The brief facts of Oxford’s life are as follows. He was born on 12 April 1550 at Castle Hedingham in Essex, the only son of John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford, and his second wife, Margery Golding. He had two siblings, a half-sister, Katherine, by his father’s first marriage to Dorothy Neville, and a sister, Mary. After his father’s death on 3 August 1562 he became a ward of the Queen, and came to live in London. He inherited the office of Lord Great Chamberlain of England and lands worth £2250 a year from his father, but also a result of his wardship and the mismanagement of his inheritance during his minority he incurred a substantial debt to the Queen in the Court of Wards. That debt, together with the expense of life as an Elizabethan courtier, eventually ruined him financially, and all his inherited lands were sold during his lifetime, although he purchased land in London known as the Great Garden at Christchurch which he owned at his death. In December 1571 he married Sir William Cecil’s daughter, Anne, by whom he had three daughters, Elizabeth, Bridget and Susan, and two other children who died as infants, a son whose name is not known and a daughter, Frances. While married to Anne Cecil, from whom he was estranged for five and a half years, he had an illegitimate son, Edward Veer, born on 21 March 1581. In 1591, three years after Anne Cecil’s death in 1588, Oxford married Elizabeth Trentham, by whom he had an only son and heir, Henry de Vere, later 18th Earl of Oxford. Over the years, Oxford became disenchanted with the peripatetic life of a courtier, and after his marriage to Elizabeth Trentham spent his remaining years at King's Place in Hackney. He died there on 24 June 1604.
For a detailed biography of Oxford, click here.
For a brief summary of Oxford's inherited income, click here.
For Oxford's bonds in the Court of Wards, click here.