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The charter for Le Tronchet has no place-date.

77
Brittany and the Angevins
his death in 1172, and Rolland de Dinan, from 1175 to 1181.4 The
principal agent had an important role in Henry II's court, but arguably
more in¯uential for Breton law and society was the regional govern-
ment under the Angevins.

the county of nantes
Between 1158 and 1166, the county of Nantes was the only part of
Brittany subject to the king's immediate lordship and government.
To what extent the administration of the county of Nantes was
altered during the successive reigns of Counts Hoel (1148±56) and
È
Geoffrey (1156±58) is unknown. Possibly some change of personnel
had occurred, since the prepositus of Nantes under Count Hoel was not
È
5
a member of the family of hereditary prepositi. Alfred de Sion was a
minor baron, whose estates were situated at the extreme north of the
county of Nantes.6 Nothing at all is known of the administration of
Nantes under Count Geoffrey.
The administration was shaped by the presence in the county of the
count/duke. After Duke Alan IV succeeded his younger brother as
count of Nantes, around 1103, he and his son Conan III seem to have
made Nantes their principal residence.7 The mid-twelfth-century
counts, Hoel and Geoffrey, had no territorial possessions outside the
È
county. The administration was thus designed to function under the
personal supervision of the count/duke. This, too, had been the
situation in the counties of Anjou and Poitou until the mid-twelfth
century. When the count was obliged to reside outside the county, in
both cases, the solution was to delegate comital powers to the count's
household seneschal. In the case of Anjou, a seneschal attached to the
comital household ®rst appears between 1060 and 1085, about the same
time as in Brittany. J. Boussard charts the evolution of the `seneschal of

Anjou' from a household of®cer to `un veritable vice-comte'. Boussard
ascribes the transformation to the reign of Henry II, speci®cally around
1165±80. It was in this period that a count of Anjou, Geoffrey

J. Everard, `The Justiciarship in Brittany and Ireland under Henry II', Anglo-Norman Studies, 20
4

(1998), 87±105.

N.-Y. Tonnerre, Naissance de la Bretagne: Geographie historique et structures sociales de la Bretagne
5

‚ Á Á
meridionale (Nantais et Vannetais) de la ®n du VIIIe a la ®n du XIIe siecle. Angers, 1994, p. 532;
Preuves, cols. 453±4, 468±9, 472, 487 and 524. This family is last recorded in of®ce in 1133 (Cart.
Redon, no. lxxiv).

Preuves, col. 617. Since Alfred de Sion witnessed a charter of Conan III (Actes inedits, no. xxxv),
6

it is possible the change had occurred before 1148. The family also had interests in the Nantes
area, possibly as the result of ducal grants (`Actes de Buzay', no. 49; AIV, 1F456).
Tonnerre, Naissance de la Bretagne, p. 533.
7


78
The government of Brittany under Henry II
Plantagenet, ®rst began to govern another province, as duke of

Normandy from 1144. In the case of Poitou, William de Mauze, father
and son, had been seneschals of the counts of Poitou since at least 1096.
Eleanor of Aquitaine ceased to reside in Poitou when her husband
became King Louis VII. In c.1138, Louis VII provided for the govern-

ment of Poitou in their absence by appointing William de Mauze

`seneschal of Poitou'. William de Mauze probably died in 1148 or 1149,
and when Poitou passed from Louis VII to Henry II in 1152, a new
`seneschal of Poitou' was appointed, Eble de Mauleon.8 Thus the

`seneschal of Anjou' and the `seneschal of Poitou' became the superior
of®cer in the administration of each county.
The appearance of a `seneschal of Rennes' under Duke Conan III
represents a similar development occurring in Brittany at about the
same time. No such of®cer was required in Nantes before 1158 due to
the presence of the count. The administration of the county of Nantes
in 1158, therefore, probably closely resembled the administration of
Anjou of a generation earlier.
After Conan IV yielded the city of Nantes and `Media' at Avranches
in September 1158, the king hurried south to take possession of his new
acquisition. Robert de Torigni records, with unfortunate vagueness,
that Henry II took possession of the city of Nantes, `qua accepta et
disposita ad libitum'.9 Whatever this means, it can be surmised that the
king made such arrangements as were necessary for the county to be
governed in his absence. It certainly involved a reform which would
have seemed obvious to the Angevin king: the creation of the of®ce of
`seneschal of Nantes', a royal delegate who would represent the king in
the county of Nantes. It has been asserted that Henry initially appointed
a baron of the county, John de Goulaine, as `gouverneur de Nantes',
but not upon any reliable authority.10 Henry II's charter for the abbey
of Redon, probably made in October 1158, was addressed to the king's
`dapifer' and `ministris', and attested by William ®tzHamo, styled
`dapifer Nannetensis'.11
The king's charter for Redon is the only known document in which
‚ Á ‚
L. Halphen, Le comte d'Anjou au XIe siecle. Paris, 1906, p. 192; J. Boussard, Le comte d'Anjou sous
8

Ã
Henri II Plantagenet et ses ®ls (1151±1204), Paris, 1938, pp. 113±27; A. Richard, Les comtes de
Poitou (Paris, 1903) i, pp. 414 and 420, ii, pp. 48±9, 66, 71, 83, 87±8, 95±6, 115±6.
RT, i, p. 313.
9

A. Guillotin de Courson, Les grandes seigneuries de Haute-Bretagne, iii (Rennes, 1899), pp. 151±2;
10

‚ ‚‚
R. Kerviler, Repertoire general de bio-bibliographie bretonne, 11 vols., viii (Rennes, 1886±1908,
reprinted Mayenne, 1985), `De Goulaine'. John de Goulaine attested a charter of Count Hoel at È
Nantes in 1149, and may have supported the Angevin regime since his younger son, Matthew,
was a courtier of Geoffrey and Constance (Charters, nos. Ge7, Ge28, C4, C17, C70; Preuves,
cols. 603, 711).
Cart. Redon, p. 744, note 2; Actes d'Henri II, no. cclix. For William ®tzHamo, see Appendix iii.
11


79
Brittany and the Angevins
William ®tzHamo is accorded this title, and the authenticity of the
charter is questionable. Nevertheless, a contemporary forgery would
re¯ect the scribe's understanding of William ®tzHamo's actual status,
even if he was mistaken as to the of®cial title. William was indisputably
the principal royal agent in the county of Nantes.
Several undated documents record the exercise of of®cial duties by
William ®tzHamo, styled simply `senescallus'. In all cases, they record
the exercise of judicial functions. It is unlikely that William's duties
were limited to the administration of justice; rather this was the only
one of his duties whose exercise was recorded in writing. The ®rst
document, the king's charter for Redon, gives orders to the bishop and
the seneschal of Nantes that, if anyone should injure the abbey of

Redon in respect of its rights in Guerande and the whole of `Media',
`vos ei plenariam justitiam faciatis'.
The important role of Bernard d'Escoublac as bishop of Nantes is also
indicated in the two other documents which record William exercising
his judicial functions. A notice of the abbey of Melleray records a
dispute which was settled in the presence of Bishop Bernard and
William ®tzHamo `senescallus' at the Bouffay, the ducal castle in the
city of Nantes.12
Second, a charter of Bishop Bernard records how William ®tzHamo
`senescalcus' conducted an inquest at Nantes into the right of the abbey
of Saint-Georges de Rennes to receive a certain part of ducal tolls on
the shipment of salt and wheat on the Loire.13 The editor of the
cartulary of Saint-Georges de Rennes dated this charter to 1169,
apparently on the basis that the abbess concerned (`A.') was Adelaide de

Vitre (1169±89), who was abbess for only a short time before the death
of Bernard, bishop of Nantes ( January 1170). However, the abbess
could have been Adelaide de Mathefelon (1153±March 1164), as argued
by R. Blanchard. I do not, however, agree with Blanchard that the
inquest, and hence this charter, date from shortly before a con®rmation
charter issued by Conan IV at Rennes on 22 September 1158, because it
is highly unlikely that William ®tzHamo was acting as seneschal of
Nantes before Conan IV yielded the city to Henry II on 29 September
1158.14 There are two possible ranges of dates for the charter: 29
September 1158±March 1164, and late 1169±5 January 1170. I prefer
the earlier, on the grounds that the nuns were moved to petition Henry


BN ms fr. 22319, p. 207. For the Bouffay, see A. Chedeville and N. Tonnerre, La Bretagne
12

‚ Á
feodale XIe-XIIIe siecle, Rennes, 1987, pp. 34, 202, and 421.
'Cart. St-Georges', p. 309.
13

R. Blanchard (ed.), Cartulaire des sires de Rays 1160±1449, i, Poitiers, 1898, p. lxvii; `Cart.
14

St-Georges', pp. 309±11 and EYC, iv, no. 49.

80
The government of Brittany under Henry II
II or William ®tzHamo soon after Conan IV's capitulation. No doubt
they felt their title was vulnerable, since the abbey of Saint-Georges was
in Rennes and the toll was paid in Nantes, and Nantes, it now appeared,
was going to be under different lordship from Rennes for the foresee-
able future.
How long William remained in the of®ce cannot be determined. His
three acts, just described, must all date from before 1170 since Bernard
d'Escoublac, bishop of Nantes, died on 5 January 1170.15 Around 1164,
William was the royal `seneschal of Angers', which may imply he had
left Nantes, but probably he held the of®ces concurrently.16 From
around 1170 William seems to have been Henry II's principal royal
agent for all of Brittany, until his death in November 1172.17
There is more evidence for William's successor as `seneschal of
Nantes', Peter ®tzGuy, another of Henry II's professional ministers.
The ®rst dated record of Peter as seneschal is a charter of 1181, which
refers to Peter ®tzGuy and Robert Doisnel (de Doniol), `senescalli
domini regis Anglie tunc Nannetensis'.18 This leaves a period of some
eight years after William ®tzHamo's death unaccounted for, but an
undated charter of Robert, bishop of Nantes, and Peter ®tzGuy, styled
`senescallus Nannetensis', could have been made at any time after
Robert's election in January 1170.19
I have found ®ve contemporary records of Peter ®tzGuy exercising
his of®cial duties as seneschal of Nantes. They record settlements of
disputes or other transactions witnessed by Peter and certi®ed by his
seal. It is signi®cant that all ®ve derive from only two abbeys, three from
Buzay and two from Fontevraud.20 It is reasonable to assume that, as
seneschal of Nantes, Peter made many more charters, for the bene®t of
other parties, which have not survived.
Peter was seneschal of Nantes at least until 1183. After leaving this
of®ce, he returned to the court of Henry II, attesting a charter made at
Chinon between 1187 and 1189, and continued to be active in royal


`Actes de Buzay', `Introduction' p. xxxxi.
15

Y. Chauvin (ed.), Cartulaires de l'abbaye Saint-Serge et Saint-Bach d'Angers, Angers, 1997, i,
16

pp. 313±4; BN ms fr. 22353, p. 299 (publ. RHF, xvi, pp. 97±8); P. Marchegay (ed.),
`Cartularium monasterii Beate Marie Andegavensis', in P. Marchegay (ed.), Archives d'Anjou, iii,
Angers, 1854, pp. 82±3, 316±17.
See Appendix 3.
17

BN ms latin 5480, p.117; Actes d'Henri II, `Introduction', p. 413. See Appendix 3.
18

`Actes de Buzay', no. A2, p. 529. Also, Peter is styled `dapifer' in an attestation to a royal charter
19

made 1172 x 1175 (Actes d'Henri II, no. cccclxxxi).
`Actes de Buzay', nos. 24 (1182), 25 (1183), and A2 (1170 x 1184), A. Oheix (1913), Essai sur les
20

‚‚ Á
senechaux de Bretagne des origines au XIVe siecle, Paris, 1913, pp. 193±5; Fontevraud, BN ms latin
5480, pp.117 (1181), and 115±6 (`1193', probably an error for 1183).

81
Brittany and the Angevins
government in Le Mans after Henry II's death.21 There is no other
record of Robert de Doniol in relation to Nantes. The fact that he
appears in one document, apparently sharing the of®ce of seneschal
with Peter ®tzGuy, is typical of the ¯exible, even ad hoc, character of
Henry II's government of Nantes. It is also possible that Robert was
Peter's subordinate and deputy, as the use of deputies by the seneschals
of Nantes is well attested. Peter was probably succeeded by another
curialis, Eudo ®tzErneis, who appears in a charter dated 1185 styled
`signescallus domini regis Nannet''.22
Henry II's seneschals of Nantes themselves employed deputies, since
the seneschals were all curiales of Henry II and consequently were often
absent from Nantes on other royal business. William Barbot was a
subordinate in the royal administration of Nantes under both William
®tzHamo and Peter ®tzGuy. In July 1167 he attested a charter styled
`cliens regis'.23 A settlement between the abbey of Buzay and Judicael
de `Bomalo' was made in the presence of William Barbot, `qui loco
Petri Guidonis senescalli Nannetensis . . . aderat'. A chirograph charter
recording the terms of this settlement, and William's role, was later
sealed by Robert, bishop of Nantes, and Peter ®tzGuy.24 A charter of
Eudo ®tzErneis, dated 1185, records a ®nancial transaction made in the

presence of Simon de Saint-Leger, `qui erat in loco meo apud
25
Nannet''. The degree to which royal authority was delegated to such

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