John De VERE

(13th Earl of Oxford)

Born: 8 Sep 1442

Acceded: 1462

Died: 10 Mar 1513, Hedingham Castle, Essex, England

Buried: Colne Priory

Notes: Knight of the Garter. The Complete Peerage vol.X,p.239-244.

Father: John De VERE (12° E. Oxford)

Mother: Elizabeth HOWARD (C. Oxford)

Married 1: Margaret NEVILLE (C. Oxford) AFT 1459


1. George De VERE (d. young)

Married 2: Elizabeth SCROPE (C. Oxford) 1508

Associated with: ¿?


1. Catherine De VERE

Second son of John, 12th Earl of Oxford, a prominent Lancastrian, who, together with his eldest son Aubrey De Vere, was executed in Feb 1462. John De Vere the younger was himself attainted, but two years later was restored as 13th earl. But his loyalty was suspected, and for a short time at the end of 1468 he was in the Tower. By the summer of 1469 he had been pardoned by Edward IV and upon his release from the tower, took off with his brother in law Richard Neville, the king-maker, Earl of Warwick to stir up Robin of Redesdale’s northern rebellion. He accompanied Warwick in his exile next year, and assisted in the Lancastrian restoration of 1470-1471. Although it didn’t go quite according to plan and Oxford and Warwick had to escape to France, they were soon back. By Oct 1470 Henry VI was restored to the throne with Oxford taking a leading role in the ceremony at St. Paul’s. As constable, he tried his brother-in-law, John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, who had condemned his father nine years before. In 1471 Oxford and his men prevented Edward from landing off the Norfolk coast and in Apr of the same year Oxford commanded the right wing of the Lancastrian army at Barnet, but his men got out of hand, and before they could be rallied Warwick was defeated. However, with a victorious Edward back in charge, Oxford takes refuge in Scotland from where he writes asking for the assistance of his wife Margaret.

Oxford escaped to France. In 1473 he organized a Lancastrian expedition, which, after an attempted landing in Essex, sailed west and seized St Michael's Mount in Cornwall. It was only after a four months' siege that Oxford was forced to surrender in Feb 1474. He was sent to Hammes near Calais, whence, ten years later, in Aug 1484, he escaped while he was being transferred to England, and joined Henry Tudor in Brittany. He fought for Henry in high command at Bosworth, and was rewarded by restoration to his title, estates and hereditary office of Lord Chamberlain. At Stoke on the 16 Jun 1486 he led the van of the royal army.

John and his wife Margaret were reinstated at Castle Hedingham but sadly their son had died sometime during his father’s imprisonment.

On 7 Apr 1487, King Henry VII fearing an attack by Yorkists to regain the throne, commissioned John, Duke of Suffolk; John, Earl of Oxford; John, Lord Fitzwalter; Sir William Knyvett; Sir Henry Heydon; Sir Phillip Calthorpe; William Boleyn and Ralph Shelton to array and guard the seacoast and warn people in that county of the coming of the King’s enemies. 28 Aug 1490 John, Duke of Suffolk; John, Earl of Oxford; Sir Thomas Lovell; Sir William Boleyn; Sir Ralph Shelton; Richard Southwell and others were commissioned to raise men at arms and place beacons “in the usual places” to warn the people of the coming of the King’s enemies. In 1492 he was in command in the expedition to Flanders, and in 1497 was foremost in the defeat of the Cornish rebels on Blackheath. Bacon (Hist, of Henry VII. p. 192, ed. Lumby) has preserved a story that when in the summer of 1498 Oxford entertained the King at Castle Hedingham, he assembled a great number of his retainers in livery; Henry thanked the Earl for his reception, but fined him 15,000 marks for the breach of the laws. Oxford was high steward at the trial of Edward, Earl of Warwick, and one of the commissioners for the trial of Sir James Tyrell and others in May 1502.

After the death of Margaret Neville, Oxford married Elizabeth Scrope, daughter of Sir Richard Scrope and Eleanor Washbourne.Partly through ill-health he took little part afterwards in public affairs, and died on the 10 Mar 1513. He was twice married, but left no children.

He is said to have had an illegitimate daughter, Catherine De Vere (d. AFT 20 Jun 1504), who married Sir Robert Broughton, 'one of the richest non-baronial landowners in England'. Broughton appointed the 13th Earl as supervisor of his will.

He was suc. by his nephew, John, son of his brother, Sir George.

Oxford is frequently mentioned in the Paston Letters, which include twenty written by him, mostly to Sir John Paston the younger. See The Paston Letters, ed. J. Gairdner; Chronicles of London, ed. C. L. Kingsford (1905); Sir James Ramsay, Lancaster and York; and The Political History of England, vols. iv. and v. (1906). (C. L. K.)

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