This chapter sketches Edward de Vere's progenitors. Edward's mother, Margery, Countess of Oxford, was the daughter of Sir John Golding, of the tiny rural village of Belchamp St Paul's, Essex. The John de Vere who became the 16th earl was born in or about 1516. On 2 July 1536, about the age of twenty, he married Dorothy Neville, second daughter of Ralph Neville, 4th Earl of Westmorland. Dorothy bore him two daughters: Katherine, born about 29 September 1538; and Faith, who died in swaddling clothes. After Dorothy's death in 1548, Earl John took a commoner as his next wife. At the time of her marriage in 1548, Margery Golding was at least twenty–two. Margery must have been very beautiful, very sexy, or both, for the 16th Earl married her under circumstances that imply reckless passion.
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