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Enquete, pp. 32±77.

The government of Brittany under Henry II
Another innovation under Angevin rule was the practice of recording
in writing of®cial acts of the seneschal of Rennes. Before 1166
seneschals of Rennes are recorded only as witnesses to ducal charters.
William de Lanvallay, in contrast, appears in written records holding the
king's court at Rennes, and also attesting a transaction of the bishop of
Rennes in his of®cial capacity.
Even in William's case, most of the extant records of his activities
(that is, two out of three) were made by the churches which bene®ted
from them. One is the notice written by Stephen de Fougeres, bishop
of Rennes, mentioned above, attested by William de Lanvallay `Redon'
senescallus'.47 The second is an undated notice of the abbey of Saint-
Melaine de Rennes recording the settlement of a dispute which was
made `in curia Guillermi de Lanvallai, qui tunc temporis senescallus
Redonensis erat'.48
The most remarkable document is William de Lanvallay's own
charter, recording the mortgage of unidenti®ed land by William
Pingnard to Esveillard de Cesson:
Ego Guillermus de Lanvalei senescallus Redonie presentibus et futuris notum
facio quod Esveillardus de Seisson in curia domini regis Redonie recepit a
domino Guillelmo Pingnardo in gagium suam terram pro .lxxx.i. libris coram
me concessione amicorum et consanguineorum memorati Willelmi et dom-
inorum feodi. Et predictus Esveillardus tenebit predictam terram donec
prenominatum debitum ei persolvatur. Et si aliquid in servicio ejusdem terre de
suo expenderit, supradictus Willelmus hoc totum ei persolvet antequam terram
recuperet. Testibus Guarino decano de Redonis, Petro ®lio Milesent, Regi-
naldo Crocun, Roberto de Lenci, Gabillardo et Herveo de Sesson, et Guidone
senescallo de Redonis, et Acario de Muscuns et Reinero de Gahart.49
In its brief, economical form and language, this document appears to
have been produced as a matter of routine. It is the formal record of a
contract between two laymen, which may have been brought to the
`curia domini regis Redonie' speci®cally so that it could be witnessed by
the seneschal and recorded in writing in his name. The fact that a
transaction between two laymen (rather than between a layman and a
religious house) has been recorded in writing is remarkable in itself in
Brittany in this period. From the circumstances of the making of this
charter, and its form, it is unlikely that it was an isolated document. It is

Bibl. mun. de Rennes, ms 242, fols. 206v ± 7r. As noted above, Guy `dapifer' also witnessed an

episcopal charter, in 1170.
`Cart. St-Melaine', f. 14v.

After `Cart. St-Melaine', f. 64r. Esveillard de Cesson was alive in 1177 (see note below), but

both Esveillard and William Pingnard were active in the early 1150s (AN ms L977; Preuves, cols.
602, and 623), hence it is unlikely that this charter is dated much later than 1170.

Brittany and the Angevins
more probable that William de Lanvallay routinely produced such
documents at the behest of laymen who, as parties to the proceedings,
sought a written record made under the authority of the seneschal.
In the three documents involving William de Lanvallay, two describe
civil court proceedings. There is no evidence, from these records, that
William exercised any compulsory jurisdiction which would have
required cases to be brought before him. Both cases were brought
before William because one or both of the parties wished the ®nal
settlement of the matter to be witnessed in open court and by the royal
seneschal. Esveillard de Cesson, at least, was enthusiastic about the
Angevin regime, because in 1177 Henry II gave him land in England
for his service.50
Although none of the three documents is dated, William de Lanval-
lay's tenure of the of®ce of seneschal of Rennes can be determined
quite closely. It seems reasonable to assume that he was appointed by
Henry II immediately after Conan IV's abdication in 1166. William de
Lanvallay was with Henry II at Portsea in March 1166,51 which suggests
he crossed with the king and joined in the campaign against Fougeres,
being then on the spot to take possession of Rennes.
Between Michaelmas 1171 and Michaelmas 1172, William was
appointed castellan of Winchester, whereupon he must have given up
the of®ce of seneschal of Rennes and returned to England.52 Subse-
quently, William de Lanvallay was a royal justice in England and does
not appear to have returned to Brittany.53 He thus held the of®ce of
seneschal of Rennes for no more than ®ve years, between mid-1166 and
Michaelmas 1172.
A single reference to Robert de Lanvallay, seneschal of Rennes, is
dif®cult to explain, since there is no other record of this individual, who
presumably was an otherwise unknown younger brother of William.
An undated charter of `Robertus de Lanvalai senescallus Redonensis'
records the settlement of a dispute in his presence, `in curia domini
regis'; the original was sealed by Robert's own seal.54 This renders it
unlikely that Robert was merely acting as William's deputy, and
suggests that Robert succeeded William as seneschal of Rennes.
The next record of a royal seneschal of Rennes is the 1181 `Inquest of
Dol' conducted by Reginald Boterel, `eo tempore senescallus Redo-
nensis'.55 Since this inquest was probably ordered by Henry II before

Pipe Roll 23 Henry II, p.180. See also W. Farrer, Feudal Cambridgeshire (Cambridge, 1920), p. 225.

Itinerary, p. 91. 52 Pipe Roll 18 Henry II, p. 78.

Itinerary, pp.195, 198, 203, 210, 224, and 228.

Actes de Henri II, I, p. 350 (edition, after the cartulary of Savigny, f. 74) and ii, p. 487.

Enquete, pp. 76±7.

The government of Brittany under Henry II
Geoffrey became duke of Brittany, it is likely that Reginald Boterel
was appointed seneschal of Rennes by the king at some time before
1181. Reginald Boterel was related to William de Lanvallay, and his
family had a history of loyalty to Henry II, but he was not a royal
This appointment indicates a certain relaxation in Henry II's policy
towards the county of Rennes. William de Lanvallay, one of the `top'
curiales, was removed to an of®ce where his abilities were more needed,
and the of®ce of seneschal of Rennes was then entrusted to a man who,
although his loyalty and abilities were not in question, was not one of
the king's trusted professional ministers.

the county of cornouaille
There is very little evidence for the administration of Cornouaille in this
period. Sources are scarce, but it may also be that this denotes an
absence of royal administration before about 1175. First, it appears that
Conan IV continued to exercise comital authority in Cornouaille
between 1166 and his death in 1171. Added to this was the dif®culty
that Eudo de Porhoet had usurped ducal domains in the east of the
county in the 1150s. These were recovered by Henry II in 1168, but
usurped once more by Eudo in the 1173 revolt and not recovered until
1175. The troubled history of the ducal domains on the frontier
between Cornouaille and the Broerec at this time synchronises perfectly
with the chronology of the foundation of the abbey of Notre-Dame de
Carnoet.57 This dislocation would have prevented wholesale reform of
the administration in any event.
Henry II may have reformed the administration of Cornouaille, as in
Nantes and Rennes, by introducing a seneschal whose duties extended
beyond the ducal domain, but the evidence for this is very tenuous. A
charter of Conan IV dated 1170, con®rming Mont Saint-Michel's rights

See EYC, iv, pp. 35, 51±3. Reginald Boterel, like William de Lanvallay, was a descendant of

Aimeric ®tzGeoffrey (see below, p. 209, also K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, `The Bretons and Normans
of England, 1066±1154: The family, the ®ef and the feudal monarchy', Nottingham Medieval
Studies 36 (1992), 42±78 at 58). Reginald's father, Peter Boterel, and William de Lanvallay were
®rst-cousins, and the Boterel family held honour of Richmond land in Abington, Cambs., of the
Lanvallay family (R. Ransford (ed.), The Early Charters of the Augustinian canons of Waltham Abbey,
Essex, 1062±1230, nos. 164, and 166). It is, therefore, possible that William de Lanvallay secured
Reginald's appointment. On the other hand, Reginald's family also had a history of service to
Henry II. His father attested at least one charter of Henry, as duke of Normandy, in 1149/50
(Actes d'Henri II, no. x). Hamo Boterel (p. 210) may have been an uncle. Prior to 1181, Reginald
himself is only recorded in the service of Conan IV (EYC, iv, nos. 30, 30A, 52, 55 and 58).
See chapter 2, pp. 44±5, 51, 116.

Brittany and the Angevins
in land in Cornouaille, was attested by a Henry `dapifer'.58 Henry was
not a member of Conan IV's household, since Conan's charters were
more often attested by another seneschal, associated with Guingamp,
Geoffrey son of Rivallon.59 Henry may, therefore, have been `seneschal
of Cornouaille', but whether he was accountable to Conan IV or Henry
II is unknown.

Having discussed the government of Brittany under Henry II region-
by-region, this is an appropriate point to discuss the theory that Henry
II was responsible for the creation of the eight baillies of Brittany.60 This
administrative system appears in the `Livre des Ostz', a manuscript dated
1294, which prescribes the military service owed to the duke of Brittany
by various tenants. The list shows the duchy divided into eight regions
Á ‚
called baillies: Rennes, Nantes, Ploermel, Broerec, Penthievre, Treguier,

Cornouaille and Leon. Later sources indicate that these were adminis-
trative divisions, each of which was headed by a ducal seneschal, who
was responsible for collecting all that was owed to the duke by the
residents of his baillie. The seneschal's seat was a ducal castle or town,
where he held the ducal curia and where tenants who held lands situated
in the baillie directly of the duke rendered their homage.61
The above discussion, I hope, makes it clear that Henry II cannot
have created this system because his administration was limited to the
counties of Nantes and Rennes until 1175. Cornouaille and Broerec didÈ

not fall under Angevin control until at least 1175, Leon not until 1179.
Á ‚
Penthievre (that is, the barony of Lamballe) and Treguier may have
been held by lords who were not hostile to Henry II, but equally there
is no evidence that Henry II attempted to exercise any authority there.
Several decades later, in the ®rst quarter of the thirteenth century, the
system was still not established in its ®nal form. In 1206, Cornouaille
and Broerec were united under one ducal seneschal. By 1214, they had
split again, and there was a seneschal of Cornouaille and Poher.62 The
Cartulary of Mont Saint-Michel, Bibl. mun. d'Avranches ms 210, f. 118r, published in Preuves,

col. 662 (from the original, no longer extant) and EYC, iv, no. 78. The date of this charter ®ts

the dates of one of the witnesses, Rivallon, abbot of Sainte-Croix de Quimperle (1163±87)

(Cart. Quimperle, p. 108). For the reasons given above, I do not share the doubts about its
authenticity expressed by C.T. Clay (EYC, iv, p. 72).
EYC, iv, nos. 58, and 64; Preuves, cols. 661±2.

‚‚ Á

Oheix, Senechaux, pp. 37±9; J. Kerherve, L'Etat breton aux 14e et 15e siecles: Les Ducs, l'argent et les

hommes, Paris, 1987, i, p. 42.
‚‚ ‚ ‚
Oheix, Senechaux, pp. 22±3, 41, 45±50 and 52ff; A. de la Borderie, Essai sur la geographie feodale

de la Bretagne, Rennes, 1889, p. 77.

Hist. Quimperle, pp. 604±5, 608.

The government of Brittany under Henry II
seneschalcy of Poher, based at Carhaix, then disappeared, while the
seneschalcy of Cornouaille ¯ourished.
It is safer to say that the initial reforms effected by Henry II in the
third quarter of the twelfth century sowed the seeds for the develop-
ment of the baillies.63 It was Henry II who created the of®ce of a ducal
seneschal, in each of the counties of Nantes, Rennes and Cornouaille,
responsible for exercising ducal authority over the inhabitants of the
whole county, not just those of ducal domain. This was, of course, an
innovation in Brittany, where the native dukes had not previously
sought to exercise authority outside their domains. Henry II thus set a
pattern for the future of the ducal administration. I do not, however,
believe that the king ever had in mind a grand design of dividing
Brittany into eight baillies each with its own seneschal.
In this account of the royal administration of Brittany under Henry
II, I have attempted to take a prosopographical approach to the
evidence of the personnel involved, summarised in Appendix 3. It is
notable that a large proportion of Henry II's agents in Brittany were
themselves either Breton by birth or belonged to families holding land
in the honour of Richmond, many of which originated in Brittany.
The exception seems to be the county of Nantes. Apart from William
®tzHamo, who was a tenant of the honour of Richmond, the named
seneschals (Peter ®tzGuy, Robert Doisnel, Eudo ®tzErneis) are not
known to have had any connections with Nantes, before or after
holding the of®ce. In contrast, in Rennes, William de Lanvallay (and,
presumably, Robert de Lanvallay) and Reginald Boterel represented
two branches of the same Breton family, possessing land in the county
of Rennes itself and in the honour of Richmond. Similarly, Henry II's
principal royal agent from 1172675 to 1181 was Rolland de Dinan, a
Breton baron (whose estates were in the county of Rennes) and English
tenant-in-chief. Naturally, these men had permanent connections with
the county, from landholding and personal relationships such as mar-


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