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The rule of the Angevins in Brittany is characterised usually as
opening an isolated `Celtic' society to a wider world and imposing
new and alien institutions. This study, the ®rst on the subject of
Brittany under the Angevins, demonstrates that the opposite is true:
that before the advent of Henry II in 1158, the Bretons were already
active participants in Anglo-Norman and French society. Indeed those
Bretons with landholdings in England, Normandy and Anjou were
already accustomed to Angevin rule.
The book examines in detail the means by which Henry II gained
sovereignty over Brittany, and how it was governed subsequently by
the Angevin kings of England from 1158 to 1203. In particular, it
examines the extent to which the Angevins ruled Brittany directly, or
delegated authority either to native dukes or royal ministers, and
shows that in this respect the nature of Angevin rule changed and
evolved over the period.

judith everard is co-editor (with Michael Jones) of The Charters of
Constance, Duchess of Brittany, and her Family (1171±1221) (1999).
Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought

Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought
Fourth Series

General Editor:
d. e. luscombe
Leverhulme Personal Research Professor of Medieval History, University of Shef®eld
Advisory Editors:
christine carpenter
Reader in Medieval English History, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of New Hall
rosamond mckitterick
Professor of Medieval History, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Newnham College

The series Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought was
inaugurated by G. G. Coulton in 1921; Professor D. E. Luscombe now
acts as General Editor of the Fourth Series, with Dr Christine Carpenter
and Professor Rosamond McKitterick as Advisory Editors. The series
brings together outstanding work by medieval scholars over a wide
range of human endeavour extending from political economy to the
history of ideas.

For a list of titles in the series, see end of book.
Province and Empire

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The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 2RU, UK
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© J. A. Everard 2004

First published in printed format 2000

ISBN 0-511-03336-2 eBook (Adobe Reader)
ISBN 0-521-66071-8 hardback

List of ®gures and maps page viii
Preface ix
List of abbreviations xi

Introduction 1
1 Ducal Brittany, 1066±1166 17
2 Henry II and Brittany 34
3 The government of Brittany under Henry II 76
4 Duke Geoffrey and Brittany, 1166±1186 93
5 Duke Geoffrey, Henry II and the Angevin empire 123
6 The end of Angevin Brittany, 1186±1203 146
Conclusion 176

1 The `Assize of Count Geoffrey' 182
2 The hereditary seneschals of Rennes 204
3 Angevin of®cers in Brittany 207
4 The right of wreck and ducal 213
brefs de mer

Bibliography 216
Index 237


Figure 1 Genealogy of the dukes of Brittany, 1066±1203 page xv
Map 1 The principal political divisions of Brittany, c.1066 xvi
Map 2 Ducal domains, c. 1066±1186 xvii
Figure 2 Genealogy of the Seneschals of Rennes 206


By [the twelfth-century], Brittany was a central player in the feudal
politics of the Anglo-Norman world, partaking of the cosmopolitan
Latin culture of the day and economically transformed by the growth of
towns. It was no longer a peripheral society . . . Distinctive still in
cultural and linguistic terms, Brittany was nevertheless taking its place
among the territorial principalities which clustered under the mantle of
the Capetian monarchy.1
Thus, in the epilogue of Province and Empire: Carolingian Brittany, Dr
Julia Smith elegantly summarised Brittany in the hundred years or so
preceding the advent of Angevin rule.

The aim of this study is to examine Brittany as a province of the
Angevin empire from the perspective of the duchy as a participant in
the contemporary culture and politics of western France and the Anglo-
Norman realm. I hope to dispel the notion that twelfth-century
Brittany was `Celtic' and different, backward and atypical, and therefore
not relevant to any discussion of Capetian France or of Anglo-Norman
society. This notion has fostered the view that Angevin rule in Brittany,
between 1158 and 1203, involved the autocratic imposition of Anglo-
Norman or Angevin institutions which were alien to the Bretons.
Since, on closer inspection, these institutions prove to be anything but
alien to Brittany by the mid-twelfth century, a thorough reconsidera-
tion of Angevin rule in Brittany is called for.
This study provides such a reconsideration, examining in detail both
Brittany's place within the Angevin empire, and the mechanisms of
Angevin rule in Brittany. `Angevin rule', it will be stressed, was not a
monolithic phenomenon, unchanging over a period of nearly half a
century. On the contrary, one can trace the changes in the nature of

J. M. H. Smith, Province and Empire: Carolingian Brittany, Cambridge, 1992, p. 203.

Angevin rule in Brittany under the succession of Angevin rulers down
to King John.
This book is derived from my doctoral thesis, completed in 1995
under the supervision of Professor Sir James Holt. My primary debt of
gratitude is to Professor Holt, whose patient supervision and good
advice were responsible for the production of the thesis. Professor R. B.
Dobson has been and I hope will continue to be a valued mentor,
whether of®cial or unof®cial, and has shown great forbearance in his
capacity (until his retirement very shortly before publication) as the
Advisory Editor to the `Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and
Thought' series charged with overseeing production of this book. I
would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to
Professor Michael Jones, Professor Rosamond McKitterick, M. Hubert
Guillotel, Dr Elisabeth van Houts, Dr Katharine Keats-Rohan, Dr
Daniel Power and Dr Karen Jankulak for their advice and encourage-
My research trips to France would have been far less productive
without the assistance of the staff of the various libraries and archives
I visited. I am particularly indebted to those of the salle des manuscrits at
Á ‚
the Bibliotheque nationale and of the Archives departementales of
Ille-et-Vilaine (Rennes), Cotes-d'Armor (Saint-Brieuc) and Loire-
Atlantique (Nantes).
Completion of my doctoral thesis was made possible by generous
®nancial assistance from the Coles-Myer Scholarship, the Cambridge
Commonwealth Trust, the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Princi-
pals' Overseas Students Research Awards scheme and the Principal and
Fellows of Newnham College, Cambridge. Completion of the book
was undertaken as a British Academy post-doctoral fellow, and in this
capacity I have greatly bene®ted from the hospitality of the Master and
Fellows of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.
Finally, I wish to thank my husband, Nicholas Syms, for ®rst
tolerating the absences of his new wife, then taking a prolonged
sabbatical from his own work to care for the two sons who arrived
while this work was in progress.


AB Annales de Bretagne
Actes d'Henri II L. Delisle and E. Berger (eds.), Recueil des Actes d'Henri
II, roi d'Angleterre et duc de Normandie, concernant les
provinces francaises et les affaires de France, 4 vols., Paris,

AD Archives departementales
AN Archives nationales
`Actes de Buzay' J.-L. Sarrazin (ed.), `Recueil et Catalogue des actes de
l'abbaye cistercienne de Buzay en pays de Rais
‚ Á
(1135±1474)' (`Universite de Nantes, these du IIIe
cycle', 4 vols., 1977).
‚ ‚
Actes inedits A. de la Borderie (ed.), Recueil d'actes inedits des ducs et
princes de Bretagne (xie, xiie, xiiie siecles), Rennes,

AE J. Geslin de Bourgogne and A. de Barthelemy, Anciens
‚Ã ‚
eveches de Bretagne, 6 vols., Saint-Brieuc, 1864±79.
Ann. ang. L. Halphen (ed.), Recueil d'annales angevines et vendo-
moises, Paris, 1903.
Ann. mon. H.R. Luard (ed.), Annales monastici, Rolls Series, 5
vols. London, 1864±1869.
Bibl. mun. Bibliotheque municipale
BM British Museum
BN Bibliotheque nationale
‚‚ ‚
BSAN Bulletin de la societe archeologique de Nantes
‚ ‚‚ ‚
BSAIV Bulletins et memoires de la societe archeologique d'Ille-et-
Cart. Laval A. Bertrand de Brousillon (ed.), La Maison de Laval
‚ ‚
(1020±1605): Etude historique accompagnee du cartulaire de
Laval, i and v, Paris, 1895 and 1803.
Cart. Morb. L. Rosenzweig (ed.), Cartulaire general du Morbihan;
Recueil de documents authentiques pour servir a l'histoire des

pays qui forment ce departement, Vannes, 1895.

List of abbreviations

Cart. Quimper P. Peyron (ed.), Cartulaire de l'eglise de Quimper,
Quimper, 1909.
‚ Ã
Cart. Quimperle L. Maµtre and P. de Berthou (eds.), Cartulaire de
‚ Á
l'abbaye de Sainte-Croix de Quimperle, Bibliotheque
bretonne armoricaine, fascicule iv, 2nd edn, Rennes
and Paris, c. 1902.
Cart. Redon A. de Courson (ed.), Cartulaire de l'abbaye de Redon en
Bretagne, Paris, 1863.
`Cart. St-Georges' P. de la Bigne-Villeneuve (ed.), `Cartulaire de St-
Georges de Rennes', BSAIV 9 (1876), 127±311.
`Cart. St-Melaine' Ms. cartulary of the abbey of Saint-Melaine de

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