Earl Edward de Vere

poet and 17th Earl of Oxford (from 1562)

Died aged c. 54

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (/də ˈvɪər/; 12 April 1550 – 24 June 1604) was an English peer and courtier of the Elizabethan era. Oxford was heir to the second oldest earldom in the kingdom, a court favourite for a time, a sought-after patron of the arts, and noted by his contemporaries as a lyric poet and court playwright, but his volatile temperament precluded him from attaining any courtly or governmental responsibility and contributed to the dissipation of his estate. Edward de Vere was the only son of John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford, and Margery Golding. After the death of his father in 1562, he became a ward of Queen Elizabeth I and was sent to live in the household of her principal advisor, Sir William Cecil. He married Cecil's daughter, Anne, with whom he had five children. Oxford was estranged from her for five years and refused to acknowledge he was the father of their first child. A champion jouster, Oxford travelled widely throughout France and the many states of Italy. He was among the first to compose love poetry at the Elizabethan court and was praised as a playwright, though none of the plays known as his survive. A stream of dedications praised Oxford for his generous patronage of literary, religious, musical, and medical works, and he patronised both adult and boy acting companies, as well as musicians, tumblers, acrobats and performing animals. He fell out of favour with the Queen in the early 1580s and was exiled from court and briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London when his mistress Anne Vavasour, one of Elizabeth's maids of honor, gave birth to his son in the palace. Vavasour, too, was incarcerated, and the affair instigated violent street brawls between Oxford and her kinsmen. He was reconciled to the Queen in May 1583 at Theobalds, but all opportunities for advancement had been lost. In 1586, the Queen granted Oxford £1,000 annually ($483,607 in 2020 US dollars) to relieve the financial distress caused by his extravagance and the sale of his income-producing lands for ready money. After the death of his first wife, Anne Cecil, Oxford married Elizabeth Trentham, one of the Queen's maids of honour, with whom he had an heir, Henry de Vere. Oxford died in 1604, having spent the entirety of his inherited estates. Since the 1920s, Oxford has been among the most prominent alternative candidates proposed for the authorship of Shakespeare's works.

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Family tree

Commemorated on 2 plaques

On this site stood a medieval mansion, sometime home of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. Built c. 14th century, demolished c. 1710. Sisters' Place built c. 1714.

173 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16, London, United Kingdom where they was

On this site stood Brooke House (King's Place) Owned by Henry VIII 1535-47 William Herbert Earl of Pembroke Edward de Vere poet & playwright 1597-1609

BSix Sixth Form College, Kenninghall Road, Lower Clapton, Hackney, London, United Kingdom where they was