John Henry Corbet
'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.
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.
Corbet married his first wife Marie Robin (1863-1927). They had several pregnancies but no surviving children. His second marriage was to Louisa Mansell Priaulx (1883-1981) they had one son John Henry Corbet Jr. 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.
Corbet, like his father, was a deeply religious and private man who carried a closer relationship with his younger brother Alfred John Corbet (1865-1937)in Canada than most of his family in Guernsey.
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 Messrs. 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.
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.
Corbet kept copius diaries and journals reagarding his life which give an interesting persepective to life in Guernsey, business and family.
Corbet died of natural causes on 4 March 1938 at his residence "Clospains" in the Vale in the same room as that of his late mother. He was interred along with his first and several other relatives in the Corbet Family Plot 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 Corbet's from the senior line are interred in the Corbet Family Plot including those from the Channel Islands and Canada.
Due to Corbet having no male heirs and his younger brother William having solely daughters the senior male line of Corbet family moved to his nephew Alfred John Corbet (1890-1938) who lived in Canada. His nephew, unmarried and childless, Alfred John Corbet died just 49 days later in April 1938 moving the senior position of the Corbet family to Alfred's younger brother to Wilfred John Corbet (1893-1971). Subsequently the senior line of the Corbet family moved to Wilfred John Corbet's eldest son Alfred John Corbet (1922-1989) thence by Will of Legal Inheritance in 2004 upon the death of his grandmother Alice Charlotte Corbet to their eldest grandson/child sculptor and painter Christian Cardell Corbet (1966-present) when upon he received the Corbet Trust Fund. With Christian Cardell Corbet not having any heirs the senior line will possibly move to his eldest cousin John Corbet Huggett and thence to one of his two sons. This means that the senior member of the Corbet family will no longer bear the Corbet surname.
The Corbet Family Channel Islands Collection (CFCIC) has in their archives several original heirlooms from the Estate of John Henry Corbet's to include personal effects of a broad cross section from and relating to the senior Corbet line and familial extensions. Artifacts and documents date back to ca. 13th century to present. Of particular note is a collection of letters, photos and a rare portrait of author Victor Hugo.
- Corbet Family Channel Islands Collection
-  Official Web Site