilled hit the whiche me reweth and he be hote me but I shuld have alle but owyng me thereupon And there John of Kent delivered me a noble in the same taillours house etc.'

(Editorial Note: And that is why Thomas Corbet stood in the pillory! )