John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford

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John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford (1516 – 3 August 1562) was born to John de Vere, 15th Earl of Oxford and Elizabeth Trussell, daughter of Edward Trussell. He was styled Lord Bolebec 1526 to 1540 before he succeeded to his father's title.


While never of consequence in the Tudor court,[1] the 16th Earl's support for Queen Mary was instrumental in her accession to the throne in 1553,[2] though he was given no preferment by her.[3] During her reign he was active as the principal magnate in Essex.[4]


He married first Dorothy Neville, daughter of Ralph Neville, 4th Earl of Westmorland in Holywell, Shoreditch, London on 3 July 1536, and second Margery Golding in Belchamp St Paul on 1 August 1548.[5] Dorothy Neville (died c. 6 January 1548),[6] His two marriages produced three children. With his first wife, Dorothy, he had Katherine de Vere, who married Edward Windsor, 3rd Baron Windsor. With Margery he had a son, Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, and a daughter, Mary de Vere. Margery died on 2 December 1568. After his death, he was buried in Castle Hedingham, Essex on 31 August 1562.

Cultural pursuits[edit]

The Earl was known as a sportsman, and like several noblemen of his day, he retained a company of actors. The troupe, known as Oxford's Men, was retained by the Earl from 1547 until his death in 1562.[7][8] His circle included the scholar and diplomat Sir Thomas Smith and his brothers-in-law, the poets Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey and Edmund Sheffield, 1st Baron Sheffield, and the translator Arthur Golding.[9]


  1. ^ Nelson, Alan H. (2003), Monstrous Adversary: the life of Edward de Vere,17th Earl of Oxford, Liverpool University Press, ISBN 978-0-85323-678-8, p. 33.
  2. ^ MacCulloch, Diarmaid (1984), The Vita Mariae Angliae Reginae of Robert Wingfield of Brantham, Royal Historical Society, pp. 263–4, 266.
  3. ^ Loades, David (1989), Mary Tudor: A Life, Basil Blackwell, pp. 181–184.
  4. ^ Nelson, 23.
  5. ^ Essex Record Office T/R 168/2
  6. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 15.
  7. ^ Chambers, E. K. The Elizabethan Stage, 4 vols. (Oxford, 1923) II: 99.
  8. ^ Nelson, pp. 13, 239.
  9. ^ Ward, Bernard M. (1928), The Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, 1550–1604: From Contemporary Documents, John Murray, p. 10.

External links[edit]

Peerage of England
Preceded by
John de Vere
Earl of Oxford
Succeeded by
Edward de Vere