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John de Vere, born about 1482, was the son of John de Vere and Alice Kilrington (alias Colbroke), and the great-grandson of Richard de Vere, 11th Earl of Oxford, succeeding his second cousin, John de Vere, 14th Earl of Oxford, in the earldom. De Vere had two stepbrothers, William Courtenay and Walter Courtenay, and a stepsister, Katherine Courtenay, by his mother's second marriage, before 1491, to Sir Walter Courtenay (d. 7 November 1506), a younger son of Sir Philip Courtenay of Powderham, Devon, by Elizabeth Hungerford.
On 19 December 1526 Oxford was appointed Lord Great Chamberlain for life and was made a Knight of the Garter on 21 October 1527. He signed the Lords' petition against Cardinal Wolsey on 1 December 1529, and was appointed to the Privy Council before 22 March 1531.
In 1531 it was reported from Venice that Oxford was 'a man of valour and authority ... and it is his custom always to cavalcade with two hundred horse'.
Oxford bore the crown at Queen Anne Boleyn's coronation in April 1533, but later served on the commission which tried the Queen on 15 May 1536. On 15 October 1537 he attended the christening of the future King Edward VI, and on 12 November following was present at the funeral of Queen Jane Seymour.
Oxford was reputedly the first Protestant earl of Oxford. He patronised a company of players for which he commissioned John Bale to write plays from 1534-1536. As Lord Great Chamberlain and a favourite of Henry VIII, about 1537 he directed Bale to write anti-Catholic propaganda plays for Richard Morison's campaign against the Pope.
Oxford died 21 March 1540 at his manor of Colne, Essex and was buried on 12 April at Castle Hedingham.
Marriages and issue
Oxford married firstly, Christian Foderingey (b. circa 1481, d. before 4 November 1498), the daughter of Thomas Foderingey (circa 1446-1491) of Brockley, Suffolk, by Elizabeth Doreward (c. 1473-1491), daughter of William Doreward of Bocking, Essex. There were no issue of the marriage.
Oxford married secondly, Elizabeth Trussell, the daughter of Edward Trussell (c. 1478 - 16 June 1499) of Kibblestone, Staffordshire and Margaret Don, the daughter of Sir John Don (d. 1503) by Elizabeth Hastings (d. 1508). They had four sons and three daughters:
Aubrey de Vere, who married Margaret Spring, the daughter of Sir John Spring; their grandson, Robert de Vere, became 19th Earl of Oxford. Their daughter, Anne de Vere (d.1617), married, firstly Christopher Shernborne (d. 7 July 1575), by whom she had a son, Francis Shernborne, esquire, and secondly John Stubbs, whose right hand was cut off on 3 November 1579 for his authorship of The Discovery of a Gaping Gulf which criticized Queen Elizabeth's proposed marriage to Francois, Duke of Alençon.
Robert de Vere (b. circa 1520 - 28 April 1598), lord of the manor of Wricklemarsh, buried at Charlton, St Lukes, Kent.