Sir Francis Vere and Horace Vere
Sir Francis Vere, soldier, was buried on 29th August 1609 in the chapel of St John the Evangelist in Westminster Abbey. His brother Horace, born in 1565, was buried near him on 8th May 1635.
Francis has a large monument of alabaster and black marble showing him lying on a carved rush mattress in civilian dress under a slab on which is laid out his suit of armour. The slab is supported on the shoulders of four life-sized knights in armour who kneel at each corner. The monument seems to have been inspired by that of Count Engelbert II of Nassau-Dillenburg in the church at Breda. It has been attributed to sculptor Isaac James as the faces of the knights are very similar in style to those on the Norris monument nearby. The date of erection of the monument by his widow is not known.
The Latin inscription can be translated:
To Francis Vere, Knight, son of Geoffrey and nephew of John earl of Oxford, governor of Brill and Portsmouth, chief leader of the English forces in Belgium, died 28 August 1609, in the 54th year of his age. Elizabeth, his wife, in great sadness and sobbing with tears, placed this supreme monument to conjugal faith and love.
Francis was born in 1560. His age, according to the inscription, is not the same as given in books.
Geoffrey (a brother of John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford) had four sons, John, Francis, Robert and Horace, by Elizabeth Hardkyn of Essex. Francis was one of the greatest soldiers serving under Elizabeth I and distinguished himself at the Battle of Nieuport (1600) and during the defence of Ostend against the Spanish. He married Elizabeth, young daughter of John Dent of London, a few years before his death.
Horace was created Baron Vere of Tilbury for his excellent military services to the country. He married in 1607 Mary, daughter of Sir William Tracy, and had five daughters but no male heir so the title became extinct. Horace has no memorial or marker in the Abbey.
"The Fighting Veres" by Sir Clements Markham, 1888
"The Complete Peerage" for the Earls of Oxford
Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery
18th August 1609