lxxvii. Blanchard dismisses Le Baud's account of the involvement of Harscoet, but without
citing any cogent evidence.
For independent evidence of Andrew de Vitre's daughter being given as hostage, see
A. Bertrand de Brousillon, (ed.), La Maison de Laval (1020Â±1605): Etude historique accompagnee du
Cartulaire de Craon, 5 vols., Paris, 1893, v, no. 3200.
The end of Angevin Brittany, 1186Â±1203
briant. In the second quarter of the century, `the church of St Malo in
the forest of Teillay' became a priory of Saint-Sulpice-la-Foret and
thrived under the patronage of the bishops of Rennes and the lords of
Chateaubriant.52 As a patroness of Saint-Sulpice, Constance might have
visited the priory as she travelled from Rennes to Nantes; alternatively,
the forest of Teillay may have made a good place for an ambush. Le
Baud does not explain how this might have occurred within the
domainal lands of Geoffrey de Chateaubriant, one of the Breton barons
who supported Arthur during Constance's captivity.53
In the absence of any corroboration for Teillay as the place of
capture, I suspect Le Baud of invention, inspired by a charter of
Constance's made in the 1190s at Teillolium. Le Baud may have
associated this charter with Constance's captivity because it is the only
one of her acts for which there is also an act of Ranulf regarding the
same subject-matter. But Ranulf 's charter was made elsewhere, at
Martilli, so there is no reason to think that Constance and Ranulf were
together at the time, and furthermore the latest date for both charters is
If the sources conÂ¯ict as to the place of Constance's capture, there is
no evidence at all for the location, or duration, of her captivity. There
is, however, a substantial amount of evidence for events in Brittany
during this period.
Roger of Howden again treats these events very summarily. Ac-
cording to Howden, when Arthur was unable to free his mother (a
petition to Richard by Arthur and his counsellors must be implied
here), he went over to Philip Augustus and attacked Richard's lands. In
response, Richard invaded Brittany and laid waste to it.55 In view of
this account of violent hostility, it is curious that Howden should record
that, at around the same time, Arthur `dux Britannie' petitioned
Richard on behalf of Peter de Dinan, then archdeacon of York.56
Perhaps this was at an early stage, when Arthur Â®rst sought Constance's
release, otherwise he could not have expected to have any inÂ¯uence at
the Angevin court. This incident does, however, give the sense of a
period of time elapsing between Constance's capture and the outbreak
This is also the sense one gets from Le Baud's account in his `Histoire
A. de la Borderie, Essai sur geographie feodale de la Bretagne, Rennes, 1989, pp. 9, 86; Preuves, cols.
985Â±6; Cart. St-Sulpice, pp. 100, 104, 142, 181, 183, 283, 420, 432.
Le Baud, Histoire de Bretagne, p. 202, 204.
Charters, nos. C25, R6, see also EYC, iv, pp. 77Â±8 and plate xv. Teillolium has been tentatively
identiÂ®ed as Le Tilleul (dep. Manche).
RH, iv, 7.
RH, iv, 8. See Charters, `Biographical notes', pp. 118Â±9.
Brittany and the Angevins
de Bretagne'.57 According to Le Baud, when the Breton barons learned
of Constance's capture, their response was to send to her to ask what
they should do. William, seneschal of Rennes, conveyed to them the
duchess's orders, that they should swear fealty and render homage to
Arthur, and serve him as they would herself. An assembly of bishops
and barons then met Arthur at Saint-Malo de Beignon on 16 August, at
which the magnates swore fealty to Arthur, and he swore, with sureties,
that he would not make peace with Richard without them.58 Soon
after Constance was taken captive, Richard came to Rennes to see
Arthur, but the boy had been given by his guardians into the custody of
Andrew de Vitre, who concealed him in his own estates. Richard then
left for Normandy. Herbert, bishop of Rennes, and Andrew de Vitre
followed the king and petitioned him to release Constance. Richard
agreed, provided the Bretons gave hostages to guarantee that Constance
would henceforth govern Brittany in accordance with his wishes.
Andrew de Vitre and other barons gave hostages, on the condition that
they should be returned if Constance had not been freed by the feast of
the Assumption of the Virgin Mary next (15 August 1196). Both
Richard and Harscoet de Rays swore to these terms.59
When the appointed date came, Le Baud continues, and neither
Constance nor the hostages were delivered, Andrew de Vitre sought
Constance's instructions. She ordered him to ensure that Arthur did not
fall into Richard's hands. The Breton barons demanded Richard and his
sureties (the surety named is Robert of Thornham, seneschal of Anjou)
to fulÂ®l their undertaking and release Constance. Not wishing to do so,
Richard sent military forces under Robert of Thornham into Brittany.
They invaded the barony of Vitre, but Andrew had already departed,
taking Arthur with him to the western extremities of Brittany. At this
point, Le Baud interrupts his narrative to cite various Breton annals of
the conÂ¯ict between Richard and the Bretons, without attempting to
Le Baud, Histoire de Bretagne, pp. 202Â±4; cf. ibid., Le Baud, Chroniques de Vitre, pp. 30Â±4 in
C. d'Hozier (ed.), Histoire de Bretagne, avec les chroniques des maisons de Vitre et de Laval par Pierre
Le Baud, Paris, 1638.
Le Baud, Histoire de Bretagne, p. 202. Saint-Malo de Beignon (cant. Guer, arrond. Ploermel, dep.
Morbihan) was a residence of the bishops of Saint-Malo (L. Rosenzweig, Dictionnaire
topographique du departement du Morbihan, Paris, 1870, pp. xvii-xviii, 251Â±2), conÂ®rming William
of Newburgh's record that the Bretons withdrew Arthur `ad interiora Britannie' (WN, ii,
p. 464). Le Baud's account of this assembly appears to be derived from two contemporary
documents. One, a charter for Andrew de Vitre (Le Baud, Chroniques de Vitre, pp. 30Â±1) is
dated, `the sixth day in the octave of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, 1180 (sic)'. Friday in
the octave of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in 1196 fell on 16 August.
Again, the Chroniques de Vitre (p. 31) gives more details of the document which was Le Baud's
source, reciting the terms which were to apply if Constance was released within the term. The
names of witnesses and the seals attached to this charter are also listed.
The end of Angevin Brittany, 1186Â±1203
reconcile their brief accounts. The narrative resumes with Andrew de
Vitre and Arthur received by Guihomar and Harvey de Leon and
sheltered at their castle of Brest. Then a pitched battle is fought near the
town of `KÃ±rhes' (Carhaix?) between a Breton army consisting of the
barons who had sworn fealty to Arthur and the men of Leon, Quimper,
Treguier and the Vannetais, and the forces of Richard led by Robert of
Thornham and Mercadier. The Angevin army is defeated and with-
draws, whereupon Richard is prepared to make peace.
In the `Chroniques de Vitre', Le Baud follows the same chronology,
but the account is, naturally, focused on the role of Andrew de Vitre.
This source omits the `battle of Carhaix', describing only the initial
campaign against the barony of Vitre, and ultimately attributes Richard's
decision to make peace to the losses he suffered there in the face of
Andrew de Vitre's resistance.60
Le Baud is the only source to mention the assembly at Saint-Malo de
Beignon, or any diplomatic negotiations, but other sources corroborate
Howden and Le Baud as to the military conÂ¯ict which occurred during
Constance's captivity. A bull of Pope Celestine III dated November
1197 describes a chapel in the barony of Becherel which had fallen into
disrepair on account of the `guerras et orribiles tempestates bellorum in
partibus illis'.61 Annals from the adjacent barony of Montfort record
that, in the conÂ¯ict, `destructa est tota Britannia'. Mercadier entered
Brittany with a great army, and there was, `magna guerra in Britannia et
mortalitas hominum'. The local event of note was that Montfort was
destroyed by Alan de Dinan (the lord of Becherel).62 Repercussions
were felt in England, where some of the honour of Richmond lands
were taken into the king's hand, including the lands of Alan de Rohan.63
There were in fact two Angevin campaigns in Brittany, the Â®rst, in
April 1196, led by Richard himself, the second, probably after August
1196, led by Robert of Thornham and Mercadier. Richard's campaign
is only brieÂ¯y mentioned by Le Baud, who records only that the king
visited Rennes but soon left for Normandy when Arthur was not
produced. The main source for Richard's campaign is William the
Breton's `Philippidos'. This describes a ruthless attack, led by Richard
himself, without giving any context or date, except for the description
of the burning of a church on Good Friday.64 This corresponds with
Le Baud, Chroniques de Vitre, pp. 30Â±2. 61 Preuves, col. 728.
Preuves, col. 153, cited at Le Baud, Histoire de Bretagne, p. 203. See Charters, `Biographical notes Â±
Alain de Dinan-Vitre'.
Pipe Rolls, 8 Richard I, p. 209 and 9 Richard I, pp. 51 and 81.
William the Breton, `Philippidos', in H. F. Delaborde (ed.), Ãªuvres de Rigord et de Guillaume le
Breton, historiens de Philippe-Auguste, 2 vols, Paris, 1882 and 1885 ii, `Tome second, Philippide de
Guillaume le Breton', pp. 1Â±385, at pp. 130Â±1, lines 147Â±156. See also GC, i, p. 532.
Brittany and the Angevins
Richard's presence on 15 April  at `Minehi Sancti Cari', which
looks like a Breton place-name, although it remains unidentiÂ®ed. A
song attributed to Bertrand de Born also alludes to this campaign,
applauding Richard for venturing into Brittany.65 The campaign must
have been brief, since Richard was at Les Andelys on 7 April 1196 and
once more in Normandy, at Vaudreuil, on 7 May. The king spent the
remainder of the year in Normandy or engaging with Capetian forces in
The second campaign, led by Richard's lieutenants, is described in
detail by Le Baud. There is certainly corroboration for an invasion of
the barony of Vitre (and no doubt the other frontier baronies), led by
the seneschal of Anjou, Robert of Thornham, and composed of
Norman, Angevin, Poitevin and Manceau troops and mercenaries.67 Le
Baud's `battle of Carhaix', in contrast, may be romantic Â®ction. No
sources give dates for this second campaign, but both Le Baud and
William of Newburgh connect it with the end of the conÂ¯ict. For the
reasons set out below, this must be after August 1196.
With other sources only giving vague references to Constance being
imprisoned and military conÂ¯ict in Brittany in 1196, to establish the
chronology of Constance's captivity it is necessary to return to Le Baud.
Le Baud's account, however, contains chronological inconsistencies.
Richard orders Constance to meet him at Nantes shortly after Easter
1196, and her capture implicitly occurs very soon afterwards, but the
assembly at Saint-Malo de Beignon, represented as the Bretons' Â®rst
action upon Constance's imprisonment, does not occur until mid-
August (1196). Then, in paraphrasing the subsequent agreement for
Constance's release, Le Baud gives the agreed release-date as the feast of
the Assumption in that same year, 1196, which had, of course, already
passed. Rather than disregard Le Baud on these grounds, it seems to me
that the inconsistencies can be resolved on the basis that Le Baud has
simply placed the Saint-Malo de Beignon assembly too early in the
sequence of events.
I would propose the following account of Constance's capture and
imprisonment. Early in 1196, perhaps after an unsatisfactory visit to
Rennes, Richard summoned Constance to Normandy, where Ranulf
took her prisoner, delivering her to the custody of Harscoet de Rays.
W. D. Paden et. al. (eds. and trans.), The Poems of the troubadour Bertran de Born, Berkeley and Los
Angeles, Ca., 1986., no. 46; G. Gouiran (ed. and trans.), L'Amour et la guerre: l'Ãªuvre de Bertran
de Born, 2 vols., Aix-en-Provence, 1985, ii, no. 44, pp. 817Â±26.
Landon (ed.), Itinerary of Richard I, pp. 112Â±6, 168. In 1196, Easter Sunday was 21 April.
Le Baud, Histoire de Bretagne, p. 203; Le Baud, Chroniques de Vitre, p. 32; Ann. ang., p. 28; WN,
ii, p. 491; Preuves, col. 153.
The end of Angevin Brittany, 1186Â±1203
When whatever demands Richard made were not met (presumably the
custody of Arthur), in mid-April, Richard personally led a brief
campaign into north-eastern Brittany, as far as Rennes. On returning to
Normandy, he negotiated with representatives of the Breton barons and
agreed to release Constance by 15 August 1196, in exchange for
hostages and on condition that henceforth she would act `par son
conseil et ordonnance'. The Breton hostages were given, and on 15
August the Breton magnates assembled, with Arthur, at Saint-Malo de
Beignon. When Richard breached his part of the agreement and
released neither Constance nor the hostages (as was perhaps anticipated),