Vere, Aubrey de (d.1141) (DNB00)

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VERE, AUBREY de (d. 1141), great chamberlain, was son and successor of Aubrey (Albericus) de Vere ‘senior,’ by Beatrice his wife. He is found in 1125 acting as joint-sheriff of London (Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 309); and in 1130 he appears, in conjunction with Richard Basset, as holding the shrievalty of eleven counties ‘ut custodes’ for the crown (ib. pp. 297–8). But he was then indebted for an enormous sum to the crown for having allowed a prisoner to escape, and for permission to resign the shrievalty of Essex and Hertfordshire (Rot. Pip. 31 Hen. I, p. 53). In September 1131 he was among the magnates attending the council of Northampton (Sarum Charters, p. 6); and in 1133, on the king leaving England for the last time, Aubrey was given at Farnham the office of great chamberlain for himself and his heirs (Madox, Baronia Anglica, p. 158). He is found at Stephen's court as chamberlain early in 1136 (Geoffrey de Mandeville, pp. 262–3), and was with him at Clarendon not long afterwards (ib. p. 378). When, in 1139, Stephen was called upon to defend before a council his arrest of the bishops, he selected as his advocate Aubrey, whom William of Malmesbury describes as ‘causidicus’ and as practised in (legal) cases (pp. 552–4). He was slain on 9 May 1141 (not, as stated, 1140) in a London riot (Matt. Paris, Chron. Major, ii. 174; Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 81).

The statement that he was ‘chief justiciar of England,’ for which Foss could find no authority (Judges of England, pp. 89, 138–9), rests on the assertion to that effect by his son William in a tract ‘De miraculis S. Osythæ’ (Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 390).

There has been much confusion as to Aubrey's marriage and children. By his wife Alice, daughter of Gilbert (Fitz Richard) de Clare—who survived him twenty-two years, retiring as a widow to St. Osyth's Priory—he left, besides Aubrey, his successor (see below), three sons: (2) Geoffrey, who in 1142 was promised by the empress the fief of Geoffrey Talbot, and who, afterwards marrying the widow of William Fitz Alan, held a Gloucestershire fief in her right, besides a Shropshire one in 1166 (Lib. Rub. pp. 274, 298); (3) Robert, who in 1142 was promised by the empress a ‘barony’ of equal value (Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 182), and who held a small Northamptonshire fief in 1166 (Lib. Rub. p. 335; Feudal England, p. 220); (4) William, who in 1142 was promised the reversion to the chancellorship (Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 182), and who was identical with the writer of the above tract, a canon of St. Osyth's (ib. p. 389). Of Aubrey's daughters, Rohese married, first, Geoffrey, first earl of Essex [q. v.], secondly, Payne de Beauchamp of Bedford; and Alice, first, Robert of Essex, secondly, Roger Fitz Richard of Warkworth (ib. p. 392).

Aubrey de Vere, first Earl of Oxford (d. 1194), was eldest surviving son of the above Aubrey, whom he succeeded in 1141. Having married Beatrice, daughter of Henry, castellan of Bourbourg, and heiress of her maternal grandfather, Manasses, count of Guines, Aubrey, on the latter's death (? 1139), became Count of Guines in her right (ib. pp. 189, 397; Stapleton, Archæologia, xxxi. 216 sq.), and is so styled in a charter of the abbot of St. Edmund's (Cott. Chart. xxi. 6). It was also as count before his father's death that he executed the charter to Hatfield Priory quoted by Morant (Essex, ii. 506). In his ‘Historia Comitum Ardensium’ (Pertz, vol. xxiv.), Lambert of Ardres, as the writer has shown (Academy, 28 May 1892), speaks of Aubrey as ‘Albericus Aper’ in his account of the comté of Guines. He was divorced by the Countess Beatrice, who then married Baldwin of Ardres, the claimant to the comté, about 1145 (Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 189).

Meanwhile he had joined his brother-in-law, Earl Geoffrey, in intriguing with the Empress Maud (ib. p. 178), and, through his influence, obtained from her at Oxford in 1142 a remarkable charter, granting him lands and dignities, including an earldom, either of Cambridge, or, if that was impossible, of Oxford, Berkshire, Wiltshire, or Dorset, which charter her son Henry confirmed (ib. pp. 179–88). The title he adopted was that of Oxford, and in January 1156 Henry II by a fresh charter granted him its ‘third penny’ as earl (ib. p. 239). In 1166 he made a return of his knights' fees (Lib. Rub. p. 352). He is said to have founded the priories at Hedingham and at Ickleton, Cambridgeshire.

By his second wife, Euphemia Cantelupe, he seems to have had no issue, but by the third, Lucy, daughter of Henry of Essex, he left at his death in 1194 (Rot. Pip. 7 Ric. I) Aubrey, second earl, and Robert, third earl of Oxford [q. v.]

[Pipe Roll of 1130 (Record Comm.); Sarum Charters and Documents, Giraldus Cambrensis, William of Malmesbury, Matt. Paris, Liber Rubeus Scaccarii (all in Rolls Series); Madox's Baronia Anglica; Archæologia; Morant's History of Essex; Pertz's Monumenta; Foss's Judges of England; Dugdale's Monasticon; Round's Geoffrey de Mandeville and Feudal England; Academy, 28 May 1892; Cotton Charters; Pipe Rolls.]

J. H. R.