The Earl of Oxford’s March

Perhaps the finest composer of the Elizabethan Age, William Byrd, wrote ‘The Earl of Oxford’s March, to the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere. Byrd was the organist of the Chapel Royal from 1572, and de Vere seems to have been a keen admirer of Byrd’s work.

“About the year 1573 or 1574, the earl of Oxenford
made a lease for 31 years of the manor of Battylshall
in the County of Essex to W. Byrde one of the gent.
of her Maties Chapple to take place at the death of
Aubreay Veare Esquire [Edward the Vere’s uncle] or
at the death of his Lawful wife,”

PRO Dom. Eliz. 157.26, reprinted in Edmund H. Fellowes, William Byrd (London: OUP, 1948)

Byrd was finally tricked out of the estate by one William Lewyn, a painter and one of Oxford’s servants. However, feelings must not have been too hard between the two, as Byrd later composed this very fine piece of music for Edward the Vere:
The Earl of Oxford’s March, here performed by Synergy Brass Quintet on a beautiful Swiss lake.