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Tours, where he underwent a ceremony of investiture in the cathedral
at some time during the Easter festival. While Arthur underwent these
ceremonies, matters of military strategy were undertaken on his behalf
by Constance and William des Roches. From Angers, Arthur's armed
forces, with Constance at their rear, headed for Le Mans, apparently
hoping to capture John there. The Bretons and their Angevin allies
attacked Le Mans at dawn on 20 April, routed John's supporters and
occupied the city.91 At the same time, Philip Augustus, whose response
to the news of Richard's death had been to launch an attack on the
Norman frontier, turned south and met up with the Bretons at Le
Mans. There, according to Rigord, both Constance and Arthur swore
fealty to Philip Augustus and Arthur also rendered homage.92
John had been at Le Mans en route to his own investiture as duke of
Normandy (25 April) then coronation in England (27 May). He did not
return to Normandy until the end of June, but the duchy was strongly
defended, and John's Poitevin supporters maintained military pressure
on Arthur's regime in Anjou. On 23 May they besieged Arthur in


Rot. Liberate, p. 18; Rot. Chart., pp. 4, 52; Rot. Norm., p. 31.
90

Charters, Ar3; Salmon (ed.), `Chronicum turonense magnum', p. 145; Ann. ang., p. 19; Douie
91

and Farmer (eds.), Vita Sancti Hugonis, p. 146±7; Le Baud, Histoire de Bretagne, p. 205.
Rigord, p. 145. Rigord (deliberately?) does not give any details about the content of this
92

homage, in contrast with his record of the homage in July of Eleanor of Aquitaine, `pro
comitatu Pictavensium, qui jure hereditario eam contingebat' (p. 146).

169
Brittany and the Angevins
Tours and Philip Augustus was obliged to send the French champion
William des Barres to the rescue.93
Notwithstanding such incidents, Arthur continued to exercise
comital authority in his newly acquired territories, as numerous charters

attest. He was at Beaufort-en-Vallee, near Angers, in May and at Le
94
Mans in June. It transpired that this was just a breathing-space
pending John's return from England. John had mustered troops and
supplies in England, and added Norman troops mustered at Rouen on
25 June. The kings arranged a truce to last until 15 August.95 In the
meantime, Arthur was placed in the custody of Philip Augustus, who
escorted him to Paris on 28 July.96
At the end of the truce, on 16 August, the kings met on the Norman
frontier. Philip demanded the counties of Anjou, Maine, Touraine and
Poitou on Arthur's behalf, but John refused outright. The two sides
then went into open warfare. Philip Augustus took Conches and
Ballon, but in besieging Lavardin his troops were overcome by John's
men. Philip retreated to Le Mans and thence returned to the royal
principality.97
In the meantime, from around the beginning of August, some of the
Manceau barons began to join King John. Perhaps this was connected
with the end of Arthur's personal leadership of the opposition and the
more conspicuous role of Philip Augustus, but may equally be explained
in terms of local and dynastic politics.98 It was against this background
that moves began for the Bretons to come to terms with John. William
des Roches must take the credit, or blame, for this initiative, but it is
impossible to know whether he was acting at the behest of Constance
and Arthur or on his own account. According to Roger of Howden,
William was offended by Philip Augustus' arrogant response to his
protests over the destruction of the castle of Ballon. This was the catalyst
for William to remove Arthur from Philip's custody, make peace
between Arthur and John and surrender Le Mans to John. This incident
may be a convenient excuse, overemphasised by Roger of Howden,
but something signi®cant must have happened after Ballon. In the
chronicle of Tours, the destruction of Ballon is also mentioned in the
context of William's `desertion' of Arthur and surrender of Le Mans.99
We are fortunate in the survival of the text of letters issued by John

Salmon (ed.), `Chronicum turonense magnum', p. 145.
93

Charters, Ar6, 7, 9, 10, 15. 95 RH, iv, p. 93. 96 Rigord, p. 129.
94

RH, iv, p. 96; GC, ii, p. 92; Salmon (ed.), `Chronicum turonense magnum', p. 145
97

See Power, `King John and the Norman Aristocracy'.
98

RH, iv, p. 96. Ballon (`Wallum') is also the only siege in this campaign mentioned by Gervase
99

of Canterbury (ii, p. 92).

170
The end of Angevin Brittany, 1186±1203
on 18 September, to the effect that he would be guided by William des
Roches in making peace with Arthur.100 Some sort of peace was agreed
within the next few days, and it is unfortunate that no record of its
terms has survived, as it would probably have helped to explain the
events of the following months. William des Roches surrendered
nearby Le Mans to John, who held court there, with intermittent trips
to Chinon, for the next two weeks. Arthur and Constance were in
attendance, as was Aimery, viscount of Thouars, to whom John had
previously given custody of Chinon and the of®ce of seneschal of
Anjou. William des Roches was rewarded for his services with
con®rmation of the of®ce of seneschal of Anjou, as he had held it under
Arthur, to the chagrin of Viscount Aimery. I would argue that it was at
this time, and as part of the peace settlement, that John arranged the
marriage of Constance and Aimery's younger brother, Guy de Thouars.
The circumstances of the end of Constance's marriage to Ranulf are
completely obscure. The sources are silent; there is no evidence either
of the date or the grounds invoked. Consanguinity could certainly have
been raised, and Ranulf Higden explains that the earl of Chester was
inspired by the example of the annulment of King John's ®rst marriage
on this ground. Proceedings to annul John's marriage began in 1199,
probably soon after his accession.101 Other sources associated with the
earls of Chester agree that Ranulf took the initiative to end the
marriage.102 The connection with John's accession is signi®cant. Prior
to Richard's death and the ensuing succession crisis, there was no
con¯ict of interest for Ranulf in being both an Anglo-Norman baron
and also duke of Brittany and stepfather of Arthur. From April 1199,
however, Ranulf 's position must have become extremely uncomfor-
table. It is not surprising that he was initially reluctant to declare his
support for John.103 Before the end of 1199, Ranulf was remarried, to
Á
Clemencia, great-niece and ward of William de Fougeres.
Roger of Howden's record of Constance's remarriage, in the context
of the ¯ight from John's court of Constance and Arthur with Aimery,
viscount of Thouars, has been interpreted as implying that it was
somehow an act of de®ance, the manifestation of a new Breton-
Poitevin alliance against John. This interpretation does not correspond
Rot. Chart., p. 30b.
100

G. E. C[ockayne] (ed.), The complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the
101

United Kingdom, 13 vols., rev. edn., London, 1910±59., x, p. 795; J. R. Lumby (ed.),
Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden monachi Cestrensis, Rolls Series, London, 1882, viii, p. 176;
Warren, King John, p. 66.
G. Barraclough (ed. and trans.), `Annals of Dieulacres abbey', p. 21; `Annals of St Werburgh,
102

Chester', p. 47.
RH, iv, 88.
103


171
Brittany and the Angevins
with the evidence for the career of Guy de Thouars. Viscount Aimery
himself may have been notoriously ®ckle in his political allegiances, but
there is no such evidence for his younger brother Guy. On the contrary,
Guy's whole history, so far as it is known, shows him to have been a
loyal supporter of Richard, as count of Poitou and as king. Guy may
have been with Richard on his ®nal campaign, since he was at
Fontevraud for Richard's funeral with the queen-mother, Eleanor.
There is no evidence that he went over to Arthur's side after this.
Although there is no evidence for Guy's activities between April 1199
and his marriage to Constance, perhaps the most compelling evidence
of his attachment to the Angevin cause is that, when Constance's death
in 1201 ended his role as duke-consort in Brittany, Guy entered (or re-
entered) John's service. He continued to serve John even after Arthur's
capture, only abandoning his Angevin allegiance when he was offered
the regency of the duchy of Brittany in 1203, and still wavering again
towards John in 1205.104
The marriage of Guy and Constance certainly took place at some
time in September or October 1199, and presumably as part of the
peace negotiations with John at that time.105 Constance's submission to
John in September 1199, formalised by the treaty of Le Goulet in May
1200, meant that she acknowledged that her marriage was in his gift. If
Constance and Guy had married against John's wishes, one would have
expected some redress such as efforts by John to set the marriage aside
and marry Constance to the husband of his choice, or, on a more
practical level and one that would appear from the Pipe Rolls, seizure of
the honour of Richmond into the king's hand. None of this
occurred.106 The evidence suggests, therefore, that the marriage of
Constance and Guy de Thouars was not an act of rebellion against
Angevin authority. Rather, it was as much an act of Angevin sover-
eignty as were Constance's two previous marriages. John chose Guy de
Thouars as Constance's husband in the expectation that his unswerving
loyalty to the Angevin kings meant that he would guarantee that
government of the duchy of Brittany would follow John's interests, and
he chose well.
According to Roger of Howden, while still at John's court (at Le
Mans?), Arthur was warned that John intended to take him captive, and
Rot. Litt. Pat., p. 4, 7, 11b, 17b, 27.
104

The dating-clause of a charter of Guy establishes that the earliest possible date is 28 August
105

1199, and Guy, styled `comes Britannie', attested a charter of Arthur dated October 1199
(Charters, Ar12, Gu2).
On 29 June 1200 John even granted Vieriis to `Guy, son of the viscount of Thouars', although
106

this form of reference, rather than `count of Brittany', suggests this was Guy's nephew, the son
of Viscount Aimery (Rot. Norm., p. 25).

172
The end of Angevin Brittany, 1186±1203
for this reason Arthur, with Constance, Viscount Aimery and many
others secretly left and went to Angers. Howden's account is corrobo-
rated by a comital charter made by Arthur at Angers in October
1199.107 Whether Arthur was exercising comital authority in de®ance
of John or in accordance with the terms of the peace-settlement cannot
be known. Meanwhile, Philip Augustus was concerned about the turn
of events, and travelled to Tours. Arthur was now once more taken into
Philip's custody, where he would remain for the next two years.108
Meanwhile, Philip and John agreed to a truce until 13 January
1200.109 Now the two kings were ready to make peace and Arthur was
the loser. Philip recognised John as the heir to the Angevin dominions;
Arthur was recognised as the heir only to Brittany, for which he was to
render homage to John. This pact was sealed at Le Goulet, around 22
May 1200.110 Predictably, Arthur was not pleased about it. When St
Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, met Arthur in Paris a few weeks after Le
Goulet he found him angry and resentful.111 In July 1201, John visited
Paris, where he was feted by Philip Augustus and invested with the
county of Anjou, `contra Arturum nepotem suum'.112
With Arthur in Capetian custody, Constance returned to Brittany
and took no further action in respect of Arthur's claims in Anjou.
Constance died in September 1201, whereupon Guy de Thouars
apparently abandoned all interest in Brittany and resumed his career of
Angevin royal service.113 Arthur's succession to the duchy was uncon-
tentious, provided he acknowledged that he held it of John as duke of
Normandy. Arthur returned to Brittany from the Capetian court and
was invested as duke in September 1201, although he was still only
fourteen years of age.114 John's continued assertion of authority in the
duchy is demonstrated by his order to the executors of Duchess
Constance's testament, issued in January 1202, and his summons to
Arthur to render homage for Brittany two months later.115
In this period, between October 1199 and the beginning of 1202, it
was not only the ducal family who were reconciled to Angevin lordship.
Breton barons went about their baronial business in peace, and

individually came to terms with John. Andrew de Vitre married the
daughter of Harscoet de Rays, and along with lands in the county of
È
Charters, Ar12.
107

Salmon (ed.), `Chronicum turonense magnum', p. 146; Ann. ang., p. 19.
108

RH, iv, 97.
109


A. Teulet (ed.), Layettes du Tresor des Chartes, I, Paris, 1863, pp. 217±9; H.-F. Delaborde et al.
110

(eds.), Recueil des actes de Philippe Auguste, roi de France, 4 vols., Paris, 1916±79, no. 633.
Douie and Farmer (eds.), Vita sancti Hugonis, p. 156.
111

Rot. Liberate, p. 18; Rigord, p. 150; Salmon (ed.), `Chronicum turonense magnum', p. 146.
112

Charters, p. 135. 114 Charters, pp. 111, A18. 115 Rot. Litt. Pat., pp. 5, 7.
113


173
Brittany and the Angevins
Nantes, was ®nally given back his own daughter and heiress who had
been held as a hostage by Harscoet since 1196.116 Andrew also ®ned
È
with John for possession of lands in Normandy.117 William de Fougeres,
Á
William de la Guerche and Juhel de Mayenne rendered homage for
lands in Normandy, Anjou and Maine respectively.118 In August 1200,
Ã

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