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before the marriage and hence before Geoffrey began to rule Brittany
independently. If so, it would have been consistent with the policy
adopted by the royal chancery, of issuing writs containing Henry II's
orders to agents in Brittany in the joint names of the king and Geoffrey
`comes Britannie'. The inquest must be understood, in any event, in the
wider context of Henry II's support for the cause of the archbishop of
Dol against the archbishop of Tours, which had less to do with Henry's
policy towards Brittany than with his relations with the king of
France.12
The second example is the subjection of the monastery of Saint-
Magloire de Lehon to the abbey of Marmoutier, which was negotiated
during 1181 and was con®rmed by a charter of Henry II made at
Chinon in 1182. Although the monastery of Saint-Magloire de Lehon
‚ Ã
Le Patourel, `Henri II', p. 104±5; cf. B.A. Pocquet du Haut-Jusse, `Les Plantagenets et la
10

Bretagne', AB 53 (1946), 2±27 at 11±12.
Ã
Enquete, pp. 32±77. 12 See pp. 69±75.
11


97
Brittany and the Angevins
was situated in Brittany, the other parties were in Tours (the abbey of
Marmoutier) and the French royal principality (the abbey of Saint-
Magloire de Paris). This fact alone explains the involvement of Henry
II, along with Philip Augustus, in ratifying and con®rming the ®nal
settlement. Henry II also acted as arbitrator in a subsidiary dispute
between Albert, bishop of Saint-Malo, and the abbot of Marmoutier.
Comparison of the charters of Henry II, Philip Augustus and Geoffrey,
all con®rming the agreed terms of the transfer, indicates that Geoffrey
was the lord who had the closest interest in the subject-matter of the
agreement and the enforcement of its terms. Geoffrey's charter was
issued in 1181, notifying all concerned of the agreement. The con®rma-
tion charters of the two kings, in contrast, were not issued until 1182.13
Subsequently, there are two occasions on which Henry II appears to
have used or threatened military sanctions against Geoffrey within
Brittany. Around 1182, according to Robert de Torigni, the city of
Rennes was seized and occupied by royal troops, then forcibly retaken
by Geoffrey. Torigni unfortunately gives no explanation of these
events. All that can be said is that, since Geoffrey also attacked Becherel
in the course of these hostilities, Rolland de Dinan may have been
involved in an assertion of royal authority which con¯icted with
Geoffrey's authority. Torigni receives some corroboration from a
miracle-story cited by Le Baud, which describes the burning of a village
`outre Dinan' at the time when Geoffrey `embrassa' the city of
Rennes.14
Roger of Howden records that, after Geoffrey had made peace with
his father following the 1183 rebellion, Henry II seized all of Geoffrey's
castles and forti®cations in Brittany `in misericordia sua'.15 It is dif®cult
to see how the king could, in practice, have disseised Geoffrey of all of
his castles in Brittany. Moreover, by Michaelmas that year, they were
reconciled to the extent that Henry had allowed Geoffrey into posses-
sion of the honour of Richmond.16 It is more likely that the seizure was
ordered in theory, or threatened, but not carried out in practice.
Henry II's point must have been that his sons ultimately held their
lands of him, with Geoffrey holding Brittany of the king as duke of
Normandy. This does not prove that, after 1181, Henry II normally had
any involvement in the government of Brittany beyond sovereignty
over the duke. It seems more probable that, as Henry II granted to

Actes d'Henri II, nos. dcxv and dcxvi; BN ms latin 12879, f. 182; Preuves, col. 690; Charters, nos.
13

Ge4 and 5.

RT, ii, p. 115; C. d'Hozier (ed.), Histoire de Bretagne, avec les chroniques des maisons de Vitre et de
14

Laval par Pierre Le Baud, Paris, 1638, p. 196.
Gesta, p. 304. 16 See p. 128.
15


98
Duke Geoffrey and Brittany, 1166±1186
Geoffrey each piece of the ducal inheritance, starting with most of
Brittany in 1181, he granted the right to govern autonomously, without
paternal interference, at least as long as Geoffrey's exercise of authority
did not con¯ict with the king's interests.

geoffrey `dux britannie', 1181 ± 1186
`The [grand] ceremony which marked Geoffrey's accession to the

county of Brittany in 1180 (sic) ± for which Chretien de Troyes wrote
17
Erec,' remains, alas, a historical fantasy. Details of the marriage and any
investiture ceremony are completely lacking, but there is ®rm evidence
that Geoffrey and Constance were married in 1181, before the end of
August. The only contemporary chronicler to record the event is
Robert de Torigni, who records it brie¯y under the rubric for 1182, but
following immediately after a record of Henry II's crossing to England
in late July 1181.18 A charter of Fontevraud, dated `1181' and during the
ponti®cate of Alexander III (died 30 August 1181) refers to Geoffrey as
`dux Britannie'.19 The wedding had certainly taken place by October,
since an act of the seneschal of Rennes is dated `mclxxxi mense
Octobri . . . anno videlicet quo predictus comes [Britannie] duxit
uxorem'.20
It is also certain that in 1181 Geoffrey became duke of Brittany, jure
uxoris. This is made clear from the terms of a charter which is the earliest
known to have been issued by Geoffrey as duke, in the last months of
1181. Although it is issued under Geoffrey's ducal authority, and with
his seal attached, the consent of Constance to the act is expressly
recorded, `Hanc . . . compositionem Constantia uxor mea Britannie
comitissa, ad quam comitatus Britannie jure hereditario pertinebat, et
per eam ad me interveniente matrimonio devenerat, concessit'.21 In
none of Geoffrey's subsequent ducal acts would his source of authority
be so emphatically stated, and it is tempting to see this as Geoffrey's ®rst
ducal act.
The early years of Duke Geoffrey's reign, especially, are characterised
by a revival of ducal government as it was in the days of Dukes Conan

J. Dunbabin, France in the making, 843±1180, Oxford, 1985, pp. 130, and 416. cf. G.S. Burgess,
17


Chretien de Troyes, Erec et Eneide, London, 1984, p. 9.
RT, ii, p. 104; cf. Gesta, p. 277 and RH, p. 260.
18

AD Maine-et-Loire, 158H1, no. 3; BN ms latin 5840, p. 117. Geoffrey is referred to as `dux
19

existente in Britannia' in a charter of Philip, bishop of Rennes, dated 9 January 1181 (AN, ms
L974), but reference to Pope Lucius [III], who was not elected until September 1181, indicates
that the episcopal chancery was using the new style, hence the charter was made in January
1182.
Ã
Enquete, p. 77. 21 Charters, no. Ge4.
20


99
Brittany and the Angevins
III and Conan IV. Partly, this was an inevitable consequence of the
return of a resident duke and ducal household. In other respects,
though, it was a conscious and deliberate policy. Throughout his reign,
Geoffrey strove to appease the Breton magnates, and restoring the
institutions of the `good old days' of native rule was one aspect of this.
The reason for this policy may be consciousness that he owed his
position to his marriage to Duchess Constance. This is apparent from
Geoffrey's ®rst known charter, cited above. Several of Geoffrey's
charters disposing of property in Brittany record Constance's assent.22
Constance in fact exercised ducal authority in her own name and under
her own seal during Geoffrey's lifetime.23 It is possible that many
Bretons, laymen and clerics, owed their personal loyalty to Constance as
heiress of the native ducal dynasty, and merely tolerated Duke Geoffrey.
According to the `Chronicle of Saint-Brieuc', Geoffrey `ratione illius
matrimonii, populum Britannicum, quamdiu vitam duxit, dulciter
tractavit'.24
Without wishing to detract from the important role of Constance as
duchess of Brittany, I do not think this consideration alone explains
Duke Geoffey's policy of imitating the native dukes. Rather, I would
argue that Geoffrey deliberately adopted this policy to identify himself
with the native dukes and with the Breton people, and to distinguish his
regime from that of Henry II. Geoffrey did not merely identify himself
with the Bretons, he positively intended to placate them, in order to
win their support for his personal lordship.
This self-conscious imitation of the native dukes is manifested in the
iconography and diplomatic of the new regime. In 1181, Duke Geoffrey
adopted the designs of Conan IV's seal and his ducal coinage.25 He also
adopted Conan IV's title, `dux Britannie et comes Richmundie'. The
`comes Richmundie' was not a reality until 1183, but then neither had
Conan been `dux Britannie' from 1166 to 1171.
The principal seat of ducal government remained at Rennes. Like the
native dukes, Geoffrey was resident in the duchy, exercising ducal
authority personally and correspondingly relying less upon of®cials than
had the absentee Henry II.
There are many more records of ducal grants and con®rmations, and
Charters, nos. Ge 4, 19, 20, 21, 28.
22

Charters, nos. C3, and 4.
23

BN ms latin 6003 f. 92v; RHF, xii, p. 567. Since the `Chronicle of Saint-Brieuc' was composed
24

in the late fourteenth century (ibid., p. 565, note a), one cannot be certain that this judgment is
based on any contemporary source.
For the seal, see Charters, p. 6. For the coins, see A. Bigot, Essai sur les monnaies du royaume et
25

‚ ‚
duche de Bretagne, Paris 1857, pp. 52±3, plate vii; F. Poey d'Avant, Monnaies feodales de France,
Paris 1858, i, p. 54, plate ix, nos. 19±21.

100
Duke Geoffrey and Brittany, 1166±1186
matters determined in the duke's presence under Geoffrey for the ®ve
years from 1181 to 1186 than there were under Henry II for the
twenty-three years from 1158 to 1181.
On the other hand, the rarity of recorded acts of Henry II concerning
Brittany is compensated for by the extant records of acts of his ministers,
as discussed in chapter three. The opposite applies to the reign of Duke
Geoffrey. While there are many more ducal acts, there are no records of
acts of ducal of®cials. There are no acts of the seneschal of Rennes
which can be attributed with certainty to the period between 1181 and
1186. Similarly, Geoffrey's seneschal and prepositus of Nantes are
identi®able only from their attestations to ducal charters.26
The more important functions of the seneschal, or at least those most
likely to be recorded in writing, were assumed by the resident duke and
duchess. For instance, Reginald Boterel was probably present in the
capacity of seneschal of Rennes at the settlement of a dispute between
the abbeys of Saint-Melaine and Beaulieu by Duke Geoffrey and his
curia.27 Reginald may have sat as a member of the ducal curia to
determine the case, and/or been present when the terms of the
settlement were written down, to authorise the record.
The ducal household was revived and restored to an important place
among Breton institutions. The composition of the household remained
the same as that of the native dukes. The household of®cers mentioned
in Geoffrey's acta are the chamberlain,28 the chancellor (also chaplains
and clerks) and an almoner.29 To emphasise the element of continuity,
Geoffrey even retained some of the same courtiers who had attended
Conan IV: the twins Alan and Richard of Moulton and Reginald
Boterel. The ducal chancery was restored by Duke Geoffrey, whose acta
provide diplomatic evidence that they were composed and written by a
body of ducal clerks and not by their bene®ciaries.30
Duke Geoffrey's court was composed almost exclusively of Bretons
and Richmond tenants. As noted above, some were the same courtiers
who had served Conan IV. The only `foreigners' were Gerard de
Fournival and Ivo de la Jaille. Gerard, apparently from the Beauvaisis,
joined Geoffrey's court in or before 1181 and was endowed by Geoffrey
with the manor of Great Munden (Herts.) in the honour of
Charters, nos. Ge 28, and 29.
26

`Cart. St-Melaine', f. 186.
27

Ralph the chamberlain attested two charters of Duke Geoffrey in England, probably in 1184
28

(Charters, nos. Ge 8, and 9) and one charter of Duchess Constance made at Nantes, probably
around 1187 (Charters, no. C19). He may be identi®ed with Ralph of Middleton who was
chamberlain under Conan IV, since he was still alive in 1184 x 1189 (EYC, v, p. 356).
Brother Jarnogon (Charters, no. Ge30, and C17).
29

See Charters, pp. 3±6.
30


101
Brittany and the Angevins
Richmond.31 Ivo was a baron associated with the Breton-Angevin
frontier and apparently having interests in Brittany before 1181.32
Otherwise, Duke Geoffrey attracted to his court Breton barons and the
younger sons of baronial families, such as Matthew de Goulaine,
building a solid following of Bretons who would support him with their
counsel and their military resources.
In the regional administration, Geoffrey respected the institutions
employed by Henry II, retaining the county seneschals. As discussed in
chapters one and two, this of®ce had been evolving under the native
dukes in any event. Geoffrey's administration soon developed a different
character from his father's, though, since whenever Henry II's men
were replaced, the appointees were natives, and even the heirs to
hereditary of®ces. Duke Geoffrey's policy of relying upon, and working
with, the Bretons is amply demonstrated in his appointments to of®ces.
This policy is exempli®ed in the creation of the of®ce of seneschal of
Á
Brittany for Ralph de Fougeres. The of®ce of seneschal of Brittany
(`senescallus Britannie') was an innovation of Duke Geoffrey, intro-
duced not before 1183.33
At every opportunity Geoffrey replaced one of his father's of®cers
with a man who was a native of the territory he was to administer. In
Rennes, he went so far as to restore the hereditary seneschal. At ®rst, as
noted above, Geoffrey retained Reginald Boterel as seneschal. Reginald

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