Rev. William Corbin
 

William Corbin, son of Luke & Magery (Barrens) Corbin, grandson of Luke Corbin, was christened at Totnes, Devon, 5 August 1656. His parents had been married there on 21 September 1652.

William Corbin, "s. 'Luc.', of Totnes, Devon", matriculated from New Hall Inn at Oxford University on 19 October 1679, aged 21.

In August 1680 a collection was taken up in Tavistock, Devon, "towards the redemption of the p'sent Captives nowe in Turkey": William Corbin contributed 2d.
One of the captives, actually in Algiers, was Thomas Corbin (from Massachusetts, settled in Liverpool after being redeemed).

Gulielmus [William] Corbin was ordained Deacon by the Bishop of Lincoln on 19 September 1680, licensed Curate at Graffo (presumably Boothby Graffoe, just south of Lincoln) the following day, and ordained Priest by the Bishop of Lincoln on 25 September 1681.

Following the death of the previous curate, William Wray, in 1692 William Corbin became curate of Bromley St Leonard, Middlesex, the parish immediately to the east of St Dunstan, Stepney. (The benefice was a curacy. The advowson was held with the Manor of Bromley by Sir John Roberts, who died in 1692; then by Sir William Benson, Sheriff of London in 1706-07, who died in 1712.)

In July/August 1695 King William successfully invested Namur in Belgium, recapturing it from the French forces of Louis XIV.
Ευχαριστια: [Eucharistia]: or, A grateful acknowledgement of God's goodness in preserving our most gracious King William, and for the success of his arms this last summer. Deliver'd in a sermon to a country-auditory on the 22d of September 1695. Being the day appointed by authority for publick thanksgiving. By William Corbin, preacher at the chapel of Bromley St. Leonard's in the county of Middlesex.
This sermon was published as a 22 page booklet by R. Baldwin: London, 1695.

It appears that he left his wife and children in England, becoming a Chaplain in the Royal Navy and settling in the American colonies. On 19 August 1698 he was appointed Chaplain on HMS Saudadoes, a ship that by December was being employed to "Attend the Plantations". Admiral Benbow was on board Saudadoes when he went out from Jamaica searching for the pirate Kidd in the latter half of May 1699. Benbow must have been impressed by the Chaplain, so moved William Corbin onto his flagship HMS Gloucester. Corbin was discharged from Saudadoes 30 June 1699, and entered onto Gloucester 14 July 1699. He was discharged from Gloucester 24 October 1699, presumably when it put in to Charles Town.

William Corbin, T.B. preached a sermon at Kings Town in Jamaica upon the 7th of June [1699], being the anniversary fast for that dreadful earth-quake which happened there in the year 1692. [This was the earthquake that destroyed Port Royal.]
Printed and sold by William Bradford at the Bible in New York, 1703.
The Preface indicates that publication was several years after delivery of the sermon:
"The reason why this Sermon comes late into the World after its Conception, is because the Copy which was sent to the Press (some years since) miscarried by the way, which I had no account of till very lately; and it is not now my ambition of appearing in Print in this part of the World, nor the curiosity of the Discourse, that hath brought it forth into publick view; but the Solemn Obligations which the most that heard it preached, besides the earnest Solicitation of many others, and the seriousness of the matter contained in it, hath engaged me to send it abroad into the world upon the (indecipherable) advantage of Opportunity, and I hope it will meet with the good acceptance from the Press."
The Parish Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, better known as Kingston Parish Church, was built after 1700. The oldest dated grave there is from 1699.

By 1700 William Corbin was in Charles Town, SC, where his acquaintance Rev. Edward Marston was Rector of St Philip's. Marston secured for Corbin a post as the first priest to serve in the Goose Creek area, the wealthiest neighborhood outside of Charles Town, largely populated with planters who had come to South Carolina from Barbados and were strongly Anglican. The church built during Corbin's tenure was replaced by the present building, commenced in 1708 and dedicated in 1719. The Goose Creek area was one of the centers of the religious conflict in South Carolina between Anglicans and Dissenters. Its members, known as the "Goose Creek Men," rebelled against the proprietors' attempts to allow religious toleration and to control trade with the Native Americans. In 1703 "Mr Corbin was forc'd to leave the Colony, by the causeless Quarrels of the Inhabitants" according to Oldmixon.

The real reason for his abrupt departure on 5 December 1702 (as Chaplain aboard HMS Boyne) is given in a letter Edward Marston of Charles Town wrote on February 2, 1702/3 to Rev. Dr. Thomas Bray, founder of the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts:
Received yours on Xmas Day by Mr. Thomas now at Nat. Johnston's. Desired Sir Nathaniel to recommend him to Gov. Moor. Going to supply church at Goose Creek, Mr. Corbin having left and gone to Barbados. Quarrel between Gov. Moor and Corbin concerning his "too free familiarity" with Mrs. Stephens of Goose Creek.
He was discharged from Boyne on 8 April 1703.

Will of Rev. William Corbin:
In the name of God, Amen. I, William Corbin, at present resident in Boston, in New England, "Clerke," being weak in body, make this my last will. My body I committ to be decently buried in ye Church of England, in Boston. And whereas before I left England, I made my will for the disposition of my houses and lands, after the death of my wife, who was then living, I hereby confirm the same. I leave to Mr. George Hatton, late minister of the Church of England, at New Providence, and now resident in Boston, all my wearing apparrell, viz., gowns, cassocks, coats, waistcoats, hats, periwigs, shoes, etc., now in Boston. I leave to Mrs. Katharine Ball, of Boston, widow, two pair of earrings, one bracelet of six, chrystal lockets set in gold, one silver mugg, three silver spoons, one pewter plate, etc. I leave to Mrs. Mary Gregory of Boston, Spinster, daughter in law of Thomas Newton, esq., of Boston, one Diamond ring, and all other rings, one double guinea, and two other pieces of coined gold. I leave to Mrs. Jane Allen, of Newbury in New England, spinster, and daughter in law to Hon. Samuel Allen, Esq., all my bed and other linen. I leave all the rest of my estate to my executors, to pay funeral charges, and the overplus to be divided among them, not as legatees, but to buy them mourning, and I make my friends, Thomas Newton, Esq., and James Oborne, executors.
Dated May 10, 1704. Witnesses, George Thorold, Ann Thorold, Halbryck Savage.
Proved before Paul Dudley, Register of the Prerogative Court of Massachusetts Bay, and confirmed by Lord Cornbury, August 10, 1704.

No record has been found of William Corbin's marriage in England, of any children born by his wife, nor of the English will referred to in his American will.

Sources:
Totnes Parish Register.
Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1500-1714. Oxford: Parker and Co., 1888-1892.
Clergy of the Church of England Database.
Calendar of the Tavistock parish records, 1887.
James Dunstan. The history of the parish of Bromley St. Leonard, Middlesex, with historical illustrations. Hunt and Son, High Street, Bow; 1862.
PRO ADM33/217 330
PRO ADM33/207 625
John Oldmixon. The History of the British Empire in America. 1708.
Frederick Dalcho. An historical account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina. E. Thayer, Charleston\; 1820.
George W. Williams, ed. Letters from the Clergy of the Anglican Church in South Carolina c. 1696-1775. SPG series A, volume I, letter LX.
PRO ADM33/226 795
Collections of the New-York Historical Society for the Year 1892, p.185.

 

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