Name: *Agnes of Essex
Birth: ABT 1151 in Raleigh, Essex, England 1
Death: BET 1206 AND 1212 1
daughter of Henry de Essex of Rayleigh, Sheriff of Buckinghamshire and Bed ford
Agnes of Essex, countess of Oxford (c. 1151 ? c. 1212) was the daught er of Henry of Essex and his second wife. She was betrothed at age thr ee to Geoffrey de Vere, brother of the first earl of Oxford. Raised by t he Veres from the age of three, she later rejected the match with Geoffr ey and by 1163 had married his brother Aubrey de Vere III, the earl (d. 11 94), as his third wife.
After her father's disgrace and forfeiture of lands and offices in that ye ar, the earl sought to have his marriage annulled. Agnes fought the actio n. On May 9, 1166, she appealed her case from the court of the bishop of L ondon to the pope (the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, being in e xile at the time). While the case was pending in Rome, the earl kept Agn es confined in one of his three castles, for which the bishop of London Gi lbert Foliot reprimanded Aubrey. Pope Alexander III ruled in her favor, th us establishing the right and requirement of consent by females in betroth al and the sacrament of marriage. The couple may have co-operated in the f ounding of a Benedictine nunnery near their castle at Hedingham, Essex. Ha ving survived her husband, Countess Agnes paid the crown for the rig ht to remain unmarried in 1198 and died sometime in or after 1206.
Many have followed the mistake of antiquarians in believing the third wi fe of earl Aubrey to have been named Lucia. A woman of this name was prior ess of the nunnery at Castle Hedingham. On Lucia's death, a mortuary or ro ll was carried to many religious houses in the region requesting prayer s, and in the preface of that document Lucia is called the foundress of t he priory. As the countess presumably cooperated with her husband in the f ounding of the house, the erroneous assumption was made that the priore ss was in fact the earl's widow.
Agnes bore her husband four sons and a daughter, including two future ear ls of Oxford: Aubrey IV and Robert I. Her daughter Alice married 1) Ernu lf de Kemesech, 2) John, constable of Chester.
Father: Henry of Essex
Mother: Alice de Montfort b: in Rayleigh, Essex, England
*Aubrey III De Vere b: ABT 1115 in Hedingham, Essex, England
- *Robert de Vere b: 1164 in Hatfield, Broad Oaks, Essex, England
- Aubrey IV de Vere b: 1166 in Hatfield, Broad Oaks, Essex, England
- Roger de Vere b: 1168 in Hatfield, Broad Oaks, Essex, England
- *Sarah de Vere b: 1172 in Hatfield, Broad Oaks, Essex, England
- Henry de Vere b: 1172 in Hatfield, Broad Oaks, Essex, England
- Alice de Vere b: 1174 in Hatfield, Broad Oaks, Essex, England
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