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

Married 2: Elizabeth SCROPE (C. Oxford) 1508


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. He sided with Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, the king-maker, in the political movements of 1469, accompanied him in his exile next year, and assisted in the Lancastrian restoration of 1470-1471. As constable he tried John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, who had condemned his father nine years before. At the battle of Barnet, Oxford was victorious in command of the Lancastrian right, but his men got out of hand, and before they could be rallied Warwick was defeated. 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 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. 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 Philip Calthorpe; William Boleyn and Ralph Shelton to array and guard the seacoast and warn people in that county of the coming of the Kings 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 Kings 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 the Earl of Warwick, and one of the commissioners for the trial of Sir James Tyrell and others in May 1502. 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. His first wife was Margaret Neville, a sister of the king-maker; the second was Margaret Scrope, daughter of Sir Richard Scrope and Eleanor Washbourne. 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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