John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford

On 18th January 1464 John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, is granted licence to his lands thus restoring them to his family. The 13th Earl of Oxford quite probably never expected to be titled to this rank. He was the second son of a baron. His elder brother had survived childhood. For John, the expectation would have been an agreeable and profitable marriage, not his father’s Earldom.

John de Vere 13th Earl of Oxford
Coat of Arms of John de Vere 13th Earl of Oxford

Supporter of King Henry VI

As the Wars of the Roses exploded into life, that changed. The 12th Earl was an ardent supporter of King Henry VI. Late to participate compared to some nobles, he had then been appointed to lead an anti-Yorkist Commission in 1460.

Following the Yorkist victory at Northampton, he tried to remove himself from view and retreated to his estates, avoiding national politics.

He had not been forgotten, though. In 1462 the 12th Earl and his eldest son were arrested on the orders of the Earl of Worcester, the Constable of England. The anti-Yorkist commission that the Earl had led was deemed treasonable: it had led to Yorkists being executed. And so the 12th Earl and his eldest son were executed.

This left the younger John as 13th Earl, a title he could use as his father was not attained. Though an attainder was not issued, the families lands were forfeited to the crown.

It was not until 18th January 1464 under Edward IVs conciliatory policy towards Lancastrians that he was able to take possession of these lands.

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