, seventeenth earl of Oxford, was the only son of John the sixteenth earl,
, seventeenth earl of Oxford, was the
only son of John the sixteenth earl, who died in 1563, by
his second wife, Margaret, daughter of John Golding, esq.
He is supposed to have been born about 1540 or 1541,
and in his youth travelled in Italy, whence it is said he
was the first who imported embroidered gloves and perfumes into England, and presenting queen Elizabeth with
a pair of the former, she was so pleased with them, as to
be drawn with them in one of her portraits. This gives us
but an indifferent opinion of his judgment, yet he had accomplishments suited to the times, and made a figure in
the courtly tournaments so much encouraged in queen Elizabeth’s reign. He once had a rencounter with sir Philip
Sidney (see Sidney, vol. XXVII. p. 507), which did not
redound much to his honour. In 1585, Walpole says he
was at the head of the nobility that embarked with the earl
of Leicester for the relief of the States of Holland; but
Camden, who gives a list of the principal personages concerned in that expedition, makes no mention of him. In
1586 he sat as lord great chamberlain of England on the
trial of Mary queen of Scots. In 1588 he hired and fitted
out ships at his own charge against the Spanish Armada.
In 1589 he sat on the trial of Philip Howard, earl of Arwndel; and in 1601, on the trials of the earls of Essex and
Southampton. One of the most remarkable events of his
life was his cruel usage of his first wife, Anne, daughter
of the celebrated William Cecil, lord Burleigh, in revenge
for the part acted by that statesman against Thomas duke
of Norfolk, for whom he had a warm friendship. Camden
says, that having vainly interceded with his father-in-law
for the duke’s life, he grew so incensed that he vowed revenge against the daughter, and “
not only forsook her
bed, but sold and consumed that great inheritance descended to him from his ancestors;” but in answer to this,
Collins says, that the estate descended to his son. It was
probably, however, much impaired, as Arthur Wilson agrees
with Camden, and something of the same kind may be inferred from a letter in Winwood’s Memorials, III. 422.
The earl was buried at Hackney, July 6, 1604.