Margaret, countess of Oxford, at St Martin le Grand

Another woman stranded by the Lancastrian defeat was Margaret, countess of Oxford, whose husband, the earl John de Vere, had escaped to Scotland and then to France following the Lancastrian defeat in 1471.

A mid-fifteenth-century noblewoman. Source

With her husband in exile, Countess Margaret went into sanctuary at St Martin le Grand. Without means of support, according to a later chronicler, the countess was so poor while in sanctuary she had to earn her living as a seamstress. (Poor thing.) A letter from John II Paston to his brother John III (yes, two brothers named John, because 15th century English people had no imagination) reported that she was still there in April 1472, but at some point after that she emerged.

In about 1474, her husband was captured and imprisoned in a castle just outside Calais. After about a decade in custody he escaped to join an invading Henry Tudor in 1485 and then became one of Henry VII’s right hand men.

Calais. Source

Countess Margaret, along with her husband, had a second life at the early Tudor court, dying in 1506 or 1507.

Fabyan, New Chronicles, 663; Paston Letters, 1:449; S. J. Gunn, “Vere, John de,” ODNB. Top image: Source

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