The surname of CORBITT was derived from the Old French CORBET - a nickname for one with dark hair. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. The name is of an ancient Shropshire family descended from a Norman baron, Hugh Corbet or Corbeau living in 1040. He came to England with his son Robert. His descendant Sir Richard Corbet was granted land near Shrewsbury in 1223, at a place now known as Moreton Corbet. Early records of the name mention Corbet, who was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. A notable member of the name was Richard Corbet (1582-1635) the English poet and prelate, the son of a gardener in Ewell, Surrey. He was educated at Westminster School then passed to Oxford, and in 1620 was made dean of Christ Church. In 1624 he was consecrated bishop of Oxford and in 1632, translated to Norwich. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter that served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Chaddesley Corbett, County Worcester; Rodger Corbet of that place, son of William Corbett, of the same 1288: reg p.m., 17 Edward I, his son and heir William being aged 8 years.
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