Vere Earls of Oxford

Alphonso, Count de Ghisnes
earliest known ancestor.

Alberic (Aubrey) de Vere
(came to England in 1066)

Aubrey II de Vere,
Great Chamberlain (d.1141)

* EO 1 - Aubrey de Vere,
1st Earl of Oxford (d.1194)

* EO 2 - Aubrey de Vere,
2nd Earl of Oxford (d.1214)

* EO 3 - Robert de Vere,
3rd Earl of Oxford (d.1221)

* EO 4 - Hugh de Vere,
4th Earl of Oxford (d.1221)

* EO 5 - Robert de Vere,
5th Earl of Oxford (d.1296)

* EO 6 - Robert de Vere,
6th Earl of Oxford (d.1331)

* EO 7 - John de Vere
7th Earl of Oxford (d.1360)

* EO 8 - Sir Thomas de Vere,
8th Earl of Oxford (d.1371)

* EO 9 - Robert de Vere,
9th Earl of Oxford (d.1392)

* EO10 - Aubrey de Vere,
10th Earl of Oxford (d.1400)

* EO11 - Robert de Vere
11th Earl of Oxford (d.1417)

* EO12 - John de Vere,
12th Earl of Oxford (d.1462)

* EO13 - John de Vere,
13th Earl of Oxford (d.1513)

* EO14 - Sir Robert de Vere,
14th Earl of Oxford

* EO15 - John de Vere,
15th Earl of Oxford, (d.1539)

* EO16 - John de Vere,
16th Earl of Oxford (d.1562)

* EO17 - Edward de Vere,
17th Earl of Oxford (d.1604)

* EO18 - Henry de Vere,
18th Earl of Oxford (d.1625)

* EO19 - Robert de Vere,
19th Earl of Oxford (d.1632)

* EO20 - Aubrey de Vere,
20th Earl of Oxford (d.1702)

* EO5 - Robert de Vere, 5th Earl of Oxford (d.1296)

Robert de Vere, 5th Earl of Oxford and 6th Great Chamberlain, was a follower of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, who knighted him on the field of battle in 1264, and summoned him to the parliament of 1265. Just a few days before the battle of Evesham Robert and young Hugh de Montfort were attacked at Kenilworth and taken prisoner. The Battle of Evesham, August 4, 1265, erupted when an alliance of rebellious barons under Simon de Montfort attacked royal forces under Prince Edward, who would later be crowned Edward I. Montfort and the rebels were incensed by poor governance and outrageous spending on foreign wars by Henry III. Montfort's success at the Battle of Lewes had given him de facto control of the government, and he pushed through reforms that led eventually to the parliamentary system of government by representation. The plan, however, came undone by his dissention among the rebel allies, and Prince Edward escaped from captivity to raise the royal flag in Wales. Simon de Montfort intended to join forces with his son Hugh at Kenilworth Castle, near Warwick. But Prince Edward arrived first, arresting Hugh Montfort and Robert de Vere, and surprising Simon on his arrival at Evesham. Legend has it that Montfort, seeing the trap his army was in, said, "Let us commend our souls to God, because our bodies are theirs." Montfort's precarious situation was made worse when his Welsh allies deserted just before battle began, leaving him facing an enemy four times the size of his own. Montfort's men bravely charged against the royal lines, but the Princes troops converged on Montfort's flanks and there was massacre. Even the deserting Welshmen were chased down and slaughtered. Montfort's body was torn apart, and parts were sent to different parts of the kingdom. His torso was stashed at Evesham Abbey, where his tomb later became a popular destination for pilgrims.

Henry III was restored to power and the remaining sons of Montfort fled the country. Earl Robert made his peace with the Crown, under the "Dictum de Kenilworth," and shortly thereafter was employed by King Edward I (Longshank) in further battles against the Welsh.

Robert's marriage to Alice Saundford (also spelled Saunford or Sanford), the heiress of Gilbert de Sanford, brought to the Vere family the office of Chamberlain to the Queen (a role that Gilbert had exercised in 1236, when the earl's father had similarly acted as chamberlain to the king). Through this marriage, the later Earls of Oxford were able to include, in their list of titles, that of "Lord Sanford."
Robert and Alice had, with other issue, the following children:

1. Robert de Vere, his successor, 2. Alphonsus de Vere, married Jane, daughter of Richard Foliot, Knight, and had a son, John de Vere, who succeeded as 7th Earl of Oxford and 8th Great Chamberlain, 3. Hugh de Vere, Baron Vere, 4. Joane Vere, (who married William de Warren), and 5. Lora, married Reginald de Argentein.

During the 1290s King Edward I gave the De Veres permission to hold a fair and there has been a yearly carnival in the Vere area of the shire of Essex ever since.

Earl Robert died in 1296, and was succeeded by his son, Robert.

* EO6 - Robert de Vere, 6th Earl of Oxford

Robert de Vere, 6th Earl of Oxford and 7th Great Chamberlain, another warrior, took part in the wars against Scotland by King Edward I. [One can see the Scots' side of these wars in the movie "Braveheart," where Edward I is portrayed as a complete villain.] Robert, EO6, also fought with Longshanks in Wales. Robert additionally battled alongside Kings Edward II and Edward III in both Scotland and France in skirmishes of the Hundred Years War.

He officiated at the Coronation of Queen Isabella, wife of Edward II, in 1308 and was known as:

"The Good earl of Oxford, his government, both in peace and war being so prudent, his hospitality and works of Charity so wisely abundant, and his temperance, with religious zeal, so admirably conjoined, that the common people esteemed him as a Saint "

He married Margaret Mortimer, daughter of Roger Mortimer, Earl of March. Robert's only son Thomas pre-deceased him, and thus he died without an heir in 1331 and his honors and titles devolved upon his nephew, John, EO7.

Robert, EO6, is buried in the family chapel at Bures, 20 miles from Hedingham, where many of the Earls of Oxford are interred.

* EO7 - John de Vere, 7th Earl of Oxford (1313 - 1360)

John de Vere, 7th Earl of Oxford and 8th Great Chamberlain, born in 1313, became one of the most famous "Fighting Earls of Oxford," renowned for bravery, gallantry, and chivalry as one of Edward III's greatest generals, serving in Scotland, France, Flanders, Brittany and Gascony.

John was the son and heir of Sir Alfonso de Vere (d. 1328) [younger brother of Robert de Vere, EO6] by his wife Jane, daughter of Sir Richard Foliot. John succeeded his uncle, who left no issue, in April 1331. John EO7 actively participated in the wars of King Edward III's, fighting in the Scottish campaigns of 1333 and 1335, in support of Edward Baliol. When war broke out with France in 1339, EO7 accompanied King Edward III to Flanders, and, in 1342 joined the first Breton campaign of William de Bohun, earl of Northampton. EO7 had, in his war party, 40 men-at-arms, one banneret, nine knights, 29 esquires, and 30 mounted archers, with an allowance of 56 sacks of wool as wages. On one occasion, when EO7 was returning from fighting on the continent, his ship was driven off course and wrecked on the shores of Connaught where some 'barbarous people' robbed the party of all of their possessions. [A similar encounter with pirates happened 200+ years later to the 17th Earl of Oxford upon his return from Italy and France in 1576). John de Vere, EO7, was a commander at the battles of Crecy, where he fought with a contingent of 160 men, including three bannerets and 27 knights. In October 1355, EO7 returned to France, joining the Black Prince in his famous raid into the Languedoc. EO7 shared the command of the first division at Poitiers with the Earl of Warwick, where he organized a crucial maneuver that saved the English archers from being downtrodden by the enemy's cavalry.

"Yet all courage had been thrown away to no purpose, had it not been seconded by the extraordinary Gallantry of the English Archers, under the earl of Oxford, who behaved themselves that day with wonderful Constancy, Alacrity and Resolution "

John de Vere, EO7, was killed during the siege of Rheims on January 24, 1360, during the British invasion of Burgundy. His corpse was brought back to England and interred in the family crypts at Colne Priory.

John's will, dated November 1, 1359, contained bequests to Colne church and to the chapel (called the New Abbey) at Hedingham. EO7 also left instructions to his executors to pay out 400 marks sterling that had been accumulated by his ancestors in aid of the Holy Land.
John EO7 had married, in 1336, Maud Badlesmere [b. 1310, widow of Robert Fitzpayne], second sister and coheir of Giles, lord Badlesmere (d. 1338) of Badlesmere in Kent. The couple had had four sons and one daughter, Margaret or Maud. The sons were Thomas (1337-1371), the 8th Earl of Oxford, Aubrey, who became 10th EO in 1393, and John and Robert, who predeceased their father.
By EO7's marriage, the title of Lord Badlesmere was added to the honorific employed by all later Earls of Oxford. His son Thomas succeeded him.

By Robert Brazil © copyright 2003                    


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