Vere, John de (1512?-1562) (DNB00)

VERE, JOHN de, sixteenth Earl of Oxford (1512?–1562), born about 1512, was eldest son of John de Vere, fifteenth earl of Oxford (1490?–1540), by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Edward (or John) Trussell of Cublesdon, Staffordshire. His father (a cousin of John de Vere, fourteenth earl, often called ‘Little John of Campes,’ 1499?–1526), was esquire of the body to Henry VIII in 1510; was knighted by the king on 25 Feb. 1513 at the Battle of the Spurs; was created K.G. on 21 Oct. 1527; took a prominent part, as a friend of the king, in the measures against Wolsey and Catherine of Aragon; bore the crown at the coronation of Anne Boleyn, and acted as a commissioner at her trial. He was the first protestant earl of Oxford, and was popularly known as ‘the good earl.’ He died at his manor of Earls Colne on 21 March 1540, and was buried at Castle Hedingham on 12 April. An altar-tomb in black marble is adorned with effigies of himself and his countess in an attitude of prayer, surrounded by their four sons and four daughters. Of his younger sons, Aubrey was great-grandfather of Aubrey de Vere, twentieth earl [q. v.], while Geoffrey was father of Sir Francis Vere [q. v.] and of Sir Horace Vere [q. v.]

John, the eldest son, received in 1541 livery of lands which descended to him through his mother. In 1544 he served with the expedition to Boulogne, holding the rank of captain in the rearguard of the king's army. As hereditary great chamberlain he was frequently at court, but played no prominent part in politics. He was knighted by Edward VI at his coronation, 20 Feb. 1547, and at the end of the reign, on 16 June 1553, signed the letters patent by which Lady Jane Grey was nominated the king's successor. But on 19 July, shortly after Edward VI's death, he declared for Queen Mary, and on 3 Sept. was admitted to her privy council. He bore the sword before Mary on her progress through London on 30 Sept. Subsequently the queen's faith in his loyalty was shaken. His zeal for catholicism was doubted, and in 1556 there were rumours that he was implicated in the plot of Sir Henry Dudley and Richard Uvedale [q. v.] Elizabeth, on her accession, showed him much favour, and in September 1559 he was appointed, with Lord Robert Dudley, to attend the king of Sweden's second son, John, duke of Friesland, when the duke came to England to offer Elizabeth marriage in behalf of his elder brother, Prince Eric. He met the duke on his landing at Harwich, and showed him ‘great sport’ in the valley of the Stour. From 14 to 19 Aug. 1561 he entertained Queen Elizabeth at his residence of Castle Hedingham. In Essex, where his estates lay, he held through life many posts of honour. He was appointed chief commissioner of array on 7 May 1545, joint lord lieutenant on 25 Sept. 1550 and 24 May 1553, joint lord justice and lieutenant on 4 May 1551 and 7 May 1552, justice of the peace on 18 Feb. 1554, and lord lieutenant on 17 Jan. 1557–8 and 1 May 1559. He was known in the county as a good landlord and a keen sportsman. He died on 3 Aug. 1562, and was buried in the church of Castle Hedingham.

He was twice married. His first wife, whom he married on 3 July 1536, was Lady Dorothy, second daughter of Ralph Neville, fourth earl of Westmorland. His second wife, whom he married after 27 June 1547, was Margaret, daughter of John Golding of Belchamp St. Paul, near Hedingham, and sister of Arthur Golding [q. v.], the translator of Ovid; she married a second husband, Christopher (or Charles) Tyrell, and, dying on 2 Dec. 1568 at Earls Colne, was buried there. By his first wife Oxford had an only child, Katharine, who married Edward, lord Windsor; and by his second wife he had two children, Edward de Vere, seventeenth earl of Oxford [q. v.], and a daughter, Mary, who married Peregrine Bertie, lord Willoughby de Eresby.

[Markham's Fighting Veres, pp. 8–9, 22; G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 199; Doyle's Baronage; Camden's Annals, ed. 1688, p. 62; Froude's Hist.; Queen Jane and Queen Mary (Camden Soc.), pp. 28, 99, 159.]

S. L.