Their lineage is probably Norman, possibly originally from the eponymous town of Ver/Vire in western Normandy, and were [erroneously] said to descend from Charlemagne himself through the Counts of Flanders by late antiquarians. In fact, their connection with Guînes, in Flanders, was temporary; Aubrey de Vere III was briefly married to Beatrice, heiress to that county, about 1137-1144 or 1146.
Aubrey II served as sheriff of many shires and as a Justiciar under kings Henry I and Stephen. King Henry I had declared the estates and office of the first Lord Chamberlain, Robert Malet, to be forfeit, and in 1133 awarded the office of Lord Chamberlain of England to Aubrey.
William of Malmesbury reports that Aubrey represented King Stephen in 1139, when the king had been summoned to a church council to answer for the seizure of castles held by Roger, Bishop of Salisbury. He was killed by a London mob in May, 1141, and buried in the family mausoleum, Colne Priory, Essex.
His eldest son Aubrey de Vere III, was later created Earl of Oxford, and their descendants were to hold that title and the office that came to be known as the Lord Great Chamberlain until the extinction of the male line in 1703.
Aubrey II married Adeliza/Alice, daughter of Gilbert Fitz Richard. Their known children: Aubrey de Vere, 1st Earl of Oxford; Rohese de Vere, Countess of Essex, Robert; Alice "of Essex;" Geoffrey; Juliana, Countess of Norfolk; William de Vere, Bishop of Hereford; Gilbert, prior of the Knights Hospitaller in England; and an unnamed daughter who married Roger de Ramis.