Sorry to disappoint you but Jacob Harley was never an Earl of Oxford, nor was he a legitimate son or Grandson of Robert H the 1st Earl. That is not to say he wasn't an illegitamate child. The line I am researching, I believe springs from an illegitimate son, Thomas. Roberts only legal son was Edward b.1869 who became the 2nd Earl in 1724. He had no male offspring so the title then went Edward's cousin (son of Robert's younger Brother Edward of Eyewood, Edward (3rd) upon his death in 1741. Edward (3rd's) son Edward (4th) succecded the title in 1755-1790, Edward (4th) died without issue, so the title then went to his Nephew, Edward (5th) via his brother John who couldn't accept the title as he was in the Church.
His son also Edward died at sea in 1828, so his younger brother Alfred became the 6th Earl upon his father's death in 1848. Alfred too died without issue, and that is where the title becomes extinct in 1853.
As to the first Earl, no he wasn't William Shakespear, although he was responsible for starting the famed "Harleian Collection", he collected literature not wrote it. Robert was granted the title for his services to Queen Anne and for his work as "Chancellor of the Exchequor" Upon Queen Anne's death the new king George I suspected Robert (a Whig) of plotting the return of the Stuart Dynasty and threw him into the Tower of London. All charges were dropped in 1717 and he was granted a full pardon. The Harley line is a long and distinguished one, intertwined with many of the English Lords and through them the English and French Royal families. I have managed to trace the line back to John de Harley (Lord Harley of Salop) I believe he was one of "William the Conqueror's" knights. His son William de Harley's tomb still remains in Worcester
Sorry I can't link Jacob into the line, but rest assured you definitely fit into Lord Harley's line somewhere, as does my fiancee, if only I can prove Thomas was Robert's illigitimate son.
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