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of the metropolitan of Dol, in contrast, were the great barons who had,
during the eleventh century, usurped comital authority over the
northern half of Brittany, that is, the lords of Combour, Dinan,
‚ ‚
Lamballe, Treguier and Leon.
A change is perceptible only after the deaths of both King Henry I
and Duke Conan III. Eudo de Porhoet, Conan III's successor in
northern Brittany, actively supported archbishop Oliver (1147±c. De-
cember 1153) and thus may also have been involved in the election of
Hugo as Oliver's successor early in 1154.180 It is not clear how Eudo

`Inquest of Avaugour', passim.

BN mss latin 5441(3), p. 438, 5476, pp. 98±9 and ms fr.22325, p. 523.

Duine (Metropole de Bretagne, p. 125) asserts that Eudo de Porhoet was involved in the election
180 È
of archbishop Oliver. This cannot be correct, because Duine implies that Oliver was elected
before Easter 1147, whereas Eudo de Porhoet cannot have acted as duke of Brittany until after
the death of Conan III in 1148.

Henry II and Brittany
succeeded in interfering in Dol, when previous dukes had lacked either
the authority or the will to do so. His alliance with the lord of
Combour, John de Dol, would certainly have helped. Eudo's interven-
tion, furthermore, coincides with the disappearance of strong rule in
Normandy and England following the death of Henry I. It seems that
Eudo de Porhoet took over the patronage of Dol in the absence of
patronage by the duke of Normandy for the ®rst time in nearly one
hundred years. Eudo's patronage, as events showed, was of no avail to
either Oliver or Hugo. Oliver was the ®rst archbishop-elect since the
time of Archbishop Evan whom the pope had refused to consecrate.
This marked the beginning of the phase which was to reach its nadir
with Archbishop Hugo's submission to Tours in 1154.
One cannot be sure at what point Henry II became interested in the
archbishopric of Dol and decided to intervene. Whatever the precise
timing, Henry II saw in the archbishopric of Dol an opportunity to
assert his rights as duke of Normandy. Relying on the historical
relationship between the archbishop of Dol, the lord of Combour and
the duke of Normandy, Henry II intervened, early in 1155, to support
Hugo's ailing archiepiscopacy. At the same time as supporting Hugo,
Henry II secured the alliance of John de Dol. By the late 1150s, Henry
II had removed John de Dol from the alliance of Eudo de Porhoet, È
possibly received his homage, and assumed the right to approve the
election of the archbishop of Dol.
Pope Adrian IV died in September 1159, and Archbishop Hugo did
not long outlast his support. In 1161, Hugo resigned on the grounds of
ill-health. Since his resignation was made in Henry II's presence it is
likely that he chose, or was obliged, to retire in favour of one more
equal to the challenge.181 Henry II approved the election of a Norman,
Roger du Hommet, archdeacon of Bayeux.182
With the certain loyalty of this archbishop, Henry II was prepared to
allow Ralph de Fougeres to hold the barony of Combour in wardship
after John de Dol's death in 1162. Circumstances changed when Roger
died, within only a year or two of his election, before 1164.183 He was
succeeded by archbishop John II (c. 1163±1177), the circumstances of
whose election, and origins, are unknown. That John did not submit to
the archbishop of Tours is indicated by the fact that he had not yet been
RT, i, p. 332.

Before his appointment to the archbishopric, Roger du Hommet attested several royal charters

in Normandy (Actes d'Henri II, nos. lxxx, clxii clxxxii, cxciv). He was probably related to
Richard du Hommet, Henry II's constable of Normandy (who also attested no. cxciv).
Since John II is attested in a document recording an act which cannot be dated later than 1163,

when he con®rmed a settlement with John, bishop of Saint-Malo, who died in that year

(Duine, Metropole de Bretagne, p. 130).

Brittany and the Angevins
consecrated by 1170.184 In any event, the uncertainty produced by the
death of Archbishop Roger may have prompted Henry II to send his
kinsman, Richard du Hommet, the constable of Normandy, to take the
barony of Combour into the king's hand in August 1164.
After the appointment of Roger du Hommet, there is no further
record of Henry II interfering in the election of the archbishop of Dol,
although there would be two more elections before 1181, that of John
II around 1163, and of Rolland of Pisa in 1177. The election of Rolland
of Pisa may represent the renewed exercise of regalian right by the lord
of Combour. Between 1164 and around 1173±5, Combour was held by
John de Subligny in wardship of the gift of Henry II. Soon after the
1173 revolt, John's son Hasculf became lord of Combour by marriage to
the heiress, Isolde. Thus Archbishop Rolland was elected during the
period when either John de Subligny or (more probably) his son was
lord of Combour. Before becoming archbishop, Rolland had been a
canon of the cathedral chapter of Avranches. The Subligny family must
have had regular contact with the cathedral chapter. John's paternal
uncle, Richard, was dean, then bishop of Avranches.185 It is thus not
surprising that the new archbishop was sought there. On the other
hand, Robert de Torigni portrays this election as dominated not by the
Norman lord of Combour, but by the Norman clergy; in the persons of
Robert himself, as abbot of Mont Saint-Michel, and the bishops of
Bayeux and Avranches.186 This is not a signi®cant dichotomy; rather it
is illustrative of the Norman in¯uence, both lay and ecclesiastical, in the
diocese of Dol which had begun under William the Conqueror.
If it seems curious that there is no record of Henry II actively
intervening in the dispute between 1161 and 1181, there are two
explanations. As mentioned above, after around 1164, the king's
interests in the archbishop of Dol were overseen by John de Subligny
and his son, Hasculf. Secondly, the dispute was less intense between
1157 and around 1173, when the archbishop of Tours was Josce, a
Breton who was formerly the bishop of Saint-Brieuc. Henry II
continued to be interested in the case. As noted above, in 1181 he
ordered an inquest into the possessions of the archbishop of Dol in the
marshes of Dol.187 The aim of the inquest was to establish which
property had been unlawfully alienated by previous archbishops, or
otherwise usurped by laymen, and thus to reconstitute the archiepis-
copal domain and improve the archbishop's ®nancial resources. The fact

Duine, Metropole de Bretagne, p. 130; Preuves, col. 666.

A charter of Hasculf de Subligny describes Richard, bishop of Avranches, as his brother

(Preuves, col. 587), thus he was the uncle of John de Subligny.
RT, ii, p. 72. 187 Enquete, pp. 32±77.

Henry II and Brittany
that the inquest was conducted by royal of®cers, under the seneschal of
Rennes, must also have demonstrated the king's support for the
The claims of Dol were ultimately a total failure, Pope Innocent III
®nally deciding in favour of Tours, and, in effect, the king of France, in
1199. Throughout the period from 1155 at least until 1181, however,
Dol's case was arguable and was upheld by a succession of popes. In this
period, it was a real political issue, and the concern of the king of
France is indicated by the active intervention of Louis VII and Philip
Augustus, in turn, in support of Tours.188 It was in view of the potential
for success, and in any event for causing considerable discom®ture to
Louis VII, that Henry II ®rst involved himself with the archbishopric of
This chapter has demonstrated the considerable amount of time and
resources Henry II invested in acquiring Brittany. This expenditure of
time and resources was, however, less than it might have been because
various groups in Breton society either tolerated or actively welcomed
Angevin rule. These were, most notably, the Church, also some great
‚ ‚
barons such as Henry of Treguier and Andrew de Vitre, and ®nally,
apparently, the populace at large. The rebellious barons were in the
There is, however, very little evidence of the king being personally
involved in Brittany other than on military and diplomatic business.
Once a military campaign or political negotiation was ®nished, the king
moved on to another of his provinces. Henry II clearly did not govern
Brittany in person. Instead he delegated his authority to agents, trusted
ministers like William ®tzHamo and Rolland de Dinan. The adminis-
tration Henry II created to govern Brittany in his absence will be
discussed in the next chapter.

Duine, Metropole de Bretagne, pp. 131±4.



The characteristic feature of Henry II's regime in Brittany is that the
king never purported to govern Brittany in person. Royal authority was
delegated to certain trusted ministers who governed the province in the
king's absence. There is, for instance, no evidence of Henry II
personally judging any legal dispute concerning Brittany. The king
himself only acted when petitioned in a particular matter. In response to
such petitions, he would give his consent or con®rmation to a trans-
action, or order an inquest or trial to be conducted by a royal agent in
The extent to which the administration was left to the discretion of
royal ministers is demonstrated by the fact that there are only three
known writs concerning Brittany issued in the king's own name for the
whole period from 1158 to 1189. These are known only from mentions
and all seem to have been addressed to the king's resident of®cers
ordering them to initiate legal processes in Brittany. The ®rst, c.1167, to
John de Subligny ordered him to do justice to the abbey of La Vieuville
in a particular dispute. In his return to Henry II, John states, `mandaver-
atis per breve vestram quatinus abbatiam Veteris villa omnesque
possessiones illius manuteneram et defenderam'. The second writ was
issued to Rolland de Dinan in the case of the relics of St Petroc in 1177.
The third, issued in 1181, ordered the seneschal of Rennes to conduct
an inquest into the temporal rights of the archbishop of Dol in the
marshes of Dol.1
The texts survive of only six acts of Henry II concerning property
situated in Brittany, of which two are not relevant to this discussion
because they were made in 1182, after Duke Geoffrey's accession. All
record grants to monasteries or con®rmations of their rights, and were

BN ms latin 5476, pp. 97±8 and ms fr. 22325, pp. 522±3; DRF, p. 181; Enquete, p. 77.

The government of Brittany under Henry II
discussed in the previous chapter in the context of Henry II and the
Breton church.2
The total record of Henry II's acts in relation to the royal
administration of Brittany between 1158 and 1181 thus consists of four
grants or con®rmations to monasteries (at least two of which were
made outside Brittany), and three writs.3 Evidently, Henry II did not
govern Brittany in person, or even have any regular involvement in its
Neither was royal government of Brittany comprehensive. Royal
authority was exercised in the counties of Nantes (from 1158), Rennes
and Cornouaille (from 1166) and the Broerec (from as late as 1175).

Leon was subjected to Angevin rule only in 1179, so discussion of this
region is postponed to a later chapter on the reign of Duke Geoffrey.
There is no evidence that royal authority was exercised at all in

Treguier and Lamballe, where there were no ducal domains. Henry II
left the internal government of these two major baronies to their
trustworthy lords: the loyal comes Henry and, in Lamballe, the descen-
dants of Geoffrey Boterel II.
In each of the counties of Nantes, Rennes and Cornouaille, a separate
royal administration was established. The chief royal of®cer in each
county, the seneschal, was answerable directly to the king. The situation
in the Broerec is more obscure, due to a lack of contemporary
documents. There is no reference to a seneschal of the Broerec earlier
than the reign of Duke Geoffrey.
Discussions of Henry II's government of Brittany tend to focus on
Angevin innovation, and the innovation most commonly cited is the
creation of the of®ce of `seneschal of Brittany'. As I have argued
previously, I do not attribute the creation of this of®ce to Henry II.
Rather, it seems to me that Henry II's government of Brittany was
characterised by considerable ¯exibility of personnel and their duties.
This is epitomised by the role played in Brittany, and elsewhere, by a
succession of trusted ministers as `principal royal agent', that is, being
the king's general representative in a province, and expert on that
province, along with discharging other duties in royal service. Henry
II's principal agents for Brittany were William ®tzHamo, from c.1169 to

Con®rmation for Redon (Cart. Redon, p. 744, note 2; Actes d'Henri II, no. cclix); con®rmation

for Rille (Calendar of Patent Rolls, Henry III, 1247±1258, London, 1908, pp. 382±3); charter for Le
Tronchet (BN ms fr. 22319, p.238; Actes d'Henri II, no. cccxxxv); con®rmation for Locmaria
(AD Finistere, 27H 2); determination of dispute concerning Saint-Magloire de Lehon (see above,
p. 65).
The charter for Redon, given at Thouars, and the con®rmation for Locmaria, given at Le Mans.


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