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 • Earls Colne
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Agnes De Essex De Vere
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Birth: 1151
Essex, England
Death: 1212
Oxfordshire, England

Agnes of Essex, countess of Oxford (c. 1151 c. 1212) was the daughter of Henry of Essex and his second wife. She was betrothed at age three to Geoffrey de Vere, brother of the first earl of Oxford, and turned over to the Veres soon thereafter. Agnes later rejected the match with Geoffrey and by 1163 had married his brother Aubrey de Vere III, the earl (died 1194), as his third wife.
After her father's disgrace and forfeiture of lands and offices in that year, the earl sought to have his marriage annulled. Agnes fought the action. On May 9, 1166, she appealed her case from the court of the bishop of London to the pope (the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, being in exile at the time). While the case was pending in Rome, the earl kept Agnes confined in one of his three castles, for which the bishop of London Gilbert Foliot reprimanded Aubrey. Pope Alexander III ruled in her favor, thus establishing the right and requirement of consent by females in betrothal and the sacrament of marriage.
The couple may have co-operated in the founding of a Benedictine nunnery near their castle at Castle Hedingham, Essex. Countess Agnes survived her husband and in 1198 paid the crown for the right to remain unmarried. She died sometime in or after 1212 and was buried in the Vere mausoleum at Colne Priory, Essex.
Many have followed the mistake of antiquarians in believing the third wife of earl Aubrey to have been named Lucia. A woman of this name was prioress at Castle Hedingham Priory. On Lucia's death in the early thirteenth century, a mortuary or 'bede' roll was carried to many religious houses in the region requesting prayers, and in the preface of that document Lucia is called the foundress of the priory. As the countess presumably cooperated with her husband in the founding of the house, the erroneous assumption was made that the prioress was in fact Earl Aubrey's widow.
Agnes bore her husband four sons and a daughter, including two future earls of Oxford: Aubrey IV and Robert I. Her daughter Alice married 1) Ernulf de Kemesech, 2) John, constable of Chester. Their son Henry may have become chancellor of Hereford Cathedral in the bishopric of his uncle, William de Vere, and later a royal clerk under King John of England.[2] Little is known of Roger de Vere except that he may have been the second son and that he had died by 1214, so that his younger brother Robert succeeded to the title on the death of the eldest son Aubrey IV. from Wikipedia
References: 1. RaGena DeAragon. "The Child-Bride, the Earl, and the Pope: The Marital Fortunes of Agnes of Essex" in Henry I and the Anglo-Norman World, 2007 Boydell & Brewer, and 2. G. E. Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. 10

(bio was prepared by Audrey DeCamp Hoffman the 20th great-granddaughter of Agnes of Essex, countess of Oxford)

Family links: 
  Henry De Essex (1121 - 1170)
  Aubrey de Vere (1110 - 1194)
  Aubrey IV de Vere (1163 - 1214)*
  Robert Magna De Vere (1164 - 1221)*
  Robert Magna De Vere (1164 - 1221)*
*Calculated relationship
Colne Priory
Earls Colne
Braintree District
Essex, England
Maintained by: Gene Stephan
Originally Created by: Audrey DeCamp Hoffman
Record added: Feb 16, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 85046054
Agnes <i>De Essex</i> De Vere
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Added by: geoffrey gillon
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May You Rest in Peace, your Multi G/Grandson
- Gene Stephan
 Added: Jul. 6, 2016
Honoring the life of my 22nd great grandmother.
- Patricia Williams Curry
 Added: May. 18, 2016

- Trudy
 Added: Dec. 26, 2015
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