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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Oxford, Robert de Vere, 9th Earl of

OXFORD, ROBERT DE VERE, 9th Earl of (1362-1302), English courtier, was the only son of Thomas de Vere, 8th earl of Oxford, and Maud (d. 1413), daughter of Sir Ralph de Utford (d. 1346), and a descendant of King Henry III. He became 9th earl of Oxford on his father's death in 1371, and married Philippa (d. 1412), daughter of his guardian Ingelram de Couci, carl of Bedford, a son-in-law of Edward III., quickly becoming very intimate with Richard II. Already hereditary great chamberlain of England, Oxford was made a member of the privy council and a Knight of the Garter; while castles and lands were bestowed upon him, and he was constantly in the company of the young king. In 1385 Richard decided to send his friend to govern Ireland, and Oxford was given extensive rights in that country and was created marquess of Dublin for life; but although preparations were made for his journey he did not leave England. Meanwhile the discontent felt at Richard's incompetence and extravagance was increasing, one of the contributory causes thereto being the king's partiality for Oxford, who was regarded with jealousy by the nobles and who made powerful enemies about this time by divorcing his wife, Philippa, and by marrying a Bohemian lady. The king however, indifferent to the gathering storm, created Vere duke of Ireland in October 1386, and gave him still more extensive powers in that country, and at once matters reached a climax. Richard was deprived of his authority for a short time, and Vere was ordered in vain to proceed to Ireland. The latter was then among those who were accused by the king's uncle Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester, and his supporters in November 1387; and rushing into the north of England he gathered an army to defend his royal master and himself. At Radcot Bridge in Oxfordshire, however, his men fled before the troops of Gloucester, and Oxford himself escaped in disguise to the Netherlands. In the parliament of 1388 he was found guilty of treason and was condemned to death, but as he remained abroad the sentence was never carried out. With another exile, Michael de la Pole, duke of Suffolk, he appears to have lived in Paris until after the treaty between England and France in June 1389, when he took refuge at Louvain. He was killed by a boar whilst hunting, and left no children. In 1395 his body was brought from Louvain to England, and was buried in the priory at Earl's Colne, Essex.

See T. Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, edited by H. T. Riley (London, 1863-1864); J. Froissart, Chroniques, edited by S. Luce and G. Raynaud (Paris, 1869-1897); H. Wallon, Richard II. (Paris, 1864); and W. Stubbs, Constitutional History, vol. ii. (Oxford, 1806).