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Founding an abbey required years of planning, and Duke Geoffrey
simply did not have the opportunity to bring to fruition any such plans
he may have had.
In terms of Geoffrey's patronage, account should be taken of the fact
that, as duke, there was no one house, or region, where his patronage
was naturally directed. Rather, it was appropriate for the duke of
Brittany and earl of Richmond to spread his patronage widely, if thinly.
In 1181, Geoffrey took under his protection the priory of Saint-
Magloire de Lehon, and in 1184 he determined a dispute in favour of
this monastery.82 He gave a general con®rmation for the abbey of
Boquen, and con®rmed the foundation of the abbeys of Bonrepos by
Alan de Rohan, and Beaulieu by Rolland de Dinan. In the case of
Beaulieu, Duke Geoffrey made an additional grant of rights in the ducal
forest of Lanmeur. On a smaller scale, he con®rmed a grant of a tithe by
his courtier, Ivo de la Jaille, to La Vieuville.83
The monastery most patronised by Duke Geoffrey was the abbey of
Savigny. Possibly this was due to the fact that Savigny's patron, Ralph
de Fougeres, enjoyed such favour in the ducal household. In 1185,
Geoffrey gave a general con®rmation of the grants of Duke Conan IV

and Andrew and Robert de Vitre to Savigny, with an additional grant
of immunity from customary dues throughout all his lands, and took the
abbey under his personal protection. He also con®rmed a grant of
William ®tzPagan (which had ®rst been made in the ducal curia in the

Charters, no. Ge 7.

EYC, iv, p. 70; Preuves, col. 664; A. Du®ef, Les Cisterciens en Bretagne aux XIIe et XIIIe siecles,

Rennes, 1997, pp. 79, 130±1.
Charters, nos. Ge 4, and 5; Preuves, col. 701.

Charters, nos. Ge 19, 20, 24, and 26.

Duke Geoffrey and Brittany, 1166±1186
presence of Ralph de Fougeres), and determined, in favour of Savigny,
the abbey's dispute with William de Saint-Gilles.84
Curiously, there are as many instances of Geoffrey making grants of
ducal property to monasteries in the diocese of Nantes, after he had
acquired the county of Nantes around 1185, as for all of his reign up to
that date. As noted above, Geoffrey made general grants of rights and
immunities to Beaulieu and to Savigny, and a grant to the cathedral of
Rouen, all in 1184±5. In the ®rst seven months of 1186, however, he
made three grants in the county of Nantes alone. Admittedly, his grant
to the priory of Saint-Cyr de Nantes, as the charter itself states, was
compensation for his extension of the forti®cations of Nantes, which
had trespassed onto the nunnery's gardens, and the grant of an island to
the abbey of La Blanche Couronne was probably connected with the
assertion of ducal authority over the barony of Pontchateau.85 Ã
However, Geoffrey's grant to Buzay (albeit probably made on his
deathbed) was made for pious reasons.86
Apart from con®rmation of their rights and arbitration of their
disputes, Duke Geoffrey does not appear to have imposed any control
over the Breton monasteries. The only known instance of his active
intervention in the election of an abbot is in the case of the abbey of
Saint-Melaine de Rennes.87 The abbey had been reformed in the mid-
eleventh century by the introduction of monks from Saint-Florent de
Saumur, under the patronage of Conan II, count of Rennes. The duke
of Brittany thus had the right to approve the election of the abbot. At
the same time, a precedent had been set which led Saint-Florent to
assert that abbots of Saint-Melaine must be drawn from the monks of
Saint-Florent, at least if there was no ®t candidate for the abbacy in
Saint-Melaine itself.
Against this background, Duke Geoffrey intervened in the election
following the death of Abbot William `Privatus', between 1181 and
1184.88 According to the monks of Saint-Florent, the monks had
already made their election when Duke Geoffrey forced upon them
Gervase, a monk of Marmoutier. One can only speculate as to why

Charters, nos. Ge 22, 23, and 24; AN L977, undated charter of Herbert, bishop of Rennes.

Charters, nos. Ge 27, and 28.

Charters, no. Ge 30.

Bulls of Pope Lucius III (PL, 201, col. 1327 (dated `VI kal. Novembris, 1184±1185'); Preuves,

col. 699 (dated `VI idus Novembris')) and of Urban III (PL, 202, col. 1342 (dated 10 December

1185/6); Preuves, col. 703). See B.-A. Pocquet du Haut-Jusse, Les papes et les ducs de Bretagne, i,
Paris, 1928, pp. 22±3.
Abbot William is mentioned in an undated notice recording a transaction involving Duke

Geoffrey and Albert, bishop of Saint-Malo (1181 x 1184) (`Cart. St-Melaine', f. 186, published

Actes inedits, no. lviii).

Brittany and the Angevins
Gervase was chosen, as nothing is known of him before this, but Duke
Geoffrey's object might have been to assert the independence of the
Rennais monastery from the Angevin Saint-Florent.
Some monks left Saint-Melaine in protest and went to Saint-Florent,
whence they appealed to the papal curia. In a bull issued in November
1184, Pope Lucius III ordered the dispute be determined by three
legates, but the matter was still unresolved a year later. In December
1185, Pope Urban III directed one of the legates, Ralph de Beaumont,
bishop of Angers, and two new legates, to determine the dispute. No
record of their ®nding has survived, but Gervase continued in of®ce,
apparently unimpeached, until about 1188.89 The litigation over his
election seems to have had no practical effect on Gervase's abbacy; on at
least one occasion, he acted as legate of Pope Lucius III.90 It is not
surprising that Gervase is the only abbot to have attested any of Duke
Geoffrey's charters; it is, however, testimony to Geoffrey's authority
and prestige that his candidate won the day.91
The secular church
Considering the short period of Geoffrey's reign, there was a remarkable
turnover of bishops, and hence the opportunity to intervene in the
ensuing episcopal elections. Between 1181 and 1186, at least ®ve, and
possibly seven, of the nine bishoprics of Brittany fell vacant. Philip,
bishop of Rennes, and Geoffrey of Vannes died in 1182, Albert of
Saint-Malo, Geoffrey of Quimper and Robert of Nantes around

1184±5. Guy, bishop of Leon, was still alive in 1179 but had been
succeeded by Bishop Ivo before 1186.92 Pregent, bishop of Saint-
Brieuc, was succeeded by Bishop Geoffrey II between 1180 and 1187.93
Only Rolland of Pisa, archbishop of Dol (1177±88), and Geoffrey,

bishop of Treguier (1179±c. 1216), held of®ce throughout Geoffrey's
reign. There is, however, no evidence that Duke Geoffrey exploited
the opportunity thus presented to enjoy the episcopal temporalities by
prolonging vacancies or appointing his own bishops.
When Geoffrey came to power in 1181, Philip, the former abbot of
Clermont, was bishop of Rennes. That his successor, Herbert, was also

Gallia Christiana, xiv, col. 775.

In 1184 or 1185, Pope Lucius delegated to Gervase and Maurice, abbot of Saint-Pierre de Rille,

the determination of a dispute involving Marmoutier's priory of Sainte-Croix de Vitre (AD Ille-
et-Vilaine, 1F544, copied by A. de la Borderie from an original chirograph, dated `mclxxxiiii,
vi. kal' Aprilis'). For other acts of Abbot Gervase, see L.-J. Denis (ed.), Chartes de l'abbaye de
Saint-Julien de Tours (1002±1227), no. 122; Gallia Christiana, xiv, col. 775.
Charters, no. Ge 20.

Gallia Christiana, xiv, cols. 976±7; `Cart. St-Melaine', f. 89; Preuves, col. 705.

BN ms fr. 22329, p. 355.

Duke Geoffrey and Brittany, 1166±1186
abbot of Clermont suggests that the election was canonical, and that the
chapter of Rennes had some connection with Clermont. There seems,
in fact, to have been some ecclesiastical imperialism by the chapter of
Rennes. Guethenoc, bishop of Vannes (elected 1182), and Peter Gerald,
bishop of Saint-Malo (elected between mid-1184 and Easter 1185), both
came from the chapter of Rennes. Possibly there was a connection
between this and Duke Geoffrey's residence in Rennes, with the duke
selecting canons of Rennes to ®ll episcopal vacancies elsewhere in the
duchy. In contrast, Theobald, the successor of Geoffrey, bishop of

Quimper, was a Benedictine monk from Sainte-Croix de Quimperle.
All four of these bishops, Rennes, Vannes, Saint-Malo and Quimper,
could have been canonically elected, with no evidence of ducal
interference now available.
Another episcopal election which may have been determined by
Duke Geoffrey was that of Maurice de Blason, who was elected bishop
of Nantes during 1185.94 This theory rests entirely upon identi®cation
of Maurice de Blason with the `Mauricius cancellarius' who attested a
ducal charter at Rennes in 1185. Although a bishopric was the typical
reward for an Angevin chancellor, an alternative identi®cation of
Maurice `cancellarius' as Maurice de Locmariaquer contradicts the
theory.95 It is further undermined by the fact that Maurice was already
bishop-elect when the `Assize of Count Geoffrey' was promulgated,
and this probably occurred before Geoffrey acquired the county of
Nantes. Maurice, therefore, was elected under the regime of Henry II
in Nantes, and this ®ts better with the fact that he was a Poitevin.
To assess the extent to which the Breton bishops supported Duke
Geoffrey, I have considered their attestations to ducal charters. Gen-
erally, ducal charters were not attested by any bishops or abbots, only by
the laymen who were present at the ducal curia. The relatively few
episcopal attestations show a clear pattern; only the bishops of four of
the ®ve eastern dioceses, Rennes, Saint-Malo, Vannes and Nantes,
attested ducal charters. Attestations by the bishops of the four western
dioceses are completely lacking.
The greatest concentration of episcopal attestations is in the `Assize of
count Geoffrey', which was attested by Herbert, bishop of Rennes,
Peter of Saint-Malo, Guethenoc of Vannes and Maurice, bishop-elect
of Nantes. All of these bishops (except Nantes) came to of®ce under
Duke Geoffrey, which may indicate they owed their of®ce to the duke,
The see of Nantes was vacant for a few months from the death of Bishop Robert, which

occurred no later than 15 January 1185. Maurice was bishop-elect when he attested the `Assize
of Count Geoffrey' at Rennes in 1185, probably after Easter.
Charters, p. 5.

Brittany and the Angevins
except that their predecessors, too, had acknowledged Geoffrey's
authority. Philip, bishop of Rennes, dated a charter in January 1182,
`Duce existente in Britannia Gaufrido Henrici regis ®lio'.96 Albert,
bishop of Saint-Malo, issued a charter con®rming a settlement between
the abbeys of Saint-Melaine and Beaulieu which had been determined
by Duke Geoffrey and his barons.97 Robert, bishop of Nantes, and
Guethenoc of Vannes attested a ducal charter made at Rennes in 1183/
4 concerning honour of Richmond lands, not subject-matter which
concerned them as bishops.98 The attestation of the bishop of Nantes
must have a different signi®cance because Geoffrey had not then
acquired the county of Nantes.
Since Rennes seems to have been Duke Geoffrey's principal resi-
dence between 1181 and 1185, it is not surprising that the bishop of
Rennes should appear the most frequently in ducal acts. On Good
Friday 1185, Duke Geoffrey joined Herbert, bishop of Rennes,
Guethenoc, bishop of Vannes, and Peter, bishop of Saint-Malo, in the
cathedral chapter at Rennes. Bishop Herbert, with Gervase, abbot of
Saint-Melaine, attested Duke Geoffrey's charter for the abbey of
Beaulieu at Rennes. Bishop Herbert also gave a charter, around 1185,
con®rming a transaction made `in curia comitis Britannie'.99
There is a curious absence of any attestations by the head of the ®fth
eastern diocese, the archbishop of Dol. One would certainly expect the
archbishop to have supported Duke Geoffrey as Henry II's successor. It
is safe to assume that Rolland of Pisa, the archbishop of Dol from 1177
to 1187 or 1188, would have attested ducal charters if he had been
present in Brittany. Both his advocacy of the metropolitan status of Dol
and his commitments as papal legate, and then cardinal, meant that
Rolland spent much of the time between 1181 and his death in 1187/8
in Rome and elsewhere. He was only able to participate in the inquest
ordered by Henry II, in October 1181, during a brief visit to Dol en
route between Rome and a papal legation to Scotland.100

The absence of the four western bishops, Saint-Brieuc, Treguier,

Leon and Quimper, is subject to several possible explanations. One is
distance; the bishops of Rennes, Saint-Malo, Vannes and Nantes were
more likely to be present when the ducal curia was at Rennes or Nantes

AN ms L974. 97 `Cart. St-Melaine', folios 186r, and v.

Charters, no. Ge 18. 99 Charters, no. Ge 20; AN ms L977.

For the career of Rolland of Pisa see F. Duine (ed.), La Bretagne et les pays celtiques, xii, La

‚ ‚ Á
metropole de Bretagne: `Chronique de Dol' composee au XIe siecle et catalogues des dignitaires jusqu'a la
‚volution, Paris, 1916, pp. 131±4. See Enquete, p. 77, and the charters of Archbishop Rolland
(Enquete, Appendices i and ii), which establish that he was at Dol in or shortly before October
1181 and again in 1184.


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