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136

A. Bertrand de Brousillon (ed.), La Maison de Laval, 1020±1605, i, Paris, 1895, pp. 114±5;
137


M. Brand'honneur, `Le lignage, point de cristillisation d'une nouvelle cohesion sociale: Les
‚ ‚ Á
Goranton-Herve de Vitre aux XI, XIIe et XIIIe siecles', MSHAB 70 (1993), 65±87 at 80±1;
Actes d'Henri II, no. cclxxi.
Bertrand de Brousillon, `Testament', p. 53.
138

Bertrand de Brousillon, Maison de Laval, I, p. 123. See Charters, Ge24.
139


63
Brittany and the Angevins
to Henry II in England, the king took a rib, which he had encased in

silver and sent it back to the abbey of Saint-Meen, an act which shows
some regard for this otherwise obscure Breton establishment.140
There are few known acta of Henry II concerning Breton monas-
teries. The earliest is a charter for the abbey of Redon, con®rming its
possessions in `Media' and in Guerande, made at Thouars.141 It was

probably made in October 1158, when Henry II visited Thouars
immediately after taking possession of Nantes.142 The king also granted

a charter of con®rmation to the abbey of Saint-Pierre de Rille, near
143
Á
Fougeres, in 1166. Another con®rmation, for the nunnery of
Locmaria at Quimper, was made at Le Mans in 1172.144 In addition to
these con®rmations, there is a single record of Henry II initiating a grant
to a Breton monastery, an undated charter recording the king's grant of
a fair to the abbey of Le Tronchet.145

The con®rmations for Redon and Rille and the grant to Le Tronchet
were all, no doubt, politically motivated. The charter for Redon was an
opportunity for the king to exercise his new-found authority in the

county of Nantes. The con®rmation for Rille was given at the siege of
Á
Fougeres, when Henry II defeated the abbey's lay-protector and patron.
The canons needed royal assurance that their rights would be preserved,
and at the same time offered Henry II the opportunity to be seen as a
merciful victor and protector of the church. The grant to Le Tronchet
may be seen in the context of the king's seizure of nearby Combour
Á
from Ralph de Fougeres in 1164. The undated charter could have been
made at any time after Combour was taken into the king's hand. The
most likely scenario, though, is that the monks petitioned Henry II for
this grant in the late summer of 1166, when he visited Dol in the course
of his triumphal progress from Rennes to Mont Saint-Michel.146
Although by this time Henry II was de facto duke of Brittany, he still
needed support in the Dol area. The events of 1173 demonstrate that
Á
Ralph de Fougeres had not abandoned his claims there.

DRF, p. 186.
140

Preuves, col. 657 (the source for Cart. Redon, p. 744, note 2, and Actes d'Henri II, no. cclix);
141

Redon, Hotel de la Ville ms AA1, f. 165v, no. 523.
Delisle (Actes d'Henri II, no. cclix) attributed this charter to 1166, when Henry II stayed at
142

Thouars after Conan IV's abdication. The earlier date is preferable, as the monks of Redon
would have hastened to obtain a con®rmation from the new `count of Nantes'.
Calendar of Patent Rolls, Henry III, 1247±58, pp. 382±3.
143

Á Á ‚
AD Finistere 27H 2; C. Fagnen, `Etude d'un privilege d'Henri II en faveur du prieure de
144

‚‚
Á
Locmaria, a Quimper', Gwechall, le Finisterre autrefois: Bulletin de la societe ®nisterienne d'histoire et

d'archeologie 1 (1978), 37±64.
BN mss fr. 22319, p. 238 and 22325, p. 621 (both after a 1279 vidimus of John, bishop of Dol);
145

Actes d'Henri II, no. ccccxxxv.
RT, i, pp. 361±2.
146


64
Henry II and Brittany
There are also two charters of Henry II regarding the subordination
of the Breton monastery of Saint-Magloire de Lehon to Marmoutier.
Both were made at Chinon, at a full assembly of the royal curia, in
1182.147 In one charter, the king formally grants to Marmoutier the
priory of Saint-Magloire de Lehon and its possessions.148 The other
charter records the settlement of disputes between Albert, bishop of
Saint-Malo, and Harvey, abbot of Marmoutier, over Saint-Magloire de
Lehon and other matters.149 In this charter, the king nominates himself
`conservator et protector' of the settlement. Since the transaction took
place after Geoffrey had become duke of Brittany in 1181, these charters
do not pertain to the government of the duchy under Henry II. They
do, however, re¯ect the pattern of Henry II's interest in Breton
monasteries only when there was an `extra-Breton' element.
As to the ®rst charter, it is not obvious how the king had title to grant
the possessions of Lehon to Marmoutier, since, with the exception of
one church in England and one in Normandy, all the possessions were
situated in Brittany.150 It is probable that negotiations regarding the
transaction began before Geoffrey became duke of Brittany, since one
of the relevant documents is dated February 1181.151 Henry II may have
taken a close interest in the matter from its beginnings, before he
transferred control of Brittany to Geoffrey. Alternatively, by 1182,
although Geoffrey was duke of Brittany, the king could have authorised
his son's acts, in his capacity as duke of Normandy. The charter,
however, nowhere alludes to this. In my opinion, one should not attach
too great signi®cance to the source of the authority for this royal act,
since it appears that anyone, lay or ecclesiastical, who was in a position
of authority over the three monasteries involved, (Saint-Magloire de
Lehon in Brittany, Saint-Magloire de Paris, and Marmoutier in Tours)
or their relevant possessions, gave written con®rmation of this settle-
ment.152

BN ms latin 12879, f. 176; Actes d'Henri II, no. dcxvi; Preuves, col. 688. The date is established
147

by a dated charter of Albert, bishop of Saint-Malo, made on the same occasion (Actes d'Henri II,
no. dcxvii).
BN ms latin 12879, fos 174v, no. 166 and 76r, no. 170; Actes d'Henri II, no. dcxv; Preuves, col.
148

688.
BN ms latin 12879, f. 176r, no. 169; Actes d'Henri II, no. dcxvi; Preuves col. 688.
149

These are named in a forged, but nearly contemporary, charter enumerating the possessions of
150

Saint-Magloire de Lehon (Charters, Ge32).
BN ms latin 12879, f. 175r, no. 167.
151

BN ms latin 12879, folios 173±82. The settlement was con®rmed by Pope Lucius III,
152

Bartholomew archbishop of Tours, Albert bishop of Saint-Malo, Elias abbot of Saint-Magloire

de Paris, Hugo abbot of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, Philip Augustus, Henry II and Duke
Geoffrey. In fact, the con®rmations of Duke Geoffrey, Bishop Albert and Abbot Elias were
given in 1181, those of the two kings in 1182.

65
Brittany and the Angevins
In February 1182, Henry II made his last will and testament. Among
many pious bequests, the king bequeathed one hundred marcs to the
nuns of `Sanctus Sulpicius Britannie',153 the nunnery of Saint-Sulpice-
Ã
la-Foret. This is the only bequest in the will to a bene®ciary in Brittany,
but it was merely the latest of the king's acts of patronage towards this
abbey.
Saint-Sulpice was founded, around 1112, by Ralph de la Fustaye, a
disciple of Robert d'Arbrissel.154 It was thus part of the fashionable
monastic movement epitomised by the abbey of Fontevraud. Although
it was situated within the diocese of Rennes, Saint-Sulpice was towards
the east of the diocese, in the forest which separated Brittany from
Maine, and from its foundation, attracted the patronage of the aristoc-
racy of Maine and Anjou as well as Brittany. In 1117, Fulk V, count of
Anjou, founded the priory of La Fontaine Saint-Martin in the diocese
of Le Mans. His son, Geoffrey Plantagenet, granted to this priory sixty l.
angevin from his revenues of Angers and Tours, a grant which was
con®rmed by Geoffrey's son, the future Henry II, in 1151.155
In the early years of his reign as king of England, Henry II issued a
charter of con®rmation for Saint-Sulpice's priory of Lillechurch in
Higham (Kent).156 It is clear, therefore, that Henry II was a benefactor
of Saint-Sulpice in his capacity as count of Anjou and king of England,
and would have patronised the nunnery regardless of whether he had
become lord of Brittany.
Finally, patronage of Saint-Sulpice may explain Henry II's con®rma-
tion for Locmaria, when he otherwise showed no interest in the diocese
of Quimper. Although Locmaria was founded as a Benedictine nunnery
by the counts of Cornouaille in the ®rst half of the eleventh century,
around 1124 it was reformed and subordinated to Saint-Sulpice.157
Despite the fact that the document recording the royal con®rmation
assiduously fails to mention Saint-Sulpice, if one regards an act of
patronage towards its priory of Locmaria as the equivalent of patronising
Saint-Sulpice itself, Henry II's con®rmation for Locmaria is explained.
Turning from the regular clergy to the secular, there is similarly little
evidence of Henry II interfering with the election of bishops in
Brittany, except the archbishop of Dol. The simple explanation is that
Actes d'Henri II, no. dcxii.
153

‚‚
H. Guillotel, `Les premiers temps de l'abbaye de Saint-Sulpice', Bulletins de la societe d'histoire et
154


d'archeologie de Bretagne (1971±1974), 60±2.
Cart. Saint-Sulpice, nos. liv, ccxxv.
155

Cart. Saint-Sulpice, no. lxv; Actes d'Henri II, no. xlii; S. Thompson, Women religious: The
156

founding of English nunneries after the Norman Conquest, Oxford, 1991, pp. 131±2, 166.
‚ Á
Actes inedits, no. viii; J. Quaghebur, `Strategie lignagere et pouvoir politique en Cornouaille au
157

Á
XIe siecle', MSHAB 68 (1991), 7±18; Cart. Saint-Sulpice, no. ccxviii.

66
Henry II and Brittany
he did not need to intervene, since the bishops of Brittany readily
accepted Angevin lordship.158
The duchy of Brittany comprised nine dioceses, each of which was
under the control of a local magnate in the eleventh century. The result
of the Gregorian reform movement was that the same seignorial families
retained the regalian right and the right to present candidates for
election. Thus the regalian right for the archbishopric of Dol belonged
to the lord of Combour, for Saint-Brieuc to the lord of Lamballe, for
‚ ‚ ‚
Treguier to the lord of Treguier, for Saint-Pol de Leon to the lord of

Leon. Only the dioceses of Nantes, Rennes, Quimper and possibly
Vannes pertained to the duke of Brittany, as descendant of the relevant
comital families.159 It is in these dioceses, then, that one would expect
to ®nd the in¯uence of Henry II in episcopal elections.
In 1158, Henry II was welcomed in Nantes by the bishop, Bernard
d'Escoublac. Although Bernard, according to custom, refused to swear
fealty or any other oath to the king as count of Nantes, he directed his
men to swear fealty (`®delitas') to him.160 Henry II can have had no
concerns about Bernard's loyalty. Upon his death, he immediately
approved the election of Bernard's nephew, Robert, archdeacon of
Nantes, as his successor.161 After his election, Robert was often at the
king's court, in Normandy and even in England, and was evidently one
of the king's most trusted bishops.162 In the 1177 treaty between Henry
II and Louis VII, Robert was named as one of three bishops chosen by
Henry II to oversee the truce, and he was reappointed when Henry II
renewed the treaty with Philip Augustus in 1180.163
In Rennes, a vacancy occurred soon after Henry II became lord of
Brittany. Here, Henry II intervened to secure the election of his
chaplain, Stephen de Fougeres, as bishop of Rennes.164 There can be
Á
no doubt of the role Stephen played in reinforcing royal authority in
the county of Rennes in the ®rst years after the abdication of Conan IV.


Pocquet du Haut-Jusse (1946), pp. 15±17.
158

In Nantes, Hoel had surrendered the count's regalian right in 1148, presumably as the price of
159 È
recognition of his comital regime by the church (Preuves, cols. 602±3).
Preuves, col. 803. 161 RT, ii, p. 16; Preuves, col. 104.
160

Between 1170 and 1173, Robert attested charters of Henry II at Chinon (Actes d'Henri II, no.
162

ccccxliv) and Le Mans (the con®rmation for Locmaria). He attested the `Treaty of Falaise' in
October 1174 (Actes d'Henri II, no.cccclxviii). Thereafter, he attested royal charters at Caen
(Actes d'Henri II, nos. cccclxxiii, cccclxxiv), Angers (Actes d'Henri II, nos. diii and dix), Le
Mans (Actes d'Henri II, no. dxx) and Winchester (Actes d'Henri II, no.dlxxxvii). Robert also
attested a charter of Duke Geoffrey, at Rennes (Charters, Ge6).
Actes d'Henri II, nos. dvi and dl.

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