<<

. 21
( 55 .)



>>

deputies is unknown, but it may have been quite limited, since their
acts are, in each recorded case, con®rmed by the seneschal himself and
sealed with the seneschal's own seal.
Thus it appears that there was no of®ce of `seneschal of the county of
Nantes' before 1158. Henry II appointed William ®tzHamo his repre-
sentative in the county of Nantes, with the title `dapifer' or `senescallus'.
After William's death in 1172, the of®ce continued to be ®lled by the
king's trusted ministers who apparently had no connections with the
county of Nantes.
Below the rank of seneschal, there is little evidence of the lesser
administrative of®cers in the county. There is no record of a prepositus


Actes d'Henri II, no. dcclxvi, see Appendix 3.
21

BN ms latin 5480, p. 118, cited at Actes d'Henri II, `Introduction', p. 367 note 4, and Oheix
22

(1913), pp. 33, and 180. See Appendix 3.
à Á
BN ms fr. 22319, p. 229, publ. L. Maµtre, `Situation de la diocese de Nantes au xie et au xiie
23

Á
siecle', AB 27 (1911±12), at 350±1.
`Actes de Buzay', no. A2. William Barbot also witnessed Peter ®tzGuy's charter dated 1182
24

(`Actes de Buzay', no. 24).

BN ms latin 5480, p. 118. Simon's toponym probably derives from Saint-Leger-les-Vignes,
25

within the ducal domain of Touffou (Tonnerre, Naissance de la Bretagne, p. 412, note 1).

82
The government of Brittany under Henry II
of Nantes from 1153 to 1186.26 This contrasts with the eleventh and
early twelfth century, when the prepositus of Nantes was a prominent
ducal of®cer. It is possible that Henry II suppressed the of®ce; the king's
charter for Redon merely addresses his `ministri'. However, since the
urban prepositus was an of®ce with which the king was familiar, there is
no reason why he should have suppressed it in Nantes. I would suggest
that Henry II retained the of®ce of prepositus of Nantes, and also the
inferior of®cers, such as vicarii, who constituted the ducal administration
of the county, but superimposed a royal seneschal as their superior. The
prepositi and vicarii did not disappear except from the written record.
The seneschal of Nantes took over those functions of the prepositus
which might have been recorded in writing in the third quarter of the
twelfth century, such as witnessing `comital' acta, exercising comital
jurisdiction and conducting inquests.

the barony of combour
At this point, it is appropriate to consider the barony of Combour
under Angevin rule. Since Henry II took the barony into his own hand
in 1164, it follows that it must have been governed in the king's name
before Conan IV's abdication. Between 1164 and 1166, Combour
represented an enclave of royal authority within the county of Rennes.
Combour was not an ancient political or administrative unit, but a
barony which originated in the alienation of episcopal lands by
Jungenoe, archbishop of Dol, in the mid-eleventh century.27 For this
È
reason, Henry II did not install a seneschal, but instead acted as feudal
lord and gave the wardship and marriage of the infant heiress of the
barony to one of his courtiers, John de Subligny. In his own words (or
at least, those of his clerk) addressed to Henry II, John described his
charge, `Ex benignitate vestra contigit ut mihi honorem Dolensem [ie
Combour] regendum committeritis'. A charter of John's son, Hasculf,
recalls that his father, `ex precepto regis terram custodiebat'.28
As a member of a cadet branch of the Subligny family, John had little
prospect of an inheritance; he thus sought advancement through royal
service and depended on the king's patronage for his position. Like
William ®tzHamo, John was a curialis and his term as custodian of


Robert Giraldi, `prefectus' of Nantes in 1185/6 (Charters, nos. Ge28, and 29), attested a charter
26

of Peter ®tzGuy in 1181 (BN ms latin 5480, p. 117), but without any of®cial title.
Ã
Enquete, pp. 38±41; H. Guillotel, `Des vicomtes d'Alet aux vicomtes de Poudouvre', Annales de
27

‚‚ ‚
la Societe d'Histoire et d'Archeologie de l'arrondissement de St-Malo (1988) 201±215 at 203±6.
BN ms latin 5476, pp. 97±8, 102, and ms fr. 22325, p. 522±3, 525.
28


83
Brittany and the Angevins
Combour was only one of the various services he ful®lled for Henry
II.29
John bene®ted from this act of royal favour by marrying his son,
Hasculf, to the heiress, Isolde and thereby securing Hasculf 's position as
lord of Combour. He also used the lands at his disposal in the barony to
bene®t his Norman kinsmen, including his brother Adam, and his
nephews of the families of Farcy and de Flacheio.30
The only known document made in the name of John de Subligny in
his capacity as custodian of Combour is a report to the king, probably
made in 1167, upon the determination of a dispute over land given to
the abbey of La Vieuville by the late John de Dol, lord of Combour, in
which certain knights claimed the right of `forestagium'.31 The report
indicates that John was exercising jurisdiction pursuant to a royal writ
ordering him to do justice to the abbey. Hence, John's report, and other
documents recording the dispute, refer to his court as the `curia regis'.
The subject matter of the dispute, however, could have been deter-
mined by John within the jurisdiction of his baronial court. The royal
writ presumably came about because the abbey had petitioned the king,
possibly when he visited Combour and Dol in 1166.
In practice, John de Subligny delegated the seignorial administration
of Combour to his brother Adam, presumably to enable him to remain
with the royal court.32 Neither did he attempt to retain custody of
Combour after Hasculf and Isolde had reached marriageable age. They
were married, and succeeded to the barony, before Hasculf had been
knighted or acquired a seal of his own.33
This interpretation of the government of Combour in this period
may be objected to on the grounds that there is evidence for royal
of®cers acting there. Robert de Misoart, `justitia regis', was at Combour
during the 1166 siege of Fougeres,34 and in or before 1174, `H. ballivus
Á
domini regis' authorised a grant of land to the priory of Marmoutier at
Combour.35 As to Robert de Misoart, I suspect he was a servant of John

See Appendix 3.
29

Adam de Subligny (BN ms latin 5476, p. 92±3 and ms fr. 22325, p. 519±20); Ranulf and
30

Ã
Geoffrey Farcy (M. Dubosc (ed.), Cartulaires de la Manche: Abbaye de Montmorel, Saint-Lo, 1878,
nos. ccvi, ccvii, Preuves, col. 726); Ruallen de Flacheio (BN ms latin, 5476, p. 9, 81±2, 84, 149).
BN ms latin 5476, pp. 97±8, and ms fr. 22325, pp. 522±3; Preuves, cols. 658±9. For the date, see
31

BN ms latin 5476, p. 150 and ms fr. 22325, p. 591.
BN ms latin 5476, pp. 33, 97±8, and 149±50, ms fr. 22325, pp.522±523, and 589. Adam
32

apparently resided at the castle of Combour in the capacity of tutor (`nutritius') of John's son
Hasculf (BN ms latin 5476, p. 93; Preuves, col. 647) and continued to witness charters made by
Hasculf after he had become lord of Combour (BN ms latin 5476, pp. 27, and 149).
BN ms latin 5476, p. 99 and fr. 22325 p. 523.
33

Preuves, cols. 642±3.
34

BN ms latin 5331(3), p. 241.
35


84
The government of Brittany under Henry II
de Subligny, who was accorded the grand title of `justitia regis' by a
monastic scribe wishing to add authority to a transaction made in
Robert's presence.36 If John de Subligny's court could be described as a
`curia regis', then perhaps his servant could be described as `royal' also.
As to the `ballivus regis', the land in question was not part of the barony
of Combour, except insofar as it appears to have been the maritagium of
Noga, mother of John de Dol. It may thus have been administered
separately by royal of®cers, especially in the course of the 1173 revolt.37
The royal administration of Combour must have been severely
disrupted by the siege of Dol in 1173. Some of the of®cials of the
archbishop of Dol and the lord of Combour joined the rebels, along
with many of the tenants.38 The archbishop of Dol and John de
Subligny are conspicuously absent from the records of the siege of Dol;
John, at least, spent the rebellion in the royal entourage.39 No dated
document refers to John de Subligny in the context of Combour after
1173, so it possible that the rebellion marked a turning-point. When
Dol and Combour were back in Henry II's hands and peace was
restored, Hasculf de Subligny and Isolde were married and allowed to
enter Isolde's inheritance. The interim period of about nine years, in
which the barony was governed for Henry II by John de Subligny, had
come to an end.40
In the last quarter of the twelfth century, Combour was within the
civil jurisdiction of the seneschal of Rennes.41 The lords of Combour
continued to exercise seignorial jurisdiction, as did lords in other parts
of Brittany, but henceforth there were no specially constituted royal
courts or royal justices at Combour.


Robert's toponym may derive from Misouard (commune Montviron, near Avranches) (Nomen-
36

‚ ‚
clature des hameaux, ecarts et lieux-dits du departement de la Manche, Institut National de la statistique
‚ ‚
et des etudes economiques, Rouen, 1961). See Everard, `Justiciarship', p. 95 note 57.
An earlier grant from the same lands was made with the consent of Noga `que tunc illius
37

territorii domina erat'. Noga gave this land to her grandson Stephen, a younger son of Geoffrey
Boterel II, to hold as vicarius and `custos' (BN ms latin 5441(3), p. 438). Noga's maritagium came
‚ ‚
from the castellany of Tinteniac, adjacent to Combour to the south-west. The lords of Tinteniac
rebelled and were punished by Henry II both in 1168 and 1173. Hence the king may have been
especially anxious to maintain authority in this area in the aftermath of the 1173 revolt.
Ã
Enquete, p.11. See above, p. 60.
38

John de Subligny was at Henry II's court at Caen at Christmas 1173 (Itinerary, p. 177). He was
39

still with the king in October 1174 when he witnessed the Treaty of Falaise (Actes d'Henri II, no.
cccclxviii).
None of their earlier charters are dated, but Hasculf and Isolde's two sons were of an age to give
40

their consent to a donation by 1183 (BN ms latin 5476, p. 87), and the elder son, John,
succeeded between 1196 and 1203 (BN ms latin, pp. 84±5, and 93). This evidence suggests that
Hasculf and Isolde were old enough to be married around 1173.
Ã
E.g., Enquete, passim; `Cart. St-Georges', Appendix, no. ix.
41


85
Brittany and the Angevins

the county of rennes
As noted in the previous chapter, Henry II acquired lordship of the
county of Rennes upon the abdication of Duke Conan IV in 1166.
Here, he did not much alter the existing administrative system. In
contrast with the county of Nantes, Rennes already had an adminis-
trative system designed to function in the count's/duke's absence.
During the reign of Duke Conan III, William, the hereditary ducal
seneschal, left the household and became the duke's representative in
Rennes. With a possible interruption during the reign of Eudo de
Porhoet, the of®ce continued in the same family until 1166. William's
È
grandson, Guy, was seneschal of Rennes under Conan IV.42 It appears
that Henry II's only innovation, upon taking possession of Rennes in
1166, was to appoint a new seneschal, the curialis William de Lanvallay.43
Even so, Guy the hereditary seneschal was not removed from of®ce.
Styled `senescallus de Redonia', he attested at least one charter of
William de Lanvallay. In 1170, styled `dapifer', Guy attested a charter of
Stephen de Fougeres, bishop of Rennes.44 The coexistence of the two
Á
seneschals is probably explained by the appointment of William de
Lanvallay as Guy's superior. Signi®cantly, there is no record of Guy
presiding in any legal process.
The seneschal of Rennes under Dukes Conan III and Conan IV was
the chief of®cer responsible for the ducal domain in the county of
Rennes. Whether his circumscription was the entire county of Rennes
or the city of Rennes is somewhat academic, because ducal domain in
the county of Rennes was limited to the city of Rennes and its environs.
The seneschal appointed by Henry II, in contrast, was the chief of®cer
responsible for the administration of the county of Rennes. His
jurisdiction extended throughout the county, not just within the ducal
domains. William de Lanvallay witnessed a transaction in which the
bishop of Rennes bought land from the abbey of Melleray, which
obviously was not ducal domain.45 It is no coincidence that the bishop
Á
who thus acknowledged William's authority was Stephen de Fougeres,
chaplain of Henry II. As noted in the previous chapter, in the early
years of Angevin rule in the county of Rennes, the bishop and the
seneschal worked together to reinforce royal authority. Henry II's
authority was more ®rmly established in 1181, when the seneschal of
Rennes conducted an inquest into the temporal rights of the archbishop
of Dol in the environs of Dol.46
See Appendix 2. 43 See Appendix 3. 44 AN ms L977.
42

Bibl. mun. de Rennes ms 242, fols. 206v ± 7r; Preuves, col. 672.
45

<<

. 21
( 55 .)



>>