comite des travaux historiques et scienti┬®ques (1899), 47┬±53).
Brittany and the Angevins
both politically and culturally, even in the future counties of Rennes
and Nantes. By the twelfth century, Frankish cultural in┬»uence pre-
dominated east of a zone running north┬±south, corresponding, very
approximately, with the courses of the Rance and the Vilaine.21 Hence
there is no question about the integration of at least the eastern part of
Brittany with the neighbouring regions of Francia. They belonged to
the same cultural and political world.
One would expect to ┬®nd a distinction between the east and the west
of Brittany in this regard, and indeed, around 1100, contemporaries
might describe men of Cornouaille as `Britones', as distinct from men of
Nantes.22 Yet the sources do not yield any visible cultural difference
between east and west, at least among the clergy and the aristocracy.
The exclusive use of Latin for writing, and its monopoly by the clergy,
certainly disguises such differences, but this in itself is a manifestation of
how ecclesiastical institutions were a force for integration between east
and west, Frankish and Breton.
Cultural in┬»uences may be seen as working in both directions. The
aristocracy of eastern Brittany, while integrated in Frankish society, as is
demonstrated for example by their personal names (Radulfus, Gaufridus,
Willelmus), were evidently conscious of, and proud of, their separate
Celtic cultural and literary heritage.23 The aristocracy of western
Brittany, although they ruled over a society that was geographically
isolated and where the vernacular language was Breton,24 were perfectly
capable of participating in Frankish and Anglo-Norman affairs when
they chose to, as the examples discussed below demonstrate.
The second matter to be emphasised is that, prior to the advent of
Henry II, Brittany was not an autonomous region. Since the Merovin-
gian period, rulers of Brittany had been subject, at least in theory, to the
rulers of Francia.25 After the collapse of Carolingian authority, the
The question of the topographical limits of Breton settlement, and its long-term in┬»uence, is
one that has been debated by Breton scholars for over a hundred years. See A. Chedeville and
H. Guillotel, La Bretagne des saints et des rois Ve-Xe siecle, Rennes, 1984, pp. 33┬±47; P. Galliou
and M. Jones, The Bretons, Oxford, 1991, chapter six; Smith, Province and empire, p. 43; N.-Y.
Tonnerre, Naissance de la Bretagne: Geographie historique et structures sociales de la Bretagne meridionale
(Nantais et Vannetais) de la ┬®n du XIIIe a la ┬®n du XIIe siecle, Angers, 1994, chapter 2.
Cart. Quimperle, no. xxxv, c.1100.
N.-Y. Tonnerre, `Celtic literary tradition and the development of a feudal principality in
Brittany', in H. Pryce (ed.), Literacy in medieval celtic societies, Cambridge, 1998, pp. 166┬±82.
Cart. Quimperle, pp. 19┬±21, and 36┬±37; AD Finistere, 1H79 (copies of twelfth- and early
thirteenth-century charters of the abbey of Daoulas). See C. Brett, `Breton latin literature as
evidence for literature in the vernacular, AD 800┬±1300', Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 18
Chedeville and Guillotel, Bretagne des saints, pp. 51┬±68; Smith, Province and empire, pp. 18┬±19.
The Capetian kings extended their in┬»uence in Brittany in the ┬®rst half of the twelfth century.
In 1123, the bishop of Nantes obtained a charter of protection from Louis VI (N.-Y. Tonnerre,
dukes and counts of Brittany from time to time came under the political
in┬»uence of the counts of Blois-Chartres, Maine and Anjou and of the
dukes of Normandy.26 Thus, when Henry II asserted his lordship over
all of Brittany, he was not exercising some new and unheard of rapacity,
but was following the example of his Norman and Angevin ancestors.
In exercising direct lordship over Brittany, he was merely ful┬®lling their
ambitions. The fact that the counts and dukes of Brittany had been
effectively independent of external lordship since the end of the
Carolingian era was not a manifestation of some ancient autonomy; it
was rather due to the fragmentation of political authority which was
occurring throughout Francia at the time.
The incidence of Frankish institutions in eleventh-century and early
twelfth-century Brittany may be traced to two causes. The ┬®rst was
Brittany's relationship with the Carolingian empire, which necessarily
involved the importation of Frankish institutions west of the Breton
march. Even the westernmost regions were incorporated in the ninth-
century province of Brittany, which was uni┬®ed under Carolingian
authority.27 The demise of the Carolingian empire did not extinguish
these institutions. As elsewhere in Francia, they evolved and mutated in
the course of the tenth and eleventh centuries.
A second phase of importation of Frankish institutions occurred in
the tenth and eleventh centuries.28 During the Viking attacks on
Brittany in the ┬®rst half of the tenth century, many leaders, lay and
ecclesiastical, went into exile in the French hinterland. Inevitably they
were in┬»uenced by the society they encountered there, and these
in┬»uences were felt when they returned to Brittany. This is exempli┬®ed
by the drive to revive and reform Benedictine monasticism which took
place in Brittany from the late tenth century. New abbeys were
founded, and the few that had survived from the Carolingian period
were reformed. In all cases, this involved the introduction of an abbot
and monks from an established monastery outside Brittany.29 As well as
reforming ideals, the monks brought with them Frankish institutions for
the administration of the monastic estates. These, in turn, in┬»uenced
the estate-management practices of their lay neighbours. Arguably, this
is the origin of the of┬®ces of senescallus, prepositus and vicarius character-
`XIe-XIIe siecles', in Y. Durand (ed.), Histoire des dioceses de France. xviii, Le diocese de Nantes,
Paris, 1985, p. 39). Between 1148 and 1153, it appears that Eudo de Porhoet sought the support
of Louis VII for his regime as duke of Brittany (B. S. James (ed.), The letters of St. Bernard of
Clairvaux, London, 1953, pp. 439┬±40).
A. Chedeville and N.-Y. Tonnerre, La Bretagne feodale, Rennes, 1987, pp. 21┬±82, passim.
Smith, Province and empire, chs. 3, 4, and 5, especially pp. 88, 115, and 144.
Tonnerre, Naissance de Bretagne, p. 287.
See below, p. 14.
Brittany and the Angevins
istic of the administration of both lay and ecclesiastical estates in the
eleventh and twelfth centuries. Signi┬®cantly, in Cornouaille, where
Breton was the vernacular language, a Frankish term was employed for
the of┬®ce of seneschal, presumably because the institution itself was a
Frankish importation 30
There were thus two separate currents of Frankish in┬»uence oper-
ating throughout Brittany in the eleventh and early twelfth centuries.
One derived from the survival of Carolingian institutions, the other
from the importation from Francia of post-Carolingian institutions in
the tenth and eleventh centuries.
It would be satisfying to list all the manifestations of Brittany's
integration with the politics and culture of neighbouring regions. This
would, however, involve a lengthy description of all aspects of contem-
porary politics and culture. Instead, I have selected some speci┬®c topics
by way of illustration. These are marital alliances with neighbouring
regions, relations with England, crusading, coinage and the church.
Prior to the mid-eleventh century, the comital family of Rennes had
formed marriage alliances with the dukes of Normandy (Geoffrey I
(992┬±1008) and Richard II, duke of Normandy, had each married the
other's sister) and the counts of Blois (Alan III (1008┬±40) married
Bertha, daughter of Eudo II, count of Blois). From the late eleventh
century, the dukes of the newly forged ducal dynasty always married
brides from outside the duchy. Duke Alan IV (1084┬±1112) married
Constance, daughter of William the Conqueror, in 1087.31 After her
early death, Alan married Ermengard, the daughter of Fulk IV of
Anjou. Ermengard provided a son and heir, Conan III, and survived her
husband by many years. She was a formidable in┬»uence throughout
most of Conan's reign, and especially ensured that the counties of
Nantes and Rennes enjoyed close relations with Anjou.32 Conan III
himself married an illegitimate daughter of King Henry I. These
marriages indicate that the dukes of Brittany had suf┬®cient prestige to
enter into marriage alliances with the counts, dukes and even kings of
neighbouring regions, but the marriages are also signi┬®cant for the
familial connections they created. The marriage of a daughter of Duke
Alan IV to Baldwin VII, count of Flanders, around 1101, was dissolved
`Dungualonus echonomus qui vulgo seneschal appellabatur', Cart. Quimperle, no. lxxii, see also
nos. xxv, and xc.
Cart. Quimperle, p. 105, and no. cxi.
Y. Hillion, `Mariage et mecenat: Deux aspects de la condition feminine aristocratique en
Bretagne, au milieu du xiie siecle', in Etudes sur la Bretagne et les pays celtiques: Melanges offerts a
Yves Le Gallo. Centre de Recherche Bretonne et Celtique, Brest, 1991, pp. 162, and 165.
by papal decree on the grounds of consanguinity, the parties being
within the prohibited degrees of relationship on at least two counts.33
Although it was unusual for the Breton nobility to marry outside
Brittany, the occasions when they did also indicate involvement in
French and Anglo-Norman politics at a high level. In the mid-eleventh
century, Rivallon, the ┬®rst lord of Combour, married Aremburga du
Puiset.34 Harvey, lord of Leon, married an illegitimate daughter of
Stephen of Blois at a time when the latter seemed secure on the throne
of England.35 In 1151, Henry, lord of Treguier, married Matilda,
daughter of John, count of Vendome.
Links between the Armorican peninsula and the south-west of
Britain were of course fundamental to the creation of Breton society in
the early middle ages. I will begin this discussion, though, with contacts
in the tenth century. While Breton monks notoriously sought refuge
from Viking attacks in more easterly parts of France, at least some of the
Breton nobility went into exile in southern England. It was from
England that Alan `Barbetorte' launched his campaign to reunite
Brittany under his authority. Thus the Breton aristocracy also experi-
enced Anglo-Saxon culture and institutions.37 In contrast with the
Carolingian in┬»uence, there is now little evidence for Anglo-Saxon
in┬»uence on Breton society, although the identi┬®cation of Anglo-Saxon
motifs in the ornament of the tenth-century crypt of the church of
Lanmeur (Finistere) is tantalising.38
These contacts did not cease in the eleventh century. Bretons were
among the foreigners received in England by Edward the Confessor.39
Recent research has revealed the extent to which Bretons participated
in the Norman conquest of England, and subsequently held cross-
channel estates as tenants-in-chief of the English crown.40 Two different
F. Vercauteren (ed.), Actes des comtes de Flandre, 1071┬±1128, Brussels, 1938, p. xviii; Preuves, cols.
512┬±3; `Genealogi├± comitum Flandri├±', in L. C. Bethmann (ed.), Monumenta Germani├± historica
. . . Scriptorum, ix, Hanover, 1851, pp. 302┬±36 at 323; RHF, xiii, p. 411, note (e).
H. Guillotel, `Des vicomtes d'Alet aux vicomtes de Poudouvre (Ille-et-Vilaine)', Annales de la
Societe d'Histoire et d'Archeologie de l'arrondissement de Saint-Malo (1988), 201┬±15 at 214. This
marriage was no doubt connected with the alliance between the count of Rennes and the
counts of Blois.
See below, p. 16.
See below, p. 62.
Jankulak, St Petroc, ch. 3, `The tenth century and Breton exiles'.
Jankulak, ibid.; P. Guigon, `Lanmeur (Finistere), Crypte', in x. Barral i Altet (ed.), Le paysage
monumental de la France autour de l'an mil, Paris, 1987, pp. 239┬±41 at 240.
K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, `Le role des Bretons dans la politique de colonisation normande de
l'Angleterre (vers 1042┬±1135)', MSHAB 74 (1996),181┬±215 at 182┬±5.
This was observed by Sir Frank Stenton (The ┬®rst century of English feudalism, 1066┬±1166, 2nd
edn, Oxford, 1961, pp. 25┬±6) and elaborated by K. S. B. Keats-Rohan in a series of recent
articles (see Bibliography).
Brittany and the Angevins
contingents of Breton settlers have been identi┬®ed. The most conspic-
uous was from the north-west of Brittany, under the leadership of the
sons of Eudo comes Britannorum, younger brother of Duke Alan III and
autonomous lord of Penthievre. At least two of Eudo's younger sons,
Brian and Alan Rufus, took part in the 1066 expedition. Alan was
rewarded with large estates in eastern England. With additional grants of
land stretching from northern Yorkshire to Essex and Hertfordshire,
these formed the honour of Richmond, retained by Eudo's descendants
into the thirteenth century. Numerous Bretons, principally from the