The House of de Vere were an English aristocratic family who derived their surname from Ver (department Manche, canton Gavray), in Lower Normandy, France. The family's Norman founder in England, Aubrey (Albericus) de Vere, appears in Domesday Book (1086) as the holder of a large fief in Essex, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, and Suffolk. His son and heir Aubrey II became Lord Great Chamberlain of England, an hereditary office, in 1133. His grandson Aubrey III became Earl of Oxford in the reign of King Stephen, but while his earldom had been granted by the Empress Matilda and eventually recognised by Stephen, it was not until January 1156 that it was formally recognised by Henry II and he began to receive the third penny of justice (one-third of the revenue of the shire court)[clarification needed] from Oxfordshire.
Among the offices the family held besides that of Lord Great Chamberlain was the forestership of Essex, and they founded the Essex religious houses of Colne Priory, Hatfield Broad Oak Priory, and Castle Hedingham Priory. Macaulay described the family as "the longest and most illustrious line of nobles that England has seen," and Tennyson's poem Lady Clara Vere de Vere made the name synonymous with ancient blood.
Twenty males headed the family as Earl of Oxford from 1141 to 1703:
This summary genealogical tree shows how the house of de Vere is related:
Arms of notable members of the de Vere family:
Arms of Beauclerk (Stuart), dukes of Saint-Albans, heirs to the de Vere lands