Robert de Vere

Robert de Vere (aft. 1164 - bef. 1221)

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Sir Robert "3rd Earl of Oxford" de Vere
Born after in Essex, Englandmap [uncertain]
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married before 1209 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died before in Englandmap
Profile last modified 11 Dec 2019 | Created 18 May 2014 | Last significant change: 11 Dec 2019
23:47: Kenneth Moore edited a message from Kenneth Moore on the page for Robert de Vere (aft.1164-bef.1221). [Thank Kenneth for this]
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Magna Carta Surety Baron
Robert de Vere was one of the twenty-five medieval barons who were surety for Magna Carta in 1215.
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The House of De Vere crest.
Robert de Vere is a member of the House of De Vere.

Robert de Vere,[1] 3rd Earl of Oxford and Hereditary Master Chamberlain[2]

He was christened in 1164.[3][4][5]

"Robert de Vere (d 1221) was a member of a comital family, based at Hedingham (Essex), which owed its rise to rise to eminence to the patronage of the Empress Matilda in the civil war of King Stephen’s reign in the 1140s."[6]

Early Life

"Robert himself was the third surviving son of Earl Aubrey (d. 1194) by his third wife, Agnes of Essex, and succeeded to the title on the death of his elder brother, another Aubrey in October 1214."[6]


Marriage: After 1206, Robert de Vere married Isabel de Bolebec, daughter of Hugh Bolbec and wife, and widow of Henry de Nonant.[7]

"Sometime before Michaelmas 1207 Robert had married Isabel de Bolebec, the aunt and namesake of Earl Aubrey’s wife, who had died childless in 1206 or 1207. Isabel the niece had been the heiress to the Bolebec estate, which was centred on Whitchurch (Bucks.), and her own heirs were her two aunts. Robert’s marriage can therefore be seen as part of a de Vere strategy to retain control over at least half of the Bolebec lands. The de Veres were one of the least well-endowed of the comital families and would have been loath to allow a valuable estate to slip from their grasp."[6]

Children: Robert and Isabel had a son, Hugh (who married Hawise de Quincy), and a daughter, Eleanor (who married Ralph Gernon).[7]

Brother: Upon the death of his childless elder brother Aubrey, second earl of Oxford, in 1214, Robert became third earl and hereditary great chamberlain of England.[7] "On payment of a thousand marks he obtained livery of his lands and the wardship of the heir of William FitzOates to marry to his niece".[8]

"His brother had been reckoned among the 'evil counsellors' of King John, but he [Robert] took the side of the barons, became one of the twenty-five executors of Magna Charta, forfeited his estates, and in December 1215 was excommunicated by the pope as a rebel along with the other Magna Carta barons."[8]


"Robert’s defection to the rebel side in 1215 provides yet another example of King John’s capacity to alienate men who should have been numbered among his natural allies. His predecessor in the title had been one of the king’s most loyal intimates and administrators. Robert was probably moved to defect in part by his resentment at the relief of 1000 marks charged for his entry into his inheritance, which was high for an estate of only moderate extent. Most of all, however, he probably nursed a grievance against the king for his failure to confirm him in the title of earl and in the office of court chamberlain, which de Vere held by hereditary right.[6]

"Robert is known to have been present at the baronial muster at Stamford in April 1215 and he was named by the chronicler Roger Wendover as one of the principal promoters of discontent. He was a key figure in the East Anglian group of rebels. By 23 June, after the meeting at Runnymede, the king was evidently angling to regain his support because on that date a royal letter was issued which implicitly recognised him as earl of Oxford. By that time, however, it was too late: Robert had already been named to the Twenty Five. Towards the end of March 1216 John took possession of his castle at Hedingham after a three-day siege and the earl, who was not present, was granted a safe-conduct to seek the king’s forgiveness. Within months, however, he had defected to Louis of France and he was not to re-enter royal allegiance for good until the general settlement of the rebellion in the autumn of 1217."[6]

After John's death he recovered his lands.[8] In October 1217, he returned to allegiance.[9] "Although he did homage to Henry, he was not fully restored in his offices and lands until February 1218."[10]


Robert died shortly before 25 October 1221[7] and was buried in the Benedictine priory at Hatfield Broadoak, Colne, Essex, England.[11]

"A century after his death, to mark the long-delayed completion of the priory church, a fine tomb effigy to his memory was commissioned, carved by the same sculptors who produced the monument to Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, in Westminster Abbey. At the Dissolution, the effigy was transferred to Hatfield Broad Oak parish church, where it remains."[6]
"His effigy, cross-legged, remains in the parish church, whither it was removed from the old priory church. Vincent called attention to the fact that on his shield the silver mullet in the first quarter was borne, not as by all other Veres upon a field gules, but upon one of France ancient. This anomaly does not seem to have been explained."[8]

"In the year of Robert's death, his widow gave a site in the city of Oxford to the Dominicans (the black friars) who had just come into England."[8]

"Robert’s widow obtained the guardianship of their son, Hugh, who was a minor, and of his estates, which she was to exercise for about ten years. She died on 3 February 1245 and was buried in the Dominican friary at Oxford, nearer to her own family’s estates."[6]


Robert de Vere was buried at Hatfield Priory, Hatfield Peverel village, Braintree, Essex presently the active priory church of St. Andrews, with parts of the original Norman priory church surviving. His wife Isabel was buried in the new church of the Black Friars, Oxford, which she founded. The church was dissolved by Henry VIII in the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s and no longer exists.[citation needed]

Research Notes

"Oxford [Robert de Vere] has by some writers been reckoned a judge of the royal court, on the strength of a solitary record of fines levied before him in 1220, and as a younger son he might have been brought up to the law. But he may only have been presiding, as peers frequently did, over a body of itinerant justices. Indeed, he is found acting in that capacity in Hertfordshire later in the same year."[8]

Disputed Children

Two known children: Hugh (who married Hawise de Quincy), and Eleanor (who married Ralph Gernon).[7][9]
Lacking sources, the following profiles were detached as children:


  1. #Weis Page: 60-28, 246-27; #Cokayne Page: X 210-216
  2. Our Royal, Titled, Noble, and Commoner Ancestors & cousins (#Lewis)
  3. Source: #Weis Page: 60-28, 246-27
  4. Source: #Cokayne Page: X 210-216
  5. Royal Ancestry (Richardson) Vol V pg 251: "He was probably born after 1164". Richardson says nothing about christening.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Taken from biography of Robert de Vere, courtesy of Professor Nigel Saul and the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee, that had been posted in WikiTree (since edited into sections and combined with material from other sources)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Charles Cawley. England, Earls created 1138-1143, Chapter 9, Oxford: A. EARLS of OXFORD 1142-1526 (VERE) 2.c.iii., entry for Robert de Vere, in "Medieval Lands": A prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families © by Charles Cawley, hosted by Foundation for Medieval Genealogy (FMG). See also WikiTree's source page for MedLands.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Dictionary of National Biography (full citation below)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Magna Carta Ancestry, Vol IV, p 261 VERE (#Richardson)
  10. Wikipedia (citation below)
  11. #Weis Page: 60-28, 246-27; #Cokayne Page: X 210-216
  • Professor Nigel Saul, biography of Robert de Vere, posted by the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee (accessed 26 March 2018)
  • The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Vols. I-XII, Cokayne, George Edward, (St. Catherine Press Ltd., London, 1910-1959).
  • Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England between 1623 and 1650, 6th ed.,Weis, Frederick (Lewis Publication: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, Maryland, 1988)
  • Dictionary of National Biography, database online, Internet Archive, (London, Smith, Elder & Co., 1899), Vol. 58, page 243.
  • Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, Royal Ancestry series, 2nd edition, 4 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham, (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2011), Vol. IV p. 261-263
    • Richardson's Royal Ancestry, Vol. V p. 251-253 (2013)
  • 500-Year De Vere Pedigree by the De Vere Society
  • Wikipedia: Robert de Vere, 3rd Earl of Oxford
  • Our Royal, Titled, Noble, and Commoner Ancestors & Cousins, database online, entry for Robert de Vere, Magna Carta Surety, Compiler: Mr. Marlyn Lewis, Portland, OR, 97232, citing Weis and Richardson, Robert de Vere
  • Robert de Vere, 3rd Earl of Oxford, "thepeerage" (website, compiled by Darryl Lundy, Ngaio, Wellington, New Zealand; accessed 26 March 2018)
  • Geni. Some nice descriptions and sources here.
  • Ancestry Family Trees


This page has been edited according to Style Standards adopted by January 2014. Click the Changes tab to see edits to this profile; from that list, click WikiTree IDs other than De_Vere-309 to see changes to those profiles prior to being merged.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this profile.

Magna Carta Project

As a surety baron, Sir Robert de Vere's profile is managed by the Magna Carta Project. See de Vere-309 Descendants for profiles of his descendants that have been improved and categorized by the Magna Carta project and are in a project-approved trail to a Gateway Ancestor. See this index for links to other surety barons and category pages for their descendants. See the project's Base Camp for more information about Magna Carta trails.

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On 11 Dec 2019 at 23:44 GMT Kenneth Moore wrote:

Sir Robert "3rd Earl of Oxford" de Vere and his wife's Isbel (Bolebec) de Vere are my 23rd great grandparent, on my father side of the family.

On 12 Sep 2019 at 04:13 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

On 27 Mar 2018 at 03:04 GMT Darlene (Athey) Athey-Hill wrote:

I detached Robert (did a bit of research on him and added it to his profile).

On 27 Mar 2018 at 01:27 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

update: removed Alice as child; Robert was sourced/detached by Darlene

any objection if I remove Alice & Robert as children and edit birth location from Hatfield, Broad Oaks, Essex, England (where he's buried) to be just Essex, England?

On 22 Jan 2018 at 05:13 GMT Bettye (Holland) Carroll wrote:

Source: Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham, (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2013), Vol. III. page 668.

Gabrield Ludlow, immigrated in 1694 to New York. He married Sarah Hanmer. They had seven sons, and five daughters.

Wasn't he, (Gabriel Ludlow-97), Magna Carta badged at one time? Robert De_Vere-309 is the 14th great grandfather of Gabriel Ludlow-97.

Thank you!

On 15 Sep 2017 at 11:39 GMT John Atkinson wrote:

The Complete Peerage, 2nd ed. Vol. 10, p. 210-211 has no christening date for Robert de Vere, 3rd Earl of Oxford. It states that he was probably b. after 1164 (on the assumption that he was the 3rd son; after 1172 if his parents did not resume cohabitation before 1171). Nor does it mention a place of birth.

On 27 Mar 2017 at 07:08 GMT Russ Gunther KT CH wrote:

Change Born date to: 1164

- He was Christened in 1164. [2][3]

↑ Source: #S152 Page: 60-28, 246-27 Source: S152 Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England between 1623 and 1650, 6th ed.,Weis, Frederick (Lewis Publication: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, Maryland, 1988), Note: RIN#10004

↑ Source: #S150 Page: X 210-216 Source: S150 The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Vols. I-XII, Cokayne, George Edward, (St. Catherine Press Ltd., London, 1910-1959).


On 1 Mar 2017 at 17:46 GMT Chet Snow wrote:

The Wikipedia article cited in an earlier comment states that the first "documented" use of "Sir" was in 1297 but it adds that the practice of adding "Sire" (Norman French for "Seigneur" or "Lord") to high-level aristocrats [like Robert de Vere] was known as early as 1205 or earlier. It no doubt was a corruption of French and evolved after the Norman Conquest of 1066. I do not believe we should "nit pick" this custom for ANY Norman Lord acknowledged as a knight by his liege lord, the King, on WikiTree. Respected genealogist Richardson does not so why should we?

On 1 Mar 2017 at 08:06 GMT April (Dellinger) Dauenhauer wrote:

Well, Chase - you have been busy. It is a challenge to keep up with you :)

Robert de Vere is written "SIR ROBERT DE VERE" by Richardson in Royal Ancestry, Vol V, page 251.

Regardless that there may be more to it than can be covered here, and this era produces conflicting opinions among experts, it is my opinion WikiTree should continue to use "SIR" unless a question in G2G produces changes in the guidelines.

On 28 Feb 2017 at 23:56 GMT Chase Ashley wrote:

Unless an original record can be produced that shows he was called "Sir", it should be deleted as a prefix since "Sir" supposedly wasn't used as an honorific in England until 1297 and, in any event, was for lesser mortal like knights and baronets.

more comments

Robert is 22 degrees from T S Eliot, 23 degrees from Walter Howe and 11 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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