Earl of Oxford for fifty years, and subject of six kings of England during the political strife of the Wars of the Roses, John de Vere's career included more changes of fortune than almost any other. He recovered his earldom after the execution of his father and brother for treason, but his resistance to Edward IV led to a decade in prison. He escaped in time to lead Henry Tudor's vanguard at Bosworth in 1485 and subsequently enjoyed twenty-five years as perhaps "the foremost man of the kingdom", virtually ruling East Anglia for the king.
This is the first full-length study of de Vere's life and career. Through this lens it also tackles a number of broader themes. It reconsiders the role of the nobility under Henry VII, challenging the common perception of Henry as an anti-aristocratic king. It also explores East Anglian political society in the second half of the fifteenth century, how the earl came to dominate it, how successfully he exercised his power, and the personnel, including the Paston family, he used to run the region.
JAMES ROSS is Senior Lecturer in Late Medieval History at the University of Winchester.