Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford
The Earl of Oxford
Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, unknown artist after lost original, 1575, National Portrait Gallery, London
Born 12 April 1550
Castle Hedingham, Essex
Died 24 June 1604 (aged 54)
Kings Place in Hackney
Title Earl of Oxford
Tenure 1562 – 1604
Other titles Viscount Bulbeck
Nationality English
Locality Essex
Offices Lord Great Chamberlain
Spouse(s) Anne Cecil
Elizabeth Trentham
Issue Elizabeth Stanley, Countess of Derby
Bridget Norris, Countess of Berkshire
Susan Herbert, Countess of Montgomery
Henry de Vere, 18th Earl of Oxford
Sir Edward Vere (illegitimate)
Parents John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford
Margery Golding
Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford Signature.jpeg

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (12 April 1550 – 24 June 1604) was an Elizabethan courtier, playwright, lyric poet, sportsman and patron of the arts, and is currently the most popular alternative candidate proposed for the authorship of Shakespeare's works.

Oxford was the only son of John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford and Margery Golding. After the death of his father on 3 August 1562 he became a ward of Queen Elizabeth, and received an excellent education in the household of her Principal Secretary, Sir William Cecil.[1] He was a champion jouster,[2] and travelled widely throughout Europe. He served briefly in a military campaign after the Northern Rebellion (1569–1570), and at Flanders in the Anglo-Spanish War (1585), although in what capacity is unknown.

Oxford was noted for his literary and theatrical patronage. Between 1564 and 1599 some 28 books were dedicated to him, including works by Golding, Lyly, Greene and Munday.[3] He held the lease of the first Blackfriars Theatre in the mid-1580s, produced entertainments at Court, and sponsored companies of players and musicians.[4]


Early life

Heir to the second oldest continuously inherited earldom in England,[1] Edward de Vere was born 12 April 1550,[5] the only son of John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford and his second wife, Margery Golding (died 1568). The name Edward, unique in the de Vere family, was perhaps a compliment to the young King Edward VI,[6] who bestowed a 'standing cup gilt' at Oxford's christening five days later on 17 April.[7] The young Oxford was styled Viscount Bulbeck, and raised in the Reformed Faith. He had a sister, Mary (c. 1554–1624).[8] and an older half-sister, Katherine (1538–1600), the daughter of his father's first marriage to Dorothy Neville (d. 1548).[9]

While never of consequence in the Tudor court,[10] the 16th Earl's support for Queen Mary was instrumental in her accession to the throne in 1553,[11] though he was given no preferment by her.[12] During her reign he was active as the principal magnate in Essex.[8] The Earl was known as a sportsman, and among his son's earliest accomplishments were mastery of riding, shooting and hawking.[13] Like several noblemen of his day, he retained a company of actors.[14] 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.[15]

Edward de Vere, like most children of his class, was raised by surrogate parents.[16] Oxford lived in the household, and under the supervision of, Sir Thomas Smith,[17] and was tutored there by Thomas Fowle, a former fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. The evidence as to when Oxford resided with Smith is unclear and Smith was not among those granted annuities by the 16th Earl,[18] who did however grant an annuity on 4 May 1558 to Fowle 'for service in teaching Edward Vere, my son, Viscount Bulbeck, done & to be done'.[19] In November of that year, Oxford matriculated as an impubes, or immature fellow-commoner, of Queens' College, Cambridge in November 1558, and remained there one year.[20] In January 1559 he was admitted as a fellow commoner of St John's, while remaining resident at Queens'. His name disappears from the Queens' college registers in March 1559, and he did not graduate BA with his classmates in the Lent term of 1562.[21]


William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, Oxford's father-in-law, c. 1571.

On the death of his father on 3 August 1562, the twelve-year-old Oxford became the 17th Earl of Oxford and Lord Great Chamberlain of England, and heir to an estate whose annual income, though assessed at approximately £2000, may have run as high as £3,500.[22][23] Because the 16th Earl held land from the Crown by knight service, Oxford became a royal ward of the young Queen Elizabeth, and was placed in the household of Sir William Cecil, Secretary of State and Master of the Court of Wards.[24] Under Cecil's supervision Oxford studied French, Latin, writing, drawing, cosmography, dancing, riding and shooting.[25] The first of Oxford's extant letters, dated 23 August 1563, is in French.[26] During his first year at Cecil House Oxford was tutored by Laurence Nowell, one of the founding fathers of Anglo-Saxon studies.[27] The brevity of his tutorship has been interpreted variously as a sign of Oxford's precocity, or evidence he was intractable.[28][29] In May 1564 Arthur Golding, in his dedication to his Th’ Abridgement of the Histories of Trogus Pompeius, attributed to his young nephew an interest in ancient history and contemporary events.[30][31]

In 1563 the legitimacy of the marriage of Oxford’s parents was challenged in the Ecclesiastical court by a petition to Archbishop Matthew Parker filed by Oxford’s half-sister, Katherine, then the wife of Edward Windsor, 3rd Baron Windsor (c. 1532–1575). On 28 June 1563 Oxford’s maternal uncle Arthur Golding replied on behalf of Oxford and his sister, Mary, requesting the Archbishop to stay the petition on the ground that legal proceedings against a ward of the Queen could not be maintained in any other court without prior licence from the Court of Wards and Liveries.[32] Some time prior to October that year,[33] Oxford's mother, Margery, Countess of Oxford, remarried. Her second husband was the Queen's Gentleman Pensioner, Charles Tyrrell,[34] sometimes identified as the sixth son of Sir Thomas Tyrrell of East Horndon.[33] Oxford's mother died five years later, on 2 December 1568, and was buried beside her first husband at Earls Colne.[35] Oxford's stepfather, Charles Tyrrell, died in March 1570, leaving in his will a bequest to Oxford of 'one great horse' which de Vere had formerly given him. Oxford never spoke of his step-father thereafter except contemptuously.[36]

On 10 August 1564 Oxford was among 17 noblemen, knights and esquires in the Queen's entourage who were awarded the honorary degree of Master of Arts by the University of Cambridge. On 6 September 1566 Oxford and others accompanying the Queen were granted honorary M.A. degrees by the University of Oxford.[5][37] On 1 February 1567 he was admitted to Gray's Inn.[38][39] In later years Burghley was to upbraid Oxford frequently for his prodigal extravagance. However he allowed de Vere to spend upwards of £1,000 per annum during the wardship: his tailor's bills alone, from the age of 12 to 16, totalled some £600.[40]

On 23 July 1567 the seventeen-year-old Oxford killed Thomas Brincknell, an under-cook in the Cecil household, while practising fencing with Edward Baynham, a Westminster tailor, in the backyard of Cecil House in the Strand. At the coroner's inquest held the following day, the 17 jurymen, one of whom was Oxford's servant, and another identified as Cecil's protégé the future historian Raphael Holinshed, found that Brincknell was drunk and instigated by the devil when he ran upon de Vere's foil, causing his own death.[41][42] Cecil later recalled that he attempted to have the jury find for Oxford as acting in self-defence rather than Brincknell committing suicide.[43]

By an indenture of 1 July 1562 the 16th Earl had contracted with Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon a marriage for Oxford with one of Huntingdon's sisters. The indenture provided that when he reached the age of 18 in 1568 Oxford could choose to marry either Elizabeth or Mary Hastings. However after the death of the 16th Earl the indenture was allowed to lapse. Elizabeth Hastings later married Edward Somerset, while Mary Hastings died unmarried.

On 22 April 1569 Oxford received his first vote, cast by his kinsman Lord Howard of Effingham, for membership in the Order of the Garter, a dignity he was never to attain, although he received many votes over the years.[44]

Records of books purchased for Oxford in 1569 attest to his continued interest in history, as well as literature and philosophy. Among them were editions of Chaucer, Plutarch (in French), two books in Italian, and folio editions of Cicero and Plato (probably in Latin).[45] In the same year Thomas Underdowne dedicated his translation of the Æthiopian History of Heliodorus to Oxford, praising his 'haughty courage', 'great skill' and 'sufficiency of learning'.[46] After recovering from an illness, Oxford petitioned Cecil on 24 November 1569 for a foreign military posting, saying that he had always wanted to "see the wars and services in strange and foreign parts". A Catholic rebellion, the Revolt of the Northern Earls, had broken out that year, and after a delay (despite an interview with Oxford, Queen Elizabeth was hesitant to grant him leave), Cecil obtained a position for de Vere under the Earl of Sussex in the Scottish campaigns the following spring, although in what capacity is unknown.[47][48] In 1570, Oxford according to several reports, became interested in occultism, and studied magic and conjuring, having made the acquaintance of the mathematician and astrologer John Dee that winter, to whom he wrote 'favourable letters'.[49][50]

Coming of age

Whitehall, the royal palace where Oxford wed Anne Cecil in 1571, as it looked a hundred years later.

On his coming of age on 12 April 1571, Oxford reached the age of majority, and took his seat in the House of Lords.[5] Great expectations attended the young Oxford, with Sir George Buc recalling how honourable acquaintances at the time said that 'he was much more like . .to acquire a new erldome then to wast & lose an old erldom', which however he proceeded to do.[51]

He was now, technically, freed of Burghley's control, and entitled to an income of £666, though properties set aside to pay his father's debts would not come his way for over another decade (1582). One third of a titled ward's estate reverted to the Crown.[52] In July, the Queen demanded a payment of £3,000 for his wardship and a further £4,000 for 'suing his livery'. Oxford signed an obligation to pay double the sum, if he failed to pay the £7,000 when it fell due, effectively risking a total obligation of £21,000.[53]

The year saw him participating in the tilt, tourney and barrier before the Queen in May,[54][55] an account of which survives in Stow's Annals.[56] His prowess won admiring comments from participants.[57] In August, Oxford attended on Paul de Foix, who had come to England to negotiate a marriage between the Queen and the Duke of Anjou, the future King Henry III of France.[58] He began to publish his poetry date to this period and, with Edward Dyer, figured as one of the first courtiers to introduce vernacular verse to the Queen's court.[59]

Sir William Cecil had been raised to the peerage on 25 February 1571 as Lord Burghley, and by the summer of that year Oxford declared an interest in Cecil's eldest daughter, Anne, aged 14, and received the queen's consent to the marriage. She had been pledged to Philip Sidney in August 1569, and others had apparently sought her hand. Cecil was displeased with the arrangement, apparently having entertained the idea of her marrying the earl of Rutland instead. Oxford's rank, however, trumped all else.[60] The wedding was deferred until Anne's maturity and then celebrated in the presence of the Queen, together with the marriage of Lady Elizabeth Hastings and Lord Herbert, on 16 December 1571 at Whitehall, tying two young English nobles into Protestant families, as England's Catholic enemies noted.[61] Burghley gave Oxford a marriage settlement of £800 worth of land and a cash gift of £3,000, an amount equal to Oxford's livery fees and probably intended for such use, but the money vanished without trace.[62] Oxford assigned Anne a jointure of £669 6s 8d.[63] Although he had reached the age of majority and had married, Oxford was still not in possession of his inheritance. After suing his livery,[64] Oxford was finally licenced to enter on his lands on 30 May 1572.[65] However this privilege came at a price.

On 2 June 1572 one of Oxford's closest kinsmen, his first cousin, Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk was executed on Tower Hill. Oxford had petitioned both the Queen and Lord Burghley on Norfolk's behalf, and it was also reported that he had provided a ship to help Norfolk escape to Spain.[66]

On 11 May 1573 Gilbert Talbot wrote to his father, the Earl of Shrewsbury, of the Queen's favour towards Oxford:

My Lord of Oxford is lately grown into great credit, for the Queen's Majesty delighteth more in his personage and his dancing and valiantness than any other. I think Sussex doth back him all that he can; if it were not for his fickle head, he would pass any of them shortly. My Lady Burghley unwisely has declared herself, as it were, jealous, which is come to the Queen's ear, whereat she has been not a little offended with her, but now she is reconciled again.[67]

Allusive language in a letter from Sir Christopher Hatton to the Queen in June 1573 suggests rivalry between Hatton and Oxford for the Queen's favour ('reserve it to the sheep; he hath no tooth to bite where the boar's tusk may both raze and tear').[68]

In the summer of 1573 Oxford made plans to travel abroad. In a document prepared in anticipation of his foreign travel, he estimated his current debts to be £6000. For reasons which are unclear the trip did not take place.[69]

In a letter to his father on 28 June 1574 Gilbert Talbot reported discord between Oxford and the Queen:

The young Earl of Oxford, of that ancient and Very family of the Veres, had a cause or suit that now came before the Queen, which she did not answer so favourably as was expected, checking him, it seems for his unthriftiness. And hereupon his behaviour before her gave some offence.[70]

Three days later, on 1 July 1574, Oxford left England without licence, reportedly travelling to Calais in the company of Lord Edward Seymour (1548–1574), and from thence to Flanders, and 'carrying a great sum of money with him'. The Queen recalled him, and Oxford was back in England by 28 July. Although the Queen's displeasure was somewhat mollified by his return, it was reported that she 'doth not mean to wrap up his contempt without using some kind of reprehension, that he may not think but that his fault is not only to be reproved, but were also to be corrected'. By 21 August Oxford had won back the Queen's favour because of his loyalty to her when approached by her exiled rebel subjects in Flanders, and had secured from her a promise to grant him licence to travel.[71]

Foreign travel

The Queen issued Oxford's licence to travel on 24 January 1575, and provided him with letters of introduction to foreign monarchs.[72] Prior to his departure Oxford entered into two indentures. By the first indenture, dated 20 January 1575, he sold his manors in Cornwall, Staffordshire and Wiltshire to three trustees for £6000.[73] By the second indenture, dated 30 January, he entailed the lands of the earldom on his first cousin, Hugh Vere, giving as his reason that he had no issue of his body as yet born, and if he should die abroad without heirs the lands of the earldom would therefore descend to his sister, Mary, his next of kin of the whole blood.[74] The indenture also provided for payment of debts in an attached schedule amounting to £9096 10s 8/12d, of which sum £3457 was owed to the Queen in the Court of Wards.[75]

Oxford left England in the first week of February, and on 6 March was presented by Dr. Valentine Dale to the French King and Queen, who 'used him honourably'.[76] In mid-March he travelled to Strasbourg, where he met with the scholar Sturmius,[77] and from thence he made his way to Venice via Milan.[78] On 3 January 1576 Oxford wrote to Lord Burghley from Siena mentioning complaints that had reached him concerning the demands of his creditors, including the Queen and his sister, and directing that more of his land be sold to pay them.[79] On 2 March 1576 Oxford's licence to travel was renewed for a further year, but for unknown reasons Oxford left Venice on 5 March, intending to return home by way of Lyons and Paris.[80] One report published 15 years later has him as far south as Sicily.[81] A note stating that Benedict Spinola had caused £3761 4s 5d to be paid to Oxford in France and Venice indicates that the Spinola brothers had between them paid him out close to £4000 for his 15 month long continental tour, while over one hundred tradesmen in England were seeking settlement of debts totalling thousands of pounds.[80][82]

On Oxford's return across the Channel in April, his ship was hijacked by pirates from Flushing, who according to the French ambassador, Mauvissiere, took his possessions, stripped him to his shirt, and might have murdered him had not one of them recognized him.[83]

During Oxford's absence from England, his wife, Anne, had given birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, on 2 July 1575.[84] The news of Anne's pregnancy had reached Oxford on 17 March 1575 while he was in Paris, at which time he wrote to Lord Burghley expressing his pleasure that what Lord Burghley had mentioned doubtfully in an earlier letter had turned out to be true:

My Lord, your letters have made me a glad man, for these last have put me in assurance of that good fortune which your former mentioned doubtfully. I thank God therefore with your Lordship that it hath pleased him to make me a father where your Lordship is a grandfather. And if it be a boy I shall likewise be the partaker with you in a greater contentation. But thereby to take an occasion to return, I am far off from that opinion, for now it hath pleased God to give me a son of mine own (as I hope it is), methinks I have the better occasion to travel sith whatsoever becometh of me I leave behind me one to supply my duty and service either to my prince or else my country.[85]

Although Elizabeth was born at the beginning of July, for unexplained reasons Oxford did not learn of the birth until 24 September.[86] When he returned to England, he refused to live with his wife and took rooms at Charing Cross. Although he never named the cause openly, Oxford appears to have been told that Anne's daughter, Elizabeth, was not his child.[87] The most Oxford would allow himself to say on the subject to Lord Burghley was that:

Until I can better satisfy or advertise myself of some mislikes I am not determined as touching my wife to accompany her. What they are, because some are not to be spoken of or written upon as imperfections, I will not deal withal; some that otherways discontent me I will not blaze or publish until it please me. And last of all, I mean not to weary myself any more with such troubles and molestations as I have endured.[88]

Numerous memoranda compiled by Lord Burghley at the time reveal a flood of complaints by Oxford against his wife's family, but the crux of the matter seems to have been his unspoken conviction that Anne's daughter, Elizabeth, was not his child.[89] He allowed Anne to attend the Queen at court, but only when he himself was not present, and stipulated that Lord Burghley must make no further appeals to him on Anne's behalf.[90]


Queen Elizabeth I. The so-called Phoenix Portrait, c. 1575

In 1576 eight poems by Oxford were published in The Paradise of Dainty Devises, a collection in which all the poems were meant to be sung.[91] Oxford's eight poems in the Paradise 'create a dramatic break with everything known to have been written at the Elizabethan court up to that time.'[92]

On 16 February 1577 Thomas Screven reported to the Earl of Rutland a rumour that Oxford's sister Mary would marry Lord Gerald Fitzgerald (1559–1580). By 2 July, however, the Duchess of Suffolk reported in a letter to Lord Burghley that 'my wise son has gone very far with my Lady Mary Vere, I fear too far to turn'. Both the Duchess and her husband Richard Bertie initially opposed the marriage, and the Queen withheld her consent momentarily. Oxford's own opposition to the tie was so vehement that Mary's prospective husband Peregrine Bertie, later Lord Willoughby d'Eresby, feared for his life for some time.[93] Mary did however marry him sometime after Christmas 1577 and before 12 March 1578.[94]

Although details are unclear, there is evidence that in 1577 Oxford was again attempting to see service in the French Wars of Religion on the side of King Henry III.[95]

In 1577 John Brooke dedicated to Oxford a translation entitled The Staff of Christian Faith, 'the only work by the popular writer Guy de Brès to be printed in English'.[96]

In July of the same year John Stanhope wrote to Lord Burghley indicating that as a result of Oxford's suit to the Queen for the grant of Castle Rising, a property which had been forfeited to the Crown on Norfolk's attainder in 1572, 'some unkindness and strangeness ensueth betwixt my Lord of Surrey, my Lord Harry, and his Lordship'.[97]

In 1577 Oxford invested £25 in the second of Martin Frobisher’s expeditions in search of the Northwest Passage.[98]

On 15 December 1577 the Duchess of Suffolk wrote to Lord Burghley describing a plan she and Oxford's sister Mary had devised so that Oxford could see his daughter Elizabeth.[99] Whether the scheme came to fruition is unknown.

On 15 January 1578, the Queen's grant of Castle Rising to Oxford was finalized.[100] As noted earlier, Oxford had sold his inherited lands in Cornwall, Staffordshire and Wiltshire prior to his continental tour. On his return to England in 1576 he sold his manors in Devonshire. Sales continued apace in the following two years, and by the end of 1578 he had sold at least 7 more manors, including his recent grant of Castle Rising.[101]

In 1578 Oxford sank £3000 into the third Frobisher expedition. The ‘gold’ ore brought back by Frobisher turned out to be worthless, and Oxford lost his entire investment.[102]

In the summer of 1578 Oxford attended the Queen on her progress through East Anglia.[103] The royal party stayed at Lord Henry Howard's residence at Audley End from 26–31 July, where Gabriel Harvey dedicated his Gratulationes Valdinenses to the Queen. The volume consists of four ‘books’, the first addressed to the Queen, the second to Leicester, the third to Lord Burghley, and the fourth to Oxford, Sir Christopher Hatton, and Philip Sidney. Harvey's encomium to Oxford is double-edged, praising his English and Latin verse and prose while encouraging him to 'put away your feeble pen, your bloodless books, your impractical writings'.[104] A contretemps occurred during the progress in mid-August when the Queen twice requested Oxford to dance before the French ambassadors Bacqueville and Quissy, who were in England to negotiate a marriage between the Queen and the Duke of Alençon. Oxford refused on the ground that he 'would not give pleasure to Frenchmen'.[104]

In a letter of 5 March 1579 Gilbert Talbot wrote to his father of a 'show' presented by Oxford and his kinsmen before the Queen:

It is but vain to trouble your Lordship with such shows as was showed before her Majesty this Shrovetide at night. The chiefest was a device presented by the persons of th' Earl of Oxford, th' Earl of Surrey, the Lords Thomas Howard & Windsor. The device was prettier than it had hap to be performed, but the best of it (& I think the best liked) was two rich jewels which was presented to her Majesty by the 2 Earls.[105]

On 8 April the Spanish ambassador, Mendoza, wrote to King Philip of Spain that it had been proposed that if Alençon were to travel to England in connection with negotiations for his marriage to the Queen, Oxford, Surrey and Windsor should be hostages for his safe return.[105] Alençon himself did not arrive in England until the end of August, but his ambassadors were in England from the 15th to the 27th of that month. Oxford was sympathetic to the proposed marriage, but Leicester and his nephew Philip Sidney were adamantly opposed to it. This difference of opinion may have triggered the well known quarrel between Oxford and Sidney on the tennis court at Whitehall. The most detailed version of the quarrel survives in the account of Sidney's friend, Fulke Greville. It is not entirely clear from Greville's account who was playing on the court when the quarrel erupted. What is clear is that Oxford 'scornfully call[ed] Sir Philip by the name of puppy', and that Sidney responded by giving Oxford the lie, averring that 'all the world knows puppies are gotten by dogs, and children by men'. All this was overheard by the French ambassadors, who 'had that day audience in those private galleries whose windows looked into the tennis court'. What happened next is not entirely clear from the conflicting accounts, but it appears that whether it was Sidney who challenged Oxford to a duel or the other way around, Oxford failed to take the duel any further, and the Queen personally took Sidney to task for not recognizing the difference between his status and Oxford's. Sir Christopher Hatton and Sidney's friend Hubert Languet also tried to dissuade Sidney from pursuing the matter, and it was eventually dropped.[106]

Oxford was also in confrontation with Leicester about this time. A memorandum from 1579 details 'Articles whereof Oxford would have accused Leicester', and Oxford was confined to his chamber at Greenwich for a time 'about the libelling between him and my Lord of Leicester'.[107]

In 1579 two works were dedicated to Oxford, Geoffrey Gates' Defense of Military Profession, and Anthony Munday's Mirror of Mutability.[108]

In the summer of 1580 Gabriel Harvey, apparently motivated by a desire to ingratiate himself with Leicester,[109] satirized Oxford in verses entitled Speculum Tuscanismi in Three Proper and Witty Familiar Letters.[110] Over a decade later, Harvey's satire was pilloried in Thomas Nashe's Strange News in 1592:

Needs he must cast up certain crude humours of English hexameter verses that lay upon his stomach; a nobleman stood in his way as he was vomiting, and from top to toe he all-to-bewrayed him with Tuscanism.[111]

On 27 January 1580 Arthur Throckmorton wrote in his diary that Oxford had written a challenge to Sidney, and that on the 29th Oxford had been commanded to keep his chamber, not being released until 11 February. The cause of the challenge and of Oxford's confinement to quarters by the Queen is unknown.[112]

By April 1580, Oxford had taken over the Earl of Warwick's playing company:[113]

The Duttons and their fellow-players forsaking the Earl of Warwick, their master, became followers of the Earl of Oxford and wrote themselves his comedians, which certain gentlemen altered and made chameleons.[114]

The company may have included the famous comedian, Richard Tarleton.[115] At this time Oxford also patronized boy actors, as indicated by an entry for 1580-1 recording payment for a performance in Bristol of 'my Lord of Oxford's players', consisting of '1 man and 9 boys'.[116]

On 9 June 1580 Lord Burghley wrote to John Hatcher, Vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge, requesting that Oxford's Men be allowed to 'repair to that university and there to make show of such plays and interludes as have been heretofore played by them publicly, as well before the Queen's Majesty as in the city of London'. Hatcher denied the request, citing various reasons.[117]

On 15 June 1580 Oxford purchased a tenement and seven acres of land near Aldgate in London from the Italian merchant Benedict Spinola for £2500. The property was known as the Great Garden of Christchurch in the parish of St Botolphs, London, and had formerly belonged to Magdalene College, Cambridge.[118][119]

Sometime in 1580 Oxford also purchased a London residence, a mansion in Bishopsgate known as Fisher's Folly. According to Lord Henry Howard, writing to the Queen in early January 1581, Oxford had paid a large sum for the property and for renovations to it.[120]

In 1580 three works were dedicated to Oxford, John Hester's A Short Discourse . . . of Leonardo Fioravanti, Bolognese, upon Surgery,[121] John Lyly's Euphues and his England, and Anthony Munday's Zelauto. In the dedication to Zelauto, Munday also mentioned having delivered the now lost Galien of France to Oxford for his 'courteous and gentle perusing'. Both Lyly and Munday were in Oxford's service at the time, Lyly dedicating his book to 'my very good Lord and master, Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxenford', and Munday identifying himself on the title page as 'Servant to the Right Honourable the Earl of Oxenford'.[122] In addition, in his A Light Bundle of Lively Discourses Called Churchyard's Charge, and A Pleasant Labyrinth Called Churchyard's Chance, Thomas Churchyard promised to dedicate future works to Oxford.[123]

Banishment from court

In a letter dated 11 January 1581 to King Henri III, the French ambassador, Mauvissiere, relayed a report that after his return from Italy in 1576 Oxford had made profession of the Catholic religion with some of his relatives and best friends, and that just recently, in late December 1580, Oxford had denounced three of his Catholic friends, Lord Henry Howard, Charles Arundel, and Francis Southwell, to the Queen.[124] According to Bossy, Leicester had "dislodged Oxford from the pro-French group",[125] that is, the group at court which favoured Queen Elizabeth's marriage to the Duke of Alençon, and had "persuaded him to make a public confession to the Queen in the ambassador's presence, accusing his former friends of becoming reconciled to Rome and conspiring against the state". Peck concurs, stating that Leicester was "intent upon rendering Sussex's allies politically useless".[126] The Spanish ambassador, Mendoza, was also of the view that Leicester was involved, and that the incident revolved around his opposition to the Queen's projected marriage to Alençon.[127]

The Privy Council ordered the arrest of Howard and Arundel,[128] and Oxford met secretly with Arundel to enlist his support for Oxford's allegations against Howard and Southwell.[128] According to his own later accounts of their meeting, Arundel refused Oxford's offer, and he and Howard sought asylum with Mendoza, who later wrote to King Philip of Spain that he accorded them sanctuary as Catholics to save their lives. On being assured they would only be placed under house arrest in a gentleman's house, they gave themselves up.[129]

Howard and Arundel were then interrogated, and released from the Tower to the custody of members of the Privy Council.[130] During the first weeks after their arrest they issued a stream of allegations against Oxford in pursuit of a threefold strategy by which they would admit to minor crimes, discredit Oxford as a witness against them, and demonstrate that Oxford posed a danger to the Crown.[131] Despite these efforts, Howard remained under house arrest into August, while Arundel was not freed from house arrest until October or November.[132] In the meantime Oxford was at liberty, and won the prize at a tournament at Westminster on 22 January 1581. His page's speech at the tournament, describing Oxford's appearance as the Knight of the Tree of the Sun, was published in 1592 in a pamphlet entitled Plato, Axiochus.[133]

Anne Vavasour, the Maid of Honour who gave birth to Oxford's son in the Queen's Privy Chamber

Oxford's triumph was short-lived. On 23 March 1581 Sir Francis Walsingham advised the Earl of Huntingdon that on 21 March Anne Vavasour, one of the Queen's Maids of Honour, had given birth to a son, and that 'the Earl of Oxford is avowed to be the father, who hath withdrawn himself with intent, as it is thought, to pass the seas'. Oxford was captured and imprisoned in the Tower, as was Anne for a time.[134] On 9 June the Privy Council wrote to Sir William Gorges[who?] that Oxford had been released from the Tower the previous day.[135] While Oxford was under house arrest in May 1581, Thomas Stocker dedicated to him his Divers Sermons of Master John Calvin, stating in the dedication that he had been 'brought up in your Lordship's father's house'.[136] Oxford was still under house arrest in mid-July,[137] but took part in an Accession Day tournament at Whitehall on 17 November 1581.[138]

After a five year separation, Oxford reconciled with his wife, Anne, at Christmas 1581.[139] His affair with Anne Vavasour continued to have repercussions. In March 1582 there was a fray in the streets of London between Oxford and Anne's uncle, Sir Thomas Knyvet. Richard Madox reported that 'my Lord of Oxford fought with Mr Knyvet about the quarrel of Besse Bavisar, and was hurt, and Gerret his man slain', while Nicholas Faunt wrote to Anthony Bacon that both men were hurt, 'but my Lord of Oxford more dangerously' adding that 'Mr Knyvet is not meanly beloved in Court, and therefore he is not like to speed ill, whatsoever the quarrel be'.[140] In a letter to Lord Burghley on 25 March 1595 Oxford offered to attend Lord Burghley at his house 'as well as a lame man might',[141] but whether his lameness resulted from the injuries sustained in the fray with Knyvet is unknown. There was another fray between Knyvet's and Oxford's men on 18 June, and a third on 22 June in which it was reported that Knyvet had 'slain a man of the Earl of Oxford's in fight'.[142]

In this troubled period Thomas Watson dedicated his Hekatompathia or Passionate Century of Love to Oxford, stating in the dedication that Oxford had taken a personal interest in the work.[143]

Oxford's standing in court was further compromised by unpaid debts. The Close Rolls contains record of a recognizance in the amount of £2000 acknowledged by Oxford to Sir William Spring of Lavenham on 19 February 1583 in connection with an indenture. A fine was levied regarding the sale of the manor of Earls Hall in Cockfield, Suffolk by Sir William Spring against Oxford in 1583. The Earl was forced to swear before the Queen to pay the money.[144]

Meanwhile the frays continued. Another of Oxford's men was slain on 21 February 1583,[145] and on 12 March Lord Burghley wrote to Sir Christopher Hatton[who?] mentioning the death of one of Knyvet's men, and thanking Hatton for his efforts 'to bring some good end to these troublesome matters betwixt my Lord and Oxford and Mr Thomas Knyvet'.[146] On 6 May 1583 Nicholas Faunt wrote to Anthony Bacon that 'God had sent my Lord of Oxford a son, but hath taken it away from him'. Oxford and Anne's infant son was buried at Castle Hedingham on 9 May.[147]

Oxford's two-year banishment from court ended a month after the death of his son. On 2 June 1583 Roger Manners wrote to the Earl of Rutland that Oxford had come to the Queen's presence, and 'after some bitter words and speeches, in the end all sins are forgiven, and he may repair to the court at his pleasure. Mr Raleigh was a great mean herein'.[148] As May notes, however, Oxford never regained his position as a courtier of the first magnitude.[149]

Middle years

On 6 April 1584, Oxford and Anne's daughter, Bridget, was born.[150]

In 1584 two works were dedicated to Oxford, Robert Greene's Gwydonius; The Card of Fancy, and John Southern's Pandora. Verses in the latter work mention Oxford's knowledge of astronomy, history, languages and music.[151]

Oxford's financial situation was steadily deteriorating. By the mid-1580s Oxford had sold almost all his inherited lands, alienating his principal source of income.[152] Moreover, as he stated in a letter to Lord Burghley on 30 October 1584, as a result of these sales he had:

entered into a great number of bonds to such as have purchased lands of me to discharge them of all encumbrances, and because I stand indebted unto her Majesty, as your Lordship knoweth, many of the said purchasers do greatly fear some trouble likely to fall upon them by reason of her Majesty's said debt, & especially if the bonds of the Lord Darcy and Sir William Waldegrave should be extended for the same, who have two several statutes of great sums for their discharge, whereupon many of the said purchasers have been suitors unto me to procure the discharging of her Majesty's said debt, and do seem very willing to bear the burden thereof if by my means the same might be stalled payable at some convenient days.[153]

Because Oxford's lands were security for his unpaid debt to the Queen in the Court of Wards, Oxford had had to enter into bonds to the purchasers as a guarantee that he would indemnify them if the Queen were to extend against the lands for his debt. To avoid this eventuality, the purchasers of his lands were willing to repay Oxford's debt to the Court of Wards if he could persuade the Queen to let them do so by instalments.[154]

During the mid-1580s Oxford's Men continued to perform at court, in the countryside, and in London. 'The Earl of Oxford his servants' received £20, paid to John Lyly for performances on 1 January and 3 March 1584, and on 1 January 1585 a troupe performed at court under the name of 'John Symons and other his fellows, servants to th' Earl of Oxford'.[155] Oxford's Men also had success touring the provinces, as indicated by records of performances from the years 1580 through 1587,[156] and in 1587 the company was one of four principal companies performing in London.[157] Oxford's company of boy players was also still in existence. On 27 December 1584 Henry Evans received payment "for one play... by the children of th' Earl of Oxford".[116] According to Chambers, the companies working at the Blackfriars under Lyly and Evans in 1583-4 were 'a combination of Oxford's boys, Paul's and the Chapel'.[158] For a time Oxford held a lease of the premises used by the boy companies in the Blackfriars. In a document dating from about 1585, Sir William More of Loseley complained that his property in the Blackfriars had gotten into the hands of a succession of sub-lessees, including Oxford and Lyly, after More had leased it to Richard Farrant.[159] Oxford also patronized a company of musicians, as evidenced by payments in 1584–85 by the cities of Oxford and Barnstaple to "the Earl of Oxford's musicians".[158]

On 19 January 1585 Anne Vavasour's brother Thomas sent Oxford a written challenge, which Oxford appears to have ignored.[160]

In 1585 negotiations were underway for King James to come to England to discuss the release of his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, and, on 4 March, Mendoza wrote to the King of Spain that Oxford was to be sent to Scotland as one of the hostages for the King's safety.[161]

In late summer of that year Oxford was commissioned to command a company of horse in the Low Countries. On 9 September it was reported that "five or six thousand English soldiers have arrived in Flanders with the earl of Oxford and Colonel Norris, and it is said that Sir Philip Sidney will follow them shortly to take possession of Flushing, ... and the earl of Leicester will then follow as chief of the expedition."[162] On 21 October William Davison reported that "My Lord of Oxford is returned this night into England, upon what humour I know not."[163]

On 25 June 1586 the Queen granted Oxford an annuity of £1000 a year 'to be continued unto him during our pleasure or until such time as he shall be by us otherwise provided for to be in some manner relieved, at what time our pleasure is that this payment of one thousand pounds yearly to our said cousin in manner above specified shall cease'.[164]

In October of that year Oxford was at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire for the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots, and was among the peers who on 13 October 'went unto her in her lodging', and 'remained with her almost the space of two hours, signifying unto her that if she would not come forth before the Commissioners they would proceed against her' in her absence.[165]

In 1586 Angel Day dedicated to Oxford his The English Secretary, the first epistolary manual for writing model letters in English, noting that Oxford was one 'whose infancy from the beginning was ever sacred to the Muses'.[166] In the same year William Webbe wrote in his Discourse of English Poetry that:

I may not omit the deserved commendations of many honourable and noble Lords and gentlemen in her Majesty's court which in the rare devices of poetry have been and yet are most excellent skilful, among whom the right honourable Earl of Oxford may challenge to himself the title of the most excellent among the rest.[167]

Oxford and Anne's daughter Susan was born on 26 May 1587.

On 1 July 1587 the Queen granted Oxford lands which had belonged to Edward Jones, who had been attainted and executed for his part in the Babington plot. The grant was made in the name of two trustees in order to protect it from Oxford's creditors.[168]

On 12 September 1587, Oxford and Anne's daughter, Frances, was buried at Edmonton. Although her birthdate is unknown, she must have been between one and three years of age.[169]

Earlier in the year a plan had finally been devised for the purchasers of Oxford's lands to pay his debt to the Court of Wards, and on 29 November 'the decree was made whereby the Earl's whole debt of £3306 18s 9-1/4d was appointed to be paid by the purchasers' over a five-year period, finishing in 1592.[169] By 1 July 1591 only £800 remained unpaid.[170]

On 15 December 1587 Lord Burghley defended himself against accusations that he had not tried to further Oxford’s advancement, writing to Oxford in part:

Secondly, that there hath been no ways prepared for your preferment I do utterly deny, and can particularly make it manifest by testimony of Councillors how often I have propounded ways to prefer you to services, but why these could not take place I must not particularly set them down in writing, lest either I discover the hinderers, or offend yourself in showing th’ allegations to impeach your Lordship from such preferments.[171]

On 5 June 1588 Oxford's first wife, Anne, died at court of a fever at the age of 31. She lies buried in Westminster Abbey.[172]

In July and August 1588 England was threatened by the Spanish Armada. Richard Hakluyt lists Oxford as among those 'great and honourable personages' who flocked to the English Channel to serve prince and country,[173] and the manuscript of a pamphlet published in 1588 contains an interlineation in Lord Burghley's hand stating that "the Earl of Oxford also in this time repaired to the sea coast for service of the Queen in the navy".[174] The nature of Oxford's service is unclear. On 28 July Leicester, who was in overall command of the English land troops, advised Walsingham that Oxford had gone to London "for his armour and furniture" and would return to Tilbury. Leicester asked for instructions, stating that "I trust he be free to go to the enemy, for he seems most willing to hazard his life in this quarrel".[175] On 1 August Leicester wrote to Walsingham that the Queen had consented to allow Oxford to serve and that:

she was pleased that he should have the government of Harwich ... a place of trust & of great danger. My Lord seemed at first to like well of it, afterward he came to me & told me he thought that place of no service nor credit, and therefore he would to the court and understand Her Majesty's further pleasure to which I would not be against, but must desire you as I know Her Majesty will also make him know that it was of good grace to appoint that place to him having no more experience than he hath, and then to use the matter as you shall think good. For my own part ... I am glad to be rid of my Lord of Oxford seeing he refuseth this, & I pray you let me not be pressed any more for him, what suit soever he make.[176]

By 20 December 1588 Oxford had secretly sold his London mansion of Fisher's Folly to Sir William Cornwallis (c.1551–1611).[177]

In 1588 Anthony Munday dedicated to Oxford the two parts of his Palmerin d'Oliva.[178]

On 14 April 1589 Oxford was among the peers who found Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, the eldest son and heir of Oxford's cousin, Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, guilty of treason.[179]

In that year The Arte of English Poesie, usually attributed to George Puttenham, placed Oxford among a 'crew' of courtier poets:

And in her Maiesties time that now is are sprong vp an other crew of Courtly makers Noble men and Gentlemen of her Maiesties owne seruauntes, who haue written excellently well as it would appeare if their doings could be found out and made publicke with the rest, of which number is first that noble Gentleman Edward Earle of Oxford, Thomas Lord of Bukhurst, when he was young, Henry Lord Paget, Sir Philip Sydney, Sir Walter Rawleigh, Master Edward Dyar, Maister Fulke Greuille, Gascon, Britton, Turberuille, and a great many other learned Gentlemen.[180]

Puttenham also considered Oxford among the best comic playwrights of the day:

Of the later sort I thinke thus. That for Tragedie, the Lord of Buckhurst, & Maister Edward Ferrys for such doings as I haue sene of theirs do deserue the hyest price: Th'Earle of Oxford and Maister Edwardes of her Maiesties Chappell for Comedy and interlude.[181]

In 1590 Edmund Spenser appended a sonnet to Oxford in his The Faerie Queen, referring to 'the love which thou dost bear/ To th' Heliconian imps and they to thee', likely in reference to Oxford's literary protegees Lyly, Munday, Greene and Watson, 'and now, at least prospectively, Spenser himself'.[182]

By July 1590 discussions were underway between Lord Burghley and Viscount Montague for a marriage between Oxford's daughter, Elizabeth, and the Earl of Southampton, then a royal ward.[183]

On 6 January 1591 Thomas Churchyard wrote to Juliana Penne[who?] concerning rent owing for rooms he had taken in her house on behalf of Oxford.[184]

On 18 May 1591 Oxford, clearly weary of the unsettled life of a courtier, wrote to Lord Burghley outlining a plan to purchase the demesnes of Denbigh in Wales if the Queen would consent, offering to pay for the lands by commuting his £1000 annuity and relinquishing his claim to the Forest of Essex:[185]

Oxford concludes: 'So shall my children be provided for, myself at length settled in quiet and, I hope, your Lordship contented, remaining no cause for you to think me an evil father, nor any doubt in me but that I may enjoy that friendship from your Lordship that so near a match, and not fruitless, may lawfully expect'.[186]

In the spring of 1591 the plan by which the purchasers of Oxford's lands were repaying his debt to the Court of Wards was disrupted by extents by the Queen against some of the lands.[170][187] In the same letter of 18 May 1591 Oxford complained that his servant Thomas Hampton had fraudulently taken advantage of these extents by taking money from the tenants of the lands to his own use, and had also fraudulently colluded with another of Oxford's servants, Israel Amyce, to pass a document under the Great Seal of England to Oxford's detriment.[188] Although the details are unclear, Thomas Skinner was also involved in the fraud occasioned by the Queen's extents against Oxford's lands.[187] On 30 June 1591 Oxford wrote to Lord Burghley reminding him that he had agreed with the Queen to forego his claim regarding the Forest of Essex for three reasons, including the Queen's reluctance to punish Skinner's felony.[189]

In 1591 the composer John Farmer, who was in Oxford's service at the time, dedicated The First Set of Divers & Sundry Ways of Two Parts in One, to Oxford, noting in the dedication Oxford's love of music ('I was the rather emboldened for your Lordship's great affection to this noble science').[190]

Remarriage and suits to the Queen

Portrait of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.

On 4 July 1591 Oxford sold the Great Garden property at Aldgate to John Wolley and his future brother-in-law, Francis Trentham.[191] The arrangement was stated to be for the benefit of Elizabeth Trentham, then one of the Queen's Maids of Honour, whom Oxford married later that year. An entry records a gift from the Queen to 'the Countess of Oxford at her marriage the 27 of December Anno 34'.[192]

In July of that year Oxford applied to the Queen for a licence to import oils, fruits and wools, citing the promise the Queen had given him when he had abandoned his suit for the Forest of Essex at her command.[193]

In 1591-2 Oxford disposed of the last of his large estates. In late 1591 he sold Castle Hedingham, the seat of his earldom, to Lord Burghley in trust for his three daughters by his first marriage, Elizabeth, Bridget and Susan.[194] On 7 February 1592 he sold Colne Priory to Roger Harlakenden, who purchased in the name of his son, Richard.[195] The sale resulted in lawsuits by Oxford for fraud against Roger Harlakenden which dragged on into the next generation.[196]

On 24 February 1593 Oxford's only surviving son and heir, Henry de Vere, was born at Stoke Newington, where 'the Earl of Oxford is sometime resident in a very proper house'.[197]

On 25 October 1593 Oxford wrote to Lord Burghley concerning his suit for a licence to import oils, fruits and wools, again citing the Queen's promise made to him when she had commanded him to abandon his claim to the Forest of Essex:

My very good Lord, I hope it is not out of your remembrance how long sithence I have been a suitor to her Majesty that she would give me leave to try my title to the forest at the law, but I found that so displeasing unto her that, in place of receiving that ordinary favour which is of course granted to the meanest subject, I was browbeaten and had many bitter speeches given me.[198]

Oxford reminds Lord Burghley that the Queen had committed the matter to Sir Christopher Hatton for arbitration,[199] but when Hatton was ready to deliver his report, the Queen:

flatly refused therein to hear my Lord Chancellor, and for a final answer commanded me no more to follow the suit for, whether it was hers or mine, she was resolved to dispose thereof at her pleasure.[197]

On 7 July 1594 Oxford wrote to Lord Burghley concerning abuses in his office of Lord Great Chamberlain which had prejudiced both himself and the Queen.[200]

On 25 September 1594, King Henri IV of France wrote to Oxford, thanking him for 'the good offices you have performed on my behalf in [the Queen's] presence'.[201]

About this time Anthony Munday dedicated to Oxford his Primaleon; The First Book. The dedication is lost; however in the dedication of the second edition in 1619 to Oxford's heir, Munday recalls that 'these three several parts of Primaleon of Greece were the tribute of my duty and service' to 'that most noble Earl, your father'.[202]

In late 1594 negotiations for a marriage between Oxford's daughter, Elizabeth, and the Earl of Southampton came to an end. In a letter endorsed 19 November 1594, six weeks after Southampton turned 21, the Jesuit Henry Garnett wrote that 'the young Earl of Southampton, refusing the Lady Vere, payeth £5000 of present money'.[203]

On 26 January 1595 Oxford's daughter Elizabeth married William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby.[204] A few months later, on 24 April, Oxford wrote to his brother-in-law, Sir Robert Cecil, stating that he had 'dealt with the Earl of Derby about my daughter's allowance' and that Derby had promised to assure his new bride £1000 a year, but was now about to leave for Lancashire without having made any financial provision for her.[205]

From March to August of 1595 Oxford actively pursued a suit, in competition with Lord Buckhurst, to farm the tin mines in Cornwall.[206] On 20 March 1595 he wrote to Lord Burghley, summing up past years of fruitless attempts to amend his financial situation:

[I] heartily desire your lordship to have a feeling of mine infortunate estate, which although it be far unfit to endure delays, yet have consumed four or five years in a flattering hope of idle words. But now, having received this comfortable message of furtherance & favour from your Lordship, although her Majesty be forgetful of herself, yet by such a good mean I do not doubt if you list but that I may receive some fruit of all my travail. This last year past I have been a suitor to her Majesty that I might farm her tins, giving £3000 a year more than she had made.[207]

Oxford's letters and memoranda indicate that he pursued his suit into early 1596 and renewed it again in 1599,but was ultimately unsuccessful in obtaining the tin monopoly.[208]

On 20 October 1595 Oxford wrote to Sir Robert Cecil mentioning friction between himself and the Earl of Essex, partly over the Forest of Essex:

[Lord Burghley] wisheth me to make means to the Earl of Essex that he would forbear to deal for it [i.e. the Forest of Essex], a thing I cannot do in honour sith I have already received divers injuries and wrongs from him which bar me of all such base courses.[209]

The next day Oxford wrote again to his brother-in-law on the subject of his claim to the Forest, terming him 'the only person that I dare rely upon in the court'. Unlike Lord Burghley, however, Sir Robert Cecil seems to have done little to further Oxford's interests.[210]

On 28 March Oxford advised Michael Hicks that he was unable to go to court because he had not yet fully recovered from an illness. On 4 June he wrote to Lord Burghley that 'I have been this day let blood',[141] and on 7 August he wrote to Burghley from Byfleet, where he gone for his health:

I most heartily thank your Lordship for your desire to know of my health, which is not so good yet as I wish it. I find comfort in this air, but no fortune in the court.[211]

On 9 November Rowland Whyte[who?] wrote to Sir Robert Sidney that 'Some say my Lord of Oxford is dead'.[212] Whether the rumour of Oxford's death was related to the illness mentioned in his letters earlier in the year is unknown.

On 11 January 1597 Oxford wrote to Sir Robert Cecil concerning a petition to the Privy Council by Thomas Gurlyn against Oxford's wife, Elizabeth. The background to Gurlyn's petition is obscure, but appears to relate to events which transpired shortly after Oxford's arrival in the Low Countries on 27 August 1585. Gurlyn's claim was dismissed at trial.[213]

In 1597 Oxford's servant, Henry Lok, published his Ecclesiastes containing a sonnet to Oxford.[182] On 2 September 1597 the executors of Sir Rowland Hayward[who?] were authorized to sell King's Place in Hackney to Oxford's wife, Elizabeth, and three of her kinsmen.[214]

On 8 September Oxford again spoke of ill health, writing to Lord Burghley that 'I am sorry that I have not an able body which might have served to attend her Majesty in the place where she is, being especially there, whither without any other occasion than to see your Lordship I would always willingly go'.[215] On 14 December 1597 Oxford attended his last Parliament, perhaps another indication of failing health.[215]

Oxford's father-in-law, Lord Burghley, died on 4 August 1598 at the age of 78, leaving substantial bequests to Oxford's two unmarried daughters, Bridget and Susan.[216] Any hope Oxford might have had of assuming parental care of his daughters was dashed by Sir Robert Cecil, who wrote to Michael Hicks that 'whether he that never gave them groat, hath a second wife and another child be a fit guardian, consider you'.[217]

In his Palladis Tamia, published in 1598, Francis Meres referred to Oxford as one of "the best for Comedy amongst vs".[167]

On 28 April 1599 Oxford was sued by Judith Ruswell, widow of William Ruswell,[who?] for an alleged debt of £500 for services rendered by Ruswell as a tailor 18 or 20 years earlier. Oxford defended the suit, alleging that not only had he paid Ruswell, but that Ruswell had subsequently absconded with 'cloth of gold and silver and other stuff' belonging to Oxford worth £800. The outcome of the suit is unknown.[218]

Earlier negotiations for a marriage to William Herbert having fallen through, in May or June 1599 Oxford's 15-year-old daughter Bridget married Francis Norris.[219]

In 1599 John Farmer dedicated a second book to Oxford, The First Set of English Madrigals, alluding in the dedication to Oxford's own proficiency as a musician ('without flattery be it spoken, those that know your Lordship know this, that using this science as a recreation, your Lordship have overgone most of them that make it a profession'.[220] In the same year, George Baker dedicated a second book to Oxford, his Practice of the New and Old Physic, a translation of a work by Conrad Gesner, stating that he had published it under Oxford's 'honourable protection . . . because your wit, learning and authority hath great force and strength in repressing the curious crakes of the envious'.[202]

Two entries in the Stationers' Register attest to the continued existence of Oxford's Men in the early 1600s. The Weakest Goeth to the Wall was registered on 23 October 1600 as having been "sundry times played by the right honourable the Earl of Oxenford, Lord Great Chamberlain of England, his servants", while The True History of George Scanderbeg was registered on 3 July 1601 "as it was lately played by the right honourable the Earl of Oxenford his servants".[221]

In July 1600 Oxford wrote requesting Sir Robert Cecil's help in securing an appointment as Governor of the Isle of Jersey, once again citing the Queen's unfulfilled promises to him:

Although my bad success in former suits to her Majesty have given me cause to bury my hopes in the deep abyss and bottom of despair rather than now to attempt, after so many trials made in vain & so many opportunities escaped, the effects of fair words or fruits of golden promises, yet for that I cannot believe but that there hath been always a true correspondency of word and intention in her Majesty, I do conjecture that with a little help that which of itself hath brought forth so fair blossoms will also yield fruit. Wherefore having moved her Majesty lately about the office of the Isle....[222]

On 2 February 1601 Oxford again wrote to Cecil for his support, this time for the office of President of Wales.[223] As with his former suits, Oxford was again unsuccessful. About this time he was also listed on the Pipe Rolls as owing £20 for the subsidy.[224]

After the abortive Essex rebellion on 8 February 1601, Oxford was 'the senior of the twenty-five noblemen' who rendered verdicts at the treason trials of Essex and Southampton.[225] After Essex's co-conspirator Sir Charles Danvers was executed on 18 March 1601, Oxford became involved in a complicated suit concerning the Queen's right to lands which had escheated to the Crown at Danvers' attainder, a suit opposed by Danvers' kinsmen.[226] On 7 August Lord Buckhurst and Sir John Fortescue wrote to the Attorney-General, Sir Edward Coke, that "my Lord of Oxford doth desire that he may have a copy of the case as you have collected it out of the evidences showed before us to the intent he may consider thereof with his learned counsel for the benefit of her Majesty, as he affirmeth, the which we think fit he have".[227]

While pursuing the Danvers suit, Oxford continued to suffer from ill health. On 7 October he wrote to Cecil saying that 'if my health had been to my mind, I would have been before this at the court'. On 22 November he wrote again, saying that "In that I have not sent an answer to your last letter as you might expect, I shall desire you to hold me for excused sith ever sithence the receipt thereof by reason of my sickness I have not been able to write", and asking that Cecil "bear with the weakness of my lame hand".[228]

On 4 December Oxford wrote again to Cecil, expressing shock that Cecil, who had encouraged him to undertake the Danvers suit, had now withdrawn his support.[229]

As with his other suits aimed at improving his financial situation, this last of Oxford's suits to the Queen ended in disappointment. On 22 March 1602 he wrote to Cecil: "It is now a year sithence by your only means her Majesty granted her interest in Danvers' escheat. I had only then her word from your mouth. I find by this waste of time that lands will not be carried without deeds."[229] Oxford's only successful suit to the Queen during these years involved his playing company. On 31 March 1602 the Privy Council sent a letter to the Lord Mayor of London, Sir John Garrard:

We received your letter signifying some amendment of the abuses or disorders by the immoderate exercise of stage plays in and about the city by means of our late order renewed for the restraint of them, and withal showing a special inconvenience yet remaining by reason that the servants of our very good Lord the Earl of Oxford, and of me, the Earl of Worcester, being joined by agreement together in one company, to whom, upon notice of her Majesty's pleasure at the suit of the Earl of Oxford, toleration hath been thought meet to be granted, notwithstanding the restraint of our said former orders, do not tie themselves to one certain place and house, but do change their place at their own disposition, which is as disorderly and offensive as the former offence of many houses, and as the other companies that are allowed, namely of me, the Lord Admiral, and the Lord Chamberlain, be appointed their certain houses, and one and no more to each company, so we do straitly require that this third company be likewise appointed to one place. And because we are informed the house called the Boar's Head is the place they have especially used and do best like of, we do pray and require you that that said house, namely the Boar's Head, may be assigned unto them, and that they be very straitly charged to use and exercise their plays in no other but that house, as they will look to have that toleration continued and avoid farther displeasure.[230][231]

Last years

In the early morning of 24 March 1603 Queen Elizabeth died without naming a successor.[232] A few days before the Queen's death Oxford entertained the Earl of Lincoln, a nobleman known for his erratic and violent behaviour, at his house at Hackney, and after dinner:

discourse[d] with him of the impossibility of the Queen's life, and that the nobility, being peers of the realm, were bound to take care for the common good of the state in the cause of succession, in the which himself, meaning the Earl of Lincoln, ought to have more regard than others because he had a nephew of the blood royal, naming my Lord Hastings, whom he persuaded the Earl of Lincoln to send for, and that there should be means used to convey him over into France where he should find friends that would make him a party, of the which there was a precedent in former times.[233]

Lincoln relayed his conversation with Oxford to Sir John Peyton, Lieutenant of the Tower, who later defended his refusal to take Lincoln's report as a serious threat to King James' accession:

At the first apprehension of my Lord of Lincoln's discovery I was much moved and troubled, but when he had made me understand what great person it was whom he meant, I knew him to be so weak in body, in friends, in ability and all other means to raise any combustion in the state as I never feared anything to proceed from so feeble a foundation.[234]

In light of his discussion with Oxford, Lincoln was astonished to find Oxford's name among the signatories to the proclamation of James of Scotland as King immediately after the Queen's death.[235]

On 25 and 27 April 1603 Oxford wrote to Cecil:

I have always found myself beholding to you for many kindnesses and courtesies, wherefore I am bold at this present, which giveth occasion of many considerations, to desire you as my very good friend and kind brother-in-law to impart to me what course is devised by you of the Council & the rest of the Lords concerning our duties to the King's Majesty, whether you do expect any messenger before his coming to let us understand his pleasure, or else his personal arrival to be presently or very shortly. And, if it be so, what order is resolved on amongst you, either for the attending or meeting of his Majesty for, by reason of mine infirmity, I cannot come among you so often as I wish, and by reason my house is not so near that at every occasion I can be present, as were fit.[236]

In the same letter Oxford expressed his grief at the late Queen's death, and his fears for the future:

I cannot but find a great grief in myself to remember the mistress which we have lost, under whom both you and myself from our greenest years have been in a manner brought up, and although it hath pleased God after an earthly kingdom to take her up into a more permanent and heavenly state wherein I do not doubt but she is crowned with glory, and to give us a prince wise, learned and enriched with all virtues, yet the long time which we spent in her service we cannot look for so much left of our days as to bestow upon another, neither the long acquaintance and kind familiarities wherewith she did use us we are not ever to expect from another prince, as denied by the infirmity of age and common course of reason. In this common shipwreck, mine is above all the rest who, least regarded though often comforted of all her followers, she hath left to try my fortune among the alterations of time and chance, either without sail whereby to take the advantage of any prosperous gale or with anchor to ride till the storm be overpassed. There is nothing therefore left to my comfort but the excellent virtues and deep wisdom wherewith God hath endued our new master and sovereign Lord, who doth not come amongst us as a stranger but as a natural prince, succeeding by right of blood and inheritance, not as a conqueror but as the true shepherd of Christ's flock to cherish and comfort them.[237]

Oxford fears were ill-founded, however. In letters to Cecil in May and June 1603 he again pressed his decades-long claim to be restored to the keepership of Waltham Forest and the house and park of Havering, and on 18 July 1603 the new King granted his suit.[238] On 25 July Oxford was among those who officiated at the King's coronation.[239] On 2 August King James confirmed Oxford's annuity of £1000.[240]

On 18 June 1604 Oxford granted the custody of the Forest of Essex to his son-in-law, Lord Norris, and his cousin, Sir Francis Vere.[241] Six days later Oxford died on 24 June 1604 of unknown causes at King's Place, Hackney, without leaving a will,[242] and was buried on 6 July in the parish church of St. Augustine.[243] In her will, his widow, Elizabeth, requested that she too be buried 'in the church of Hackney . . . as near unto the body of my late dear and noble Lord and husband as may be; only I will that there be in the said church erected for us a tomb fitting our degree'.[244] Although the Countess's will and parish registers confirm Oxford's burial at Hackney, his cousin Percival Golding later stated that his body lies at Westminster:

I will only speak what all men's voices confirm: he was a man in mind and body absolutely accomplished with honourable endowments. He died at his house at Hackney in the month of June anno 1604, and lieth buried at Westminster.[245]

Heirs and inheritance

By his first marriage to Anne Cecil Oxford had a son and a daughter who died young, and three daughters who survived infancy. The Earl's daughters all married into the peerage. Elizabeth married William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby. Bridget married Francis Norris, 1st Earl of Berkshire. Susan married Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery.

By his mistress Anne Vavasour Oxford had an illegitimate son, Sir Edward Vere.[246]

By his second wife, Elizabeth Trentham, Oxford had his only surviving legitimate son and heir, Henry de Vere, later 18th Earl of Oxford.

As noted earlier, 12 years before his death Oxford had sold his interest in Castle Hedingham to Lord Burghley in trust for his three daughters by his first marriage. After the death of Oxford's widow, Elizabeth, their son, Henry, inherited the remainder of Oxford's estate. Two inquisitions post mortem were taken after Oxford's death, the first in 1604 for his property in Essex, the second in 1608 for his Great Garden property in London.[247] Magdalene College brought suit against Oxford’s heir for the Great Garden property, and legal proceedings continued for decades.[248] The value of the property to both Magdalene College and Oxford's heir is indicated by a 1615 case in Chancery stating that in 1575:[249]

[T]he Queen at the suit of the said College licensed them to alien . . . .The same was accordingly performed by a conveyance to her Majesty, and from her Majesty to Spinola, and the rectory from Spinola to the College, after which Spinola and the Earl of Oxford, his assignee and his under-tenants have built upon the garden 130 houses, and therein bestowed £10,000, which assignee and his under-tenants have bonds and security given for the enjoyment thereof to the sum of £20,000.


Eight poems by Oxford were published in The Paradise of Dainty Devises (1576)

Oxford was, in the words of Gordon Braden, 'famously improvident with his fortune and erratic in his behaviour.'[250]

A stream of dedications attests to Oxford's intellectual reputation and his lifelong patronage of writers, musicians and actors. Stephen May terms Oxford 'a nobleman with extraordinary intellectual interests and commitments', whose biography exhibits a 'lifelong devotion to learning'.[251] Of the thirty-three works dedicated to him, forty percent were literary and thirteen consisted of original and translated works of literature. The figures suggest he was more sought out for patronage than other peers of similar means and with some reputation for cultivating the arts.[252]

As noted above, Oxford maintained companies of boy actors and men players in the years from 1580 to 1602, held the lease of the Blackfriars Theatre for a time, and patronized a company of musicians.

Oxford also had a high reputation as a poet amongst his contemporaries, and his verses were published in several poetry miscellanies. Of his 16 canonical poems, his modern editor Steven May says that they are the 'output of a competent, fairly experiement poet working in the established modes of mid-century lyric verse.'[253]

Contemporary critics such as Webbe and Puttenham praised his poetic ability, and the latter quoted his verses:[254]


When wert thou borne desire?
In pompe and pryme of May,
By whom sweete boy wert thou begot?
By good conceit men say,
Tell me who was thy nurse?
Fresh youth in sugred ioy.
What was thy meate and dayly foode?
Sad sighes with great annoy.
What hadst thou then to drinke?
Vnfayned louers teares.
What cradle wert thou rocked in?

In hope deuoyde of feares.

Shakespeare authorship question

In Shakespeare Identified, published in 1920, J. Thomas Looney, an English schoolteacher, proposed Oxford as a candidate for the authorship of Shakespeare's works. His theory was based on perceived analogies between Oxford's life and poetic techniques in Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. It supplanted an earlier popular theory involving Francis Bacon. Academic consensus rejects alternative candidates for authorship, including Oxford.[255]

This authorship idea is dramatized in the 2011 film, Anonymous, with Rhys Ifans, Jamie Campbell Bower and Luke Thomas Taylor playing de Vere at different ages.


  1. ^ a b May 2007, p. 61
  2. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 265, 378
  3. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 236–239, 380–384
  4. ^ Ward 1928, pp. 274–275; Nelson 2003, pp. 386–387
  5. ^ a b c Cokayne 1945, p. 250; Nelson 2003, p. 20
  6. ^ Ward 1928, p. 9
  7. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 20
  8. ^ a b Nelson 2003, p. 23
  9. ^ Ward 1928, p. 7
  10. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 33
  11. ^ MacCulloch 1984, pp. 263–4, 266
  12. ^ Loades 1989, pp. 181, 184
  13. ^ Ward 1928, pp. 9–10
  14. ^ Ward 1928, pp. 10–11; Nelson 2003, pp. 13, 239
  15. ^ Ward 1928, p. 10
  16. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 34:'Oxford had lived with surrogate parents from a young age, including Cambridge dons at eight, and Sir Thomas Smith at nine.'
  17. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 24–25,115,145
  18. ^ Pearson 2005, pp. 14, 222
  19. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 447
  20. ^ Bulbeck, Edward in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  21. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 25
  22. ^ Pearson 2005, p. 36
  23. ^ Paul 2006, pp. 91–112
  24. ^ Pearson 2005, p. 14
  25. ^ Ward 1928, p. 20
  26. ^ Ward 1928, p. 21
  27. ^ Ward 1928, pp. 20–21
  28. ^ Ward 1928, pp. 20–21: precocity quite out of the ordinary'.
  29. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 39:'Some eight months after young Oxford entered Cecil house, Lawrence Nowell wrote to Cecil:'I clearly see that my work for the Earl of Oxford cannot be much longer required.' Perhaps Oxford surpassed Nowell's capacity to instruct him. More likely — since nothing indicates that Oxford was an enthusiastic scholar, and much indicates that he was not — Nowell found the youth intractable'.
  30. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 43
  31. ^ Ward 1928, pp. 23–24:'It is not unknown to others, and I have had experience thereof myself, how earnest a desire your Honour hath naturally grafted in you to read, peruse and communicate with others, as well as the histories of ancient times and things done long ago, as also the present estate of things in our days, and that not without a certain pregnancy of wit and ripeness of understanding'.
  32. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 40–41
  33. ^ a b Nelson 2003, p. 41
  34. ^ G.E.C. 1945, pp. 249–250
  35. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 49
  36. ^ Ward 1928, p. 30
  37. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 42–45
  38. ^ Ward 1928, p. 27
  39. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 46
  40. ^ Ward 1928, p. 31
  41. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 47
  42. ^ Ward 1928, p. 28
  43. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 48.151:'I did my best to have the jury find the death of a poor man whom he killed in my house to be found se defendendo'.
  44. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 50
  45. ^ Ward 1928, pp. 31–3
  46. ^ Ward 1928, pp. 30–31
  47. ^ Ward 1928, pp. 39–41,48
  48. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 52–53
  49. ^ Ward 1928, pp. 49–50:The letters have not survived, and are only known through Dee's reference to them in a book published in 1592.
  50. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 58–60
  51. ^ May 1980, p. 6.
  52. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 70–71:'Formal certification of his freedom was deferred until May 1572'.
  53. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 71
  54. ^ Ward 1928, pp. 56–61
  55. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 68–70
  56. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 69–70:The challengers were Edward, Earl of Oxford, Charles Howard, Sir Henry Lee, and Christopher Hatton, esquire, who all did very valiantly, but the chief honour was given to the Earl of Oxford.
  57. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 70:George Delves, one of the defenders in the tournament, wrote to the Earl of Rutland that 'There is no man of life and agility in every respect in the Court but the Earl of Oxford'
  58. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 73
  59. ^ May 2007, pp. 61–62
  60. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 71–72
  61. ^ Pearson 2005, pp. 28–29
  62. ^ Pearson 2005, pp. 28,38
  63. ^ Nelson 2005, pp. 101, 106–107, 141
  64. ^ Hurstfield 1958, pp. 169–176
  65. ^ PRO 1966, p. 450
  66. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 53–4, 80–82, 84
  67. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 95
  68. ^ Nicolas 1847, pp. 28–9
  69. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 99–104
  70. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 108
  71. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 108–116
  72. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 119
  73. ^ Pearson 2006, p. 44
  74. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 120
  75. ^ Pearson 2006, pp. 43–44; Nelson 2003, p. 120
  76. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 121
  77. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 125, 164, 176
  78. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 128, 130
  79. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 132
  80. ^ a b Nelson 2003, p. 134
  81. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 131
  82. ^ May 1980, p. 6
  83. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 135–137
  84. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 127
  85. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 123
  86. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 129
  87. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 142
  88. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 145–146
  89. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 141–154
  90. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 154
  91. ^ May 1980, pp. 68–73; May 1991, p. 53; May 2007, p. 66
  92. ^ May 1991, p. 53
  93. ^ May 1980, p. 6
  94. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 172–173, 176, 179
  95. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 169
  96. ^ Kennedy 2004, p. 169
  97. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 173
  98. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 187
  99. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 176–177
  100. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 178–179
  101. ^ Pearson 2006, p. 229
  102. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 186–188
  103. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 180
  104. ^ a b Nelson 2003, p. 181
  105. ^ a b Nelson 2003, p. 190
  106. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 195–200
  107. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 200–201, 203
  108. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 237–8
  109. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 228
  110. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 225–226
  111. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 225–228
  112. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 230
  113. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 239
  114. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 240
  115. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 242
  116. ^ a b Nelson 2003, p. 247
  117. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 244–245
  118. ^ Pearson 2005, pp. 46–51
  119. ^ Jones 2008
  120. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 230–231
  121. ^ Bennell 2004
  122. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 238, 247; Bergeron 2007
  123. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 238
  124. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 249
  125. ^ Bossy 1959, p. 8
  126. ^ Peck 1985, pp. 16, 19–20; Nelson 2003, p. 250
  127. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 251
  128. ^ a b Nelson 2003, p. 252
  129. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 253–254
  130. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 254–259
  131. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 259
  132. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 260, 268, 274, 275
  133. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 261–5
  134. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 266; Chambers 1936, pp. 155–156
  135. ^ Ward 1928, p. 211; Nelson 2003, pp. 269–270
  136. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 380
  137. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 270–272
  138. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 277–278
  139. ^ Ward 1928, pp. 278–280
  140. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 280
  141. ^ a b Nelson 2003, p. 357
  142. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 281–282;Nicolas 1847, pp. 256–257
  143. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 281–282
  144. ^ http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com/Chancery/C_54-1171_Part_25_Sp.pdf
  145. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 283
  146. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 284–285;; Nicolas 1847, pp. 321–324
  147. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 289–290
  148. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 285–286, 290–291
  149. ^ May 1991, p. 269
  150. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 293, 322
  151. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 59–60, 381
  152. ^ Pearson 2005, p. 52
  153. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 294
  154. ^ Pearson 2005, pp. 35, 192
  155. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 247–8
  156. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 245–6
  157. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 246–7
  158. ^ a b Nelson 2003, p. 248
  159. ^ Smith 1964, p. 467
  160. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 295–296
  161. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 296
  162. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 296–297
  163. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 297
  164. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 301
  165. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 302
  166. ^ Beebee 1999, p. 32; Nelson 2003, p. 381
  167. ^ a b Nelson 2003, pp. 386–387
  168. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 303–306
  169. ^ a b Nelson 2003, p. 306
  170. ^ a b Pearson 2005, p. 35
  171. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 306–307
  172. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 309–310
  173. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 311–312
  174. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 314–316
  175. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 316
  176. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 317–318
  177. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 319–320
  178. ^ Bergeron 2007
  179. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 321
  180. ^ Puttenham 1936, p. 61
  181. ^ Puttenham 1936, p. 63
  182. ^ a b Nelson 2003, p. 383
  183. ^ Akrigg 1936, pp. 31–32
  184. ^ Smith 1977, pp. 87–88; Nelson 2003, pp. 328–329
  185. ^ Whereas I have heard her Majesty meant to sell unto one Middleton, a merchant, and one Carmarden the demesnes of Denbigh which, as I am informed, is £230 by yearly rent now as it is, I would be an humble suitor to her Majesty that I might have had this bargain, paying the £8000 as they should have done, accepting for £5000 thereof the pension which she hath given me in the Exchequer, and the other £3000 the next term, or upon such reasonable days as her Majesty would grant me by her favour. And, further, if her Majesty would not accept the pension for £5000, that then she would yet take unto it, to make it up that value, the title of the forest which, by all counsel of law, and conscience, is as good right unto me as any other land in England. And I think her Majesty makes no evil bargain, and I would be glad to be sure of something that were mine own and that I might possess.Nelson 2003, pp. 331–332
  186. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 332
  187. ^ a b Nelson 2003, p. 334
  188. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 330
  189. ^ .Nelson 2003, pp. 332–3:First in consideration of her promise, then for the forbearing of Skinner's felony, which was proved by witnesses examined, confessed by his fellow Catcher, and yet resting in the hands of her Majesty's Attorney. Last of all to disburden me of the £20,000 bonds and statute which the same Skinner had caused me to forfeit by procuring of his own land to be extended for the £400 which he did agree with the rest of the purchasers to pay for his portion into the Court of Wards, minding to benefit himself by the same.
  190. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 381
  191. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 335; Pearson 2005, p. 49
  192. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 336–337
  193. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 337–338
  194. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 335, 367
  195. ^ Pearson 2005, pp. 192–193
  196. ^ Pearson 2005, pp. 192–196; Nelson 2003, pp. 346–348
  197. ^ a b Nelson 2003, p. 343
  198. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 343–344
  199. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 343–344, 351–352
  200. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 348
  201. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 349
  202. ^ a b Nelson 2003, p. 382
  203. ^ Akrigg 1968, p. 39; Nelson 2003, p. 323
  204. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 349–350
  205. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 350–351
  206. ^ Pearson 2005, pp. 56–57
  207. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 355
  208. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 356–358
  209. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 352
  210. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 352–353
  211. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 353, 357
  212. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 354
  213. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 361–367
  214. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 368
  215. ^ a b Nelson 2003, p. 369
  216. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 370–373
  217. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 373
  218. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 376–379
  219. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 369, 374–376
  220. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 381–382
  221. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 391
  222. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 394
  223. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 396–398
  224. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 396
  225. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 397
  226. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 398–402, 407
  227. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 399
  228. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 400–401
  229. ^ a b Nelson 2003, p. 401
  230. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 391–392
  231. ^ Chambers 2009, p. 225
  232. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 408
  233. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 414
  234. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 415
  235. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 415; Larkin 1973, pp. 1–4
  236. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 418–419
  237. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 419
  238. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 420–421, 423
  239. ^ Nichol 1828, pp. 230, 233
  240. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 423
  241. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 425
  242. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 431
  243. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 423–424
  244. ^ Ward 1928, p. 347.
  245. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 431.
  246. ^ Nelson 2003, p. 266
  247. ^ Nelson 2003, pp. 431, 486
  248. ^ Purnell 1904, pp. 67–72; Pearson 2003, p. 49
  249. ^ Purnell 1904, pp. 67–72; Pearson 2005, pp. 48–49; English Reports, pp. 485–489
  250. ^ Braden 2005, p. 138.
  251. ^ May 1980, p. 8
  252. ^ May 1980, p. 9
  253. ^ 1980, p. 13
  254. ^ Puttenham 1936, p. 206
  255. ^ Kathman, David (2003), "The Question of Authorship", in Wells, Stanley; Orlin, Lena C., Shakespeare: an Oxford Guide, Oxford University Press, pp. 620–32, ISBN 978-0-19-924522-2


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Oxford
Lord Great Chamberlain
Succeeded by
The Earl of Oxford
Peerage of England
Preceded by
John de Vere
Earl of Oxford
Succeeded by
Henry de Vere

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