John Henry Corbet

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John Henry Corbet (1863 – 1938) was a Guernsey-born grower and fruit export merchant. He was also an elected Constable of the Vale Parish and co-author.

Biography

Education

John Henry Corbet was the eldest son born to the senior line of the Corbet family of the Channel Islands to the parents of Jean Thomas Corbet and Louisa Sebire in the Vale Parish, Guernsey,Channel Islands. He was educated at the Vale Sunday School and the Vale Primary School. He lived in Guernsey his entire life. He was the owner of The Fruit Export Company working primarily with his younger brother William "Melon King" Corbet.

Private Life

Corbet married his first wife Marie Robin (1863-1927). They had no surviving children. His second marriage was to Louisa Mansell Priaulx (1883-1981) they had one son John Henry, who died soon after birth and no other surviving children. Corbet inherited from his father Jean Thomas the family home of Clospains in the Vale Parish.

Like his father he was a deeply religious and private man who had a closer relationship with his younger brother Alfred John Corbet (1865-1937)in Canada than most of his family in Guernsey.

Career

Corbet's work career first started as a quarryman who supervised his father Jean Thomas Corbet's two quarries in the Vale. Corbet later moved to becoming a grower of fruits, vegetables and flowers and was also merchant owning the The Fruit Export Company, at the time the largest exporter in Guernsey.

In 1921 King George V and Queen Mary requested a visit to La Lande Estate to view the glasshouses and vineries. The whole of the Bichard family including Corbet descendants were present during the Royal Tour. In 1930 Corbet purchased the majority of La Lande Estate from Bichard and Co. John Henry`s older sister Julia Louise Corbet was married to Henry Bichard. The Corbet`s were to export fruits directly to members of the Royal Family following a 1921 visit to the vineries upon their expressed request.

Corbet was most successful working with his younger brother William "Melon King" Corbet exporting produce to Covent Gardens among other destinations in England. His younger brother Alfred John Corbet in Canada would review business documents and dealing and make suggestions where he felt needed.

Public Life

Despite the fact that Corbet was a very private person he was elected Constable of the Vale Parish in 1909 and 1910. He was also co-author of the Livre De Perchage 1922 published by Guernsey Press Co.

Diaries

Corbet kept copius diaries and journals which give an interesting persepective on life in Guernsey, business and family.

Death

He died on 4 March 1938 at Clospain in the same room as that of his late mother. He was interred along with his first and several other relatives in Independant Cemetery at S Michel du Valle Church. He rests under an impressive 7 foot Italian marble head stone written in Standard French and in Guernsey French which has been remarked by linguistists as quite rare. The lettering is inset in lead. Currently over 15 Corbets from the senior line are interred in the Corbet family plot including those from the Channel Islands and Canada.

References

  • Corbet Family Channel Islands Collection
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