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The Use of French in Medieval Brittany

Professeur émérite d’histoire médiévale française à l’université de Nottingham, Parr’s Cottage, Main Street, GB-Norwell, Notts. NG23 6JN. michael.jones@nottingham.ac.uk

Three main languages were spoken in the medieval duchy of Brittany: Latin, Breton and French. After briefly considering the geographical division between Breton- and French-speaking parts of the duchy, notably the way in which Breton was progressively restricted to the western half of the duchy, this paper examines how French came, with a few exceptions, to replace Latin as the principal language of record and administration in Brittany in the course of the later Middle Ages. The duchy is shown to fit into a wider regional pattern in the adoption of French in neighbouring provinces, whilst displaying its own particular characteristics. The role of the nobility is probably more significant than that of the ducal administration in explaining the initial spread in usage; the relative lack of urban influence reflects the under-developed character of Breton town life until the end of the Middle Ages. Ecclesiastical authorities also began to use or accept French for certain kinds of business from an early stage, though in the case of parish registers, introduced in the early fifteenth century, Latin was the main language, and often remained so in Breton-speaking regions until the seventeenth century. Some differences in the usage of French between different parts of Breton-speaking Brittany are noted, while the chronology of the adoption of French for different types of record demonstrates that the process occurred unevenly over a long period of time and that social, cultural and political reasons must be considered for its adoption.

Trois langues principales étaient pratiquées dans le duché de Bretagne au Moyen Âge : le latin, le breton, le français. Après un bref rappel de la répartition spatiale du breton et du français, et spécialement de la façon dont le breton fut progressivement cantonné dans la partie occidentale du duché, l’article étudie la façon dont le français en arriva, sauf rares exceptions, à remplacer le latin comme langue principale des documents et de l’administration en Bretagne durant les derniers siècles du Moyen Âge. Le duché vit se reproduire le schéma de l’adoption du français dans les provinces voisines, mais avec quelques spécificités. Le rôle de la noblesse y fut sans doute plus déterminant, dans les premières étapes, que celui de l’administration ducale ; l’absence relative d’influence urbaine reflète le retard breton en matière de vie municipale jusqu’à la fin du Moyen Âge. Les autorités ecclésiastiques elles aussi se mirent rapidement à utiliser ou à tolérer le français pour certains types d’affaires, même si les registres paroissiaux, introduits au début du XVe siècle, conservèrent largement l’usage du latin, qui dominait souvent encore au XVIIe siècle dans les régions bretonnantes. On peut noter quelques divergences dans l’usage du français entre les diverses zones qui parlaient breton, tandis que la chronologie de l’adoption du français pour différents types de documents révéle une progression lente, à un rythme inégal, soumise à l’entrecroisement complexe de facteurs sociaux, culturels et politiques.

In memoriam Hubert Guillotel 

1. Breton and French

Three main languages were spoken in the medieval duchy of Brittany: Latin, Breton and French. Modern Breton, of which there is still no agreed standard version, survives in four main forms. These reflect historical differences in ways of speaking and writing the language, centring on the four western Breton dioceses of Cornouaille (Quimper), St-Pol de Léon, Tréguier and Vannes1. The French spoken in medieval Brittany also displays regional characteristics when compared with that of neighbouring Francophone regions, some even deeming the differences so marked as to form a distinct sub-language known as Gallo, Gallot or Gallèse, itself significantly influenced by Breton2. Conversely, Middle Breton (the Breton spoken from around 1100 to the seventeenth century) made borrowings from French, especially from the fourteenth century onwards3. Latin was, of course, universally used throughout the duchy during the Middle Ages, preserving its importance in certain kinds of written record, and enjoying a revival as elsewhere during the Renaissance as a literary language. But the fluctuating linguistic boundary between Breton- and French-speaking parts of the duchy – Bretagne-bretonnante and Bretagne-gallo – during our period needs discussion because of the consequences this has for any account of the spread of French as a written language, especially in administrative and diplomatic documents, which are the main focus of this paper.

Briefly (since this has much exercised literary and historical scholars), following the immigration of Britons into the Armorican peninsula between the fourth and seventh centuries AD, Breton developed as a separate language within a larger group (Breton, Cornish and Welsh) that formed one of two distinct branches (the other made up of Irish and Scottish Gaelic and Manx) of Celtic-speaking peoples inhabiting the western seaboard of Europe and the British Isles in the early Middle Ages4. I leave aside here the thorny issue of what Primitive Breton may have acquired from the indigenous Gaulish, also a Celtic language, spoken in Armorica in Roman times5. Within what from the tenth century was usually termed the duchy of Brittany, there is place- and personal-name evidence that Breton was at least briefly spoken as far east as the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel on the north coast and in the Pays de Guérande at the mouth of the Loire on the south coast. Following work by Paul Sébillot and the great Celticist Joseph Loth, since 1886 a line, often termed the Loth line, drawn southwards from the mouth of the Couesnon next to Mont-Saint-Michel, passing through Hédé, then to the west of Rennes and Bain de Bretagne to reach the Loire just east of Donges, has been taken to indicate the extreme eastern limits of Old Breton speech 6.

2. The retreat of Breton

By the later Middle Ages there had been a significant retreat westwards, a development that was certainly by then venerable. Around 1500, the equivalent of the Loth line for the Middle Breton then spoken ran southwards from the western side of the Bay of St-Brieuc, east of Quintin, west of Loudéac and Josselin, east of La Roche Bernard and reached the sea near modern St-Nazaire7. Subsequent centuries have seen a further slow shift to a parallel line some 15 or 20 kilometres further west marking the limits of Modern Breton speech, though between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries the linguistic frontier was for long apparently static before shifting again, especially dramatically, in the twentieth century8. By 1976 it ran south-eastwards from the north coast, west of Plouha, Corlay and Mur de Bretagne, and east of Pontivy, to reach the sea on the Golfe du Morbihan, the most significant recent regression being the withdrawal of Vannes and the Presqu’île du Rhuys from the area in which Breton was still extensively spoken as late as 19419. From at least the mid fourteenth century, administratively the medieval duchy was divided into Haute- and Basse-Bretagne, Bretagne-gallo and Bretagne-bretonnante, roughly approximating to the linguistic division of 1500 sketched above, which was first depicted cartographically in Bertrand d’Argentré’s Histoire de Bretagne in 158810. The church too had by then long recognized distinctions in speech between the various Breton dioceses. This means that the eastern Breton dioceses of Dol (apart from its enclaves along the northern coast), Nantes (apart from the Guérandais), Rennes and St-Malo were French-speaking while St-Brieuc and Vannes had both French- and Breton-speaking populations, and Quimper, St-Pol de Léon and Tréguier were essentially Breton-speaking11.

Evidence from written sources provides a particular gloss on the way in which French came to be used more extensively for administrative purposes, even in nominally Breton-speaking areas in the later Middle Ages. This is chiefly provided by documents produced, in the earliest periods, by monastic scriptoria, more sparingly by cathedral chapters, then increasingly by the embryonic ducal administration, eventually with its chancery, a surge in records relating to the secular affairs of leading noble families and a wealth of other documents concerning every aspect of life in town and countryside. No attempt is made here to look at the place of literary works which can be shown more or less convincingly to have been written by authors or scribes writing in French in Brittany. An early example might be the Roman d’Aiquin, a mediocre chanson de geste relating the adventures of a Saracen prince, whom the Du Guesclin family took to be among their ancestors12. This was probably composed in the diocese of St-Malo around 1200 and is traditionally attributed to a jongleur Garin Trousseboeuf. Others might include poems attributed to Peter Mauclerc, duke of Brittany (1213-37) or his son, John I (1237-86) in contemporary chansonniers13, though it is not until the mid and late fourteenth century that more significant historical and literary works in French by Bretons begin to proliferate convincingly14. In passing, we may note too that there are few substantial Breton Latin chronicles from the High Middle Ages, the most important being the Chronicle of Nantes, though this has come down to us in fragmentary and macaronic form, largely thanks to Pierre Le Baud (d. 1505), the most significant Breton historian of his generation15.

3. Monastic records and language

I shall now concentrate chiefly on the period when French came to stand alongside and then largely replace Latin for administrative purposes, except in certain categories of document (for example, notarial instruments16), that is the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries, but with some forays outside these centuries. Inevitably the way in which written records were first principally preserved by religious houses and cathedral chapters has skewed the sample towards the ecclesiastical evidence. But sufficient survives to make some distinctions between the use of the vernacular by lay authorities and ecclesiastical ones, and to trace the physical spread of French usage as a language of record throughout the duchy.

Brittany is relatively poor in terms of charters dating before the mid eleventh century, but there is one major exception – the Cartulary of the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Sauveur of Redon, founded in 83217. This cartulary, compiled between c. 1070 and 1161, is chiefly remarkable for copies of nearly 350 charters of the ninth and early tenth centuries. Located close to the linguistic boundary between Breton- and French-speaking areas in the eastern Vannetais, but relating to properties scattered in a radius of upto 70 kilometres from the abbey, the Latin charters of the Carolingian period provide rich evidence in place- and personal-names and in terms for a variety of social and economic practices, some of Celtic origin18. They suggest that Breton was currently widely spoken on the estates coming into the monks’ hands and was clearly understood by the clerks responsible for drafting the original charters. There is less evidence in these charters for early Romance-speech in the Redon region, though there is some. By the time the Carolingian charters were copied into the cartulary itself (around 1070), after a period of disruption brought about by the Vikings, the later copyist/s were now largely ignorant of Breton, an early indicator of the retreat of Breton speech to the late medieval Loth line19.

Two other monastic cartularies contain a substantial number of Latin charters from Breton-speaking areas – those of Landévennec (compiled shortly before that of Redon c. 1047-1055)20 and Sainte-Croix de Quimperlé. This latter, first compiled around 1127 and added to until the late thirteenth century, is especially valuable for showing the survival of distinct Breton customs in Cornouaille in the twelfth century whether this is with regard to naming-patterns, rents, weights or measures21. Of other surviving Breton cartularies (there are some 13 medieval ones, and five others compiled between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries)22, the majority come from areas where French was the predominant spoken language by the time they were made. Published examples include those of the female Benedictine abbeys of St-Georges de Rennes, founded c. 1030, and St-Sulpice-de-la-Forêt, founded c. 1117, both of which held their main properties in the Rennais, though St-Sulpice did acquire the priory of Locmaria at Quimper23. Of abbeys that lay closer to the linguistic frontier, original charters or cartulary copies for the twelfth and thirteenth centuries have been published for most of the major houses in the modern département of Côtes-d’Armor (Beaulieu, Beauport, Bégard, Bocquen, Bon Repos, St-Aubin-des-Bois)24, though considerable unpublished material survives for some like Bégard and Beauport. The major, incompletely published, Breton cartulary is that of St-Melaine de Rennes, finished in 1344, for which there also exist a large number of original charters25. It is unfortunate that surviving evidence for monastic houses founded in Cornouaille and Léon in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries (perhaps Daoulas apart) is particularly poor26, though some priories belonging to Marmoutier or other Loire valley houses in both Haute- and Basse-Bretagne have left useful records.

4. Cathedral records

Of the nine medieval Breton cathedrals, Dol and Quimper have preserved the best collections of medieval documents made in the course of the Middle Ages. The evidence for the others is very partial before the fifteenth century. At Dol, especially from the thirteenth century, efforts were made to compile registers of deeds and other records of importance to the bishop or chapter, of which the most important surviving example is the fourteenth-century Livre rouge. This serves as an obituary book, chapter act book and cartulary, whilst another fragmentary cartulary of the fifteenth century, known as the Alanus, also survives. It contains mainly thirteenth-century material27. The most extensive cathedral cartulary extant is that of Quimper. It survives in three overlapping volumes, the first compiled in the thirteenth century, and then in a revised form in two further volumes which Bishop Alain an Gall ordered to be made in 1352, with further additions into the fifteenth century. It is especially rich for the fourteenth century but has material dating back to the eleventh28. Among known lost Breton cartularies was one for the cathedral of St-Pierre de Rennes29.

5. Early lay records

Efforts to preserve ducal or seigneurial records before the late fourteenth century is not very evident. There may have been some registration of outgoing ducal letters from the latter years of John IV’s reign (1364-99) and the first inventory of ducal archives was drawn up in 1395, but the first fragmentary registers to survive come from 1404-830. Then there is a break before a virtually continuous series of registers begins early in the reign of Francis II (1458-88)31. These registers run on well into the sixteenth century. Lay cartularies are extremely rare but that compiled for the lordship of Fougères by the counts of Alençon around 1330 (known now only from later copies) is a major exception32. One for the neighbouring lordship of Vitré was compiled in the early fifteenth century33, while Prigent de Coëtivy, admiral of France (d. 1450), had an important cartulary drawn up shortly after he had acquired the great lordship of Rays by marriage34. Its earliest record is dated 1160, and it includes several early French documents. Of surviving original records from medieval seigneurial archives in the duchy, the richest but scattered collection from the standpoint of this particular paper, is that of the vicomtes de Rohan because it also incorporates much documentation deriving from the powerful families of Léon and Avaugour and thus relates chiefly to central and western Brittany in the later Middle Ages35.

6. The co-existence of Latin and the Vernacular

There are many contemporary references to the general fact that two vernacular languages were commonly spoken in the medieval duchy. Appropriate arrangements were made to provide interpreters or those with the requisite language skills according to need. It was normal to appoint Breton-speaking clerics to benefices in Bretagne-bretonnante, or to order that Francophones should learn Breton within a certain time limit or lose their livings unless they acquired papal dispensation36. As early as the reign of Salomon (857-74) it was necessary to restore to sees in Brittany bishops who spoke the same language (that is Breton) as the ruler, following a purge against Simoniacs in 84937. The last duke to speak Breton as a native was probably Alain Fergent (1084-1113/16); his successors were almost certainly monolingual French speakers38. In 1208 Pope Innocent III allowed the Cistercian abbey of Beauport to provide Breton- or English-speakers to their livings on either side of the Channel39. In the later Middle Ages, public announcements were made when necessary in both French and Breton as a document of 1326 implies40; it appears that around this time, some synodal statutes of St-Pol de Léon may have been translated into Breton, though no other evidence of them now survives41. At the inquiry at Tréguier into the sanctity of St-Yves Hélori in 1347 at least four Breton interpreters were needed to take testimonies from Bretonnants; at Angers in 1371, Alain Tardif, lector at the Franciscan convent of Angers and Even de Haya, esquire, Brittones Brittonizantes, acted in the same capacity at the inquiry into the sanctity of Duke Charles de Blois42. In 1432 Jean Malou, escripvain, was paid 20d by the chapter of Tréguier ‘pour avoir escript la tablieu en Breton de la messe du duc’43; shortly before 1440 a youth from Brest went to the Pays de Rays to learn French, where he fell victim to the notorious paedophile Gilles de Rays44; soldiers at the sieges of Fougères and Pont de l’Arche in 1449 and Guingamp in 1489, or those sacking the manor of L’Hermitage en Allineuc (22) in 1468, were reported as speaking in Breton45; other too numerous examples could be cited46. However, no medieval administrative documents now survive in Breton, if they ever did, and it is rare indeed even to find a phrase recorded in that language. An inquiry at Vannes in 1400, for instance, relates a few words spoken in Breton during a disturbance47. But this is an extremely unusual example in my experience of forty years acquaintance with Breton archives, while Jean Kerhervé confirms ‘nous n’avons jamais rencontré au cours de nos dépouillements d’archives le moindre document financier en breton’48. Middle Breton survived essentially as a spoken rather than a written language until the late fifteenth century when the first major work to use Breton was Jean Lagadeuc’s trilingual dictionary (Breton, French, Latin), of which a manuscript version of 1464 is known and the first published edition was in 149949.

7. The spread of French in administrative records

What then of French? The general pattern for administrative documents in the kingdom of France was classically sketched by Giry more than a century ago. Beginning in the north-east in the very late twelfth century or early thirteenth century (examples occur at Douai in 1204, Tournai in 1206 and St-Quentin in 1218), by the 1230s the use of French had spread more widely to embrace not only northern France but also Aunis and La Rochelle (1219), Saintonge (1229) and Bas-Poitou (1230). By the mid century it was common too in Anjou, Touraine and Berry for documents concerning not only seigneurial affairs but also towns.50 Brittany fits neatly into this scheme. The first surviving letters from the royal chancery in French, issued by Louis IX in 1254, in fact concern Breton affairs51, where both the duke and some leading nobles had already been using it for some years. On 22 September 1240, for instance, an agreement between John de Dol, lord of Combour, and the Chapter of Dol over forest and other rights was recorded in French52; the partition of the vast Porhoët succession among three heiresses in 1248 was similarly recorded in that language. Two exemplars of this agreement appear to be the earliest original French documents from the duchy to survive, while the confirmation by John I on 6 February 1249 is the earliest known ducal letter in French although it only survives in a later copy53.

By the 1260s, at least in eastern Brittany, French was increasingly the language used in ducal documents relating to the nobility as by the lords themselves54. This has been seen by some commentators as deliberate policy by the dukes and their advisers to extend their control and achieve centralisation of the duchy’s government. This may well be the case, especially after the expansion of the ducal financial administration from the mid fourteenth century55. But before then, much of the enthusiasm or pressure for using French in Brittany derived rather from the aristocracy and their officers: in 1255 the countess of La Marche’s seneschal of Penthièvre was issuing letters in French56; in 1257 Raoul, vicomte du Poudouvre and his wife, did likewise when renouncing rights at Saint-Suliac-sur-Rance in favour of St-Malo de Dinan57; in 1258 and 1260 Duke John I did so when asked to confirm two baronial accords in the Nantais as he had in 1249 confirming the Porhoët agreement58, while in Bretagne-bretonnante as early as 1262 an accord between members of the Léon family was drawn up in that language at Daoulas in distant Cornouaille59. Around 1270 an inquiry by Alain de Trégaranteuc, alloué of the vicomte de Rohan, in the castellany of Corlay into whether a certain Guillaume Giquel was ‘taillable’ was recorded in French60; arbitrations of noble disputes by fellow nobles were similarly delivered in French.61

8. The role of the nobility and towns in promoting use of French

It also came to be routinely used for other aspects of seigneurial life: a French epitaph occured on a now-lost tomb at the abbey of La Meilleray (44), with the date 1 May 1242 and on another dated 1250, old style62. Other early examples come from further lost noble tombs at the abbey of La Villeneuve-lès-Nantes (44), recorded by Roger de Gaignières63. A French version of a ducal Assise des pledeours of 1259 exists, though it is probably a later translation64; more convincingly an agreement by the duke to abolish aveux (1275) and the famous Assise de Rachat (1276), relating to wardships and reliefs owing on the death of noble vassals, exist in contemporary French exemplars which was their original language65. The relatively speedy acceptance of the use of French by aristocratic families in Bretagne-bretonnante in the late thirteenth century is clearly demonstrated in the Léon-Avaugour-Rohan chartrier66. By the early fourteenth century it was increasingly unusual for lords throughout the duchy to issue documents (marriage contracts, divisions of succession, delivery of dower, financial accounts67) in anything but French, an excellent illustration of Michael Clanchy’s comment on ‘how written language was not usually derived directly from the speech of the majority of the people but from tradition, political authority and social status’68.

Evidence for the use of French in Breton towns at this stage is limited by the very poor survival of early records, though there are indications that it was certainly used for commercial purposes in Bretagne-bretonnante. In 1280 a burgess of Hennebont was involved in an agreement concerning the Rohan family over properties around Usel and Loudéac (22)69; in 1296 when the vicomte d’Avranches carried out an inquiry in the duchy on behalf of Philip IV into various acts of piracy, he apparently experienced little difficulty in interrogating witnesses in a number of coastal towns in Basse-Bretagne70. During the course of his investigation the vicomte revealed his thoroughness, if not hidden linguistic abilities, by interviewing at least one Italian and men from Bayonne. In more modern times, such towns represented islands of bilingualism in contrast to the surrounding countryside71, a state of affairs probably already evident by 1300. We also have hints at the end of the Middle Ages of social divisions later reflected in language differences with those speaking French tending to come from higher social groups, whether the aristocracy or the haute-bourgeoisie, with trilingualism most evident among the clergy and those exposed to higher learning.

9. Use of French by the dukes of Brittany and their administration

Like their nobility, the Breton ducal family recorded family matters (marriage alliances, dower arrangements) from the 1250s in French72, but the employment of French in the ducal administration was more hesitant. It was used for some diplomatic purposes in the 1260s: both John I and Duchess Blanche wrote in French to Louis IX and to Henry III of England73. From around 1270 we find Rivallan du Temple, seneschal of Nantes, writing fairly regularly in French, even to ecclesiastics74. French also came to be used in various ducal courts from this point. Many letters were issued under seals of contracts established in demesne centres or towns under ducal control; petitions and legal inquiries were also increasingly recorded in French75; similarly documents relating to the business of the Breton parlement from the late 1280s76. A list of military obligations owed to the duke by his leading vassals was famously drawn up in the Livre des Ostz, following a muster at Ploërmel in August 129477. By the early fourteenth century French was used even in ducal courts in Bretagne-bretonnante; the earliest letters issued by that at Morlaix I have found dates from 1302, Lesneven from 1310, Carhais from 1321 and St-Renan from 132978. The early fourteenth century saw several further important ducal legal documents issued in French,79 though the Très ancienne coutume of c. 1325 was an unofficial compilation put together by practising lawyers80.

The earliest ducal financial records also demonstrate the measured pace of linguistic change: the first surviving accounts come from the 1260s and 1270s and are exclusively in Latin81. There is then a gap until 1300 by which time the surviving rolls are chiefly in French, though some still contain items in Latin82. After 1308 there is an almost complete dearth of ducal financial records until the reign of John IV, by when they are almost all without exception kept in French, though occasionally Latin was used in the auditing process by the Chambre des comptes or for memoranda83. In the interim, French had also become the main language for seigneurial household or estate accounts and estate surveys84. If there was a political agenda in the ducal use of French, it must be acknowledged that this only came about slowly and had been anticipated by seigneurial usage.

10. A wider adoption of French in the later Middle Ages

How did other authorities and institutions react to the spreading use of French? The extent to which religious houses (whether older Benedictine monasteries, the important group of eleven major Breton Cistercian houses, or even the many newer mendicant foundations dating from the 1230s onwards) used French varied, and not simply as a function of their relative position to the linguistic frontier between the two halves of Brittany though this is influential in the initial spread. It is thus not surprising that in Haute-Bretagne, monastic archives show that French was used occasionally from the mid 1250s: at Bocquen from 125585, St-Malo de Dinan (1257)86, St-Aubin-des-Bois (1262)87, Geneston (1264)88, St-Sulpice (1267)89, Montonac (1272)90, Buzay (1275)91 and St-Magloire de Léhon (1278)92. But in some major cartularies from Haute-Bretagne the appearance of the first French document is relatively late: at St-Melaine de Rennes it is in 128193, at St-Sauveur de Redon (1289)94, St-Georges de Rennes (1294)95 and Notre-Dame de Jugon (1295)96. By then French is evident in some houses in Bretagne-bretonnante, most interestingly at Relecq in Haut-Léon by 128497 and Bon Repos (1289)98, though it would be the early fourteenth century before it reached Beauport (1303)99 and Bégard (1308)100 in the Trégorrois, or made its appearance in Quimper’s cathedral cartulary (1321), only to be used sparingly for the rest of the century101. Indeed as late as 1489 we find the chapter of Quimper paying for a list of taxable tenants to be translated from French into Latin102. At the abbey of La Joie de Hennebont, founded by John I and his wife, French was used from 1282103 but this is less surprising since it was a nunnery drawing most of its members from an aristocratic milieu, and it has long been known that female houses favoured use of the vernacular104.

11. Which language to use ?

The erratic survival of records (most notably those relating to Bretagne-bretonnante which has lost a disproportionate number of once existing ecclesiastical documents) precludes any statistical approach to the relative use of French or Latin by religious institutions in the later Middle Ages, or of how this changed when a choice between them was acceptable105. My impression is that once established in the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century, French was regularly but not excessively used in the affairs of most houses, since Latin remained important in the administration of estates and protection of rights, and naturally for divine service and any business with the papacy. But a majority of documents emanating from the ducal chancery in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and dealing with cathedrals, monasteries or mendicant convents, including general confirmations of privileges or more particular favours, like the licence to crenellate which John III granted in 1332 to the monks of St-Mathieu de Fineterre106, deep in Bretagne-bretonnante, were in French107. Chapter records at Vannes were being kept in French by the late fourteenth century108, so were accounts for the chapter of Tréguier in the fifteenth109. At Quimper, too, which in many respects seems to have been conservative and resistant to the spread of French110, as early as 1326, an obit for Guillaume, archdeacon of Poher, was established under the contracts seal of the town in French111. At Beauport abbey, accounts were being kept in French by 1406112. Additions in French were first added to the Necrology of Daoulas abbey in the 1440s113. Elsewhere Officialities had tentatively begun to use French from the 1250s and did so regularly by the fourteenth century114; bishops too might issue letters in French like Maurice de Trésiguidi, bishop of Rennes, who related the terms of the marriage contract between Hervé, eldest son of Hervé, vicomte de Léon, and Catherine de Laval in May 1265115.

On the other hand, parochial registers of births, marriages and deaths, precociously introduced into Brittany in the early fifteenth century by Henry Le Barbu, bishop of Nantes, previously Chancellor of the duchy116, and soon used in all other Breton dioceses, were initially kept in Latin. In the earliest still extant register, that from Roz-Landrieux, diocese of Dol, which now contains details for the period 1451-1523, only those for the years 1479-83 are recorded in French117. But other registers from Dol, Nantes and Rennes show French being used from 1462, as it was in the dioceses of St-Malo and Vannes from the early sixteenth century118. But it is only from the mid-century that it occurs in registers from St-Brieuc and Tréguier, while it is not until the early seventeenth that some in Cornouaille and St-Pol de Léon finally employed French; Latin indeed remained the language for some parish registers in Tréguier, Quimper and Léon dioceses until the late seventeenth century whereas it had all but disappeared from all other dioceses by the mid century.

12. An example of hesitant adoption : wills

Another important category of record, wills, also shows that the replacement of Latin by French was a slow and incomplete process in the later medieval period. The first full Breton noble will of which we have record is that of André de Varades in 1196119, and another informative one was made by Guillaume Le Borgne, seneschal of Goëllo in April 1220120; like most thirteenth-century Breton wills, these are in Latin, though that made on 17 June 1248 by André III, lord of Vitré, survives only in a late medieval French translation121. On the other hand, that made by Jeanne, comtesse de la Marche, dame de Fougères, containing many legacies to Breton churches, drawn up on 20 May 1269, is a French original but drafted in the Saintonge122. But even among the Breton aristocracy who were most influenced by French culture, it was rare to leave testaments in French before the mid fourteenth century123, and as late as the sixteenth century a proportion were still drawn up in Latin. But after 1400 it was unusual for any lay person to have a Latin will, even in Bretagne-bretonnante124, though clerics throughout the duchy were likely to do so into the sixteenth century. An important exception is the French will of Christophe de Penmarc’h, bishop of Saint-Brieuc, of 1505125.


Trilingual in speech, only evidence for Latin and French used for administrative purposes survives from late medieval Brittany. This brief survey has shown that after French became fashionable for various purposes in the mid thirteenth century, different chronologies of usage co-existed for differing types of record whether used by lay or ecclesiastical authorities. Social and geographical factors can be used to explain some of these differences; the influence of the high aristocracy in promoting the use of French in Brittany for certain purposes is especially clear. Some differences continued to be influenced obviously by that broad division between the spoken vernaculars of Bretagne-gallo and Bretagne-bretonnante, or even between the different varieties of Breton speech (for example, the conservatism of Cornouaille as opposed to the precocity of Léon in accepting the use of French for certain purposes)126. Other institutional developments in church and state require further consideration: for instance, the importance of the fact that until the later fourteenth century, two key administrative institutions, the ducal chancery and the Chambre des comptes, only existed in very embryonic form needs to be clearly recognized. Naturally, Latin remained very important for ecclesiastics but as this survey has shown, from a relatively early point the church was prepared to accept the use of written French and not simply for its dealings with the laity. In Bretagne-bretonnante this also inevitably meant that the majority of clerics needed to be verbally trilingual even if they did not write in Breton127; civil servants found this competence useful on occasion, especially when carrying out inquiries in Basse-Bretagne128. Comparisons and contrasts with other nearby regions where trilingualism was significant at the end of the Middle Ages (Flanders129, England130, Wales131) might be profitably pursued but not on this occasion.

The Plainte de Pierre Leet to the vicomte de Rohan following an assault by Alain de Lanharmoyt and others (shortly before 1300).

A. Nantes, Médiathèque (formerly Bibliothèque municipale), MS 1710, original parchment, late 13th c., 165 x 118 mm.

B. ibid. MS 1069/3, n° 28, paper, 19th c. copy after A.

Plainte de Pierre Leet contre Alain de Lanharmoyt et autres portée devant le seignour de Rohan pour réparation de voies de fait exercées sur la personne du plaignant. 

Cez sunt ceux des quex Pierres Leet132 se deut en denonciant a vous mon seignour de Rohan133 comme a excellen seignour e a bonne justice, qui furent en force, e en ayde e en conseil de le ferir de le batre e de le fouler leement o batons, o espees e o piez e o poinz, en vostre chemin qe est en vostre garde, e ou pelerinage de Saint Jame de Saint Leon134 qe est en vostre terre, pour quoy il vous supleye comme a seignour que vous li faciez ce a mender, vous en enfourmant par qui vous verrez que bien sera comme de fet notayre.

E premierement se deut le dit Pierres de Alain de Lanharmoyt e de Olichon, son freyre, et de dous batarz de Lanharmoyt, e de Alain le fuiz Olivier de Pouquomar, comme de Guillou le fuiz Henri, du fuiz Olivier le Foul de Saint Guen135 e de plusours autres que ledit Pierres Leyet ne quenoet pas.

E cez sunt les tesmoinz, monseignour de Rohan, par qui vous vous pourrez enformer de vostre ofice de la denonciacion que Pierre Leyet vous a fete davant a lancé. E premier par Guillaume du Treu e par Alain de Beauboys136 e par Gullemet fuiz mons. Gef’ Budes137 e par Guillon Faramus de Plesalla138 e par Robert Guehenec e par Robert le Forestier de Moncontour139, tavernier en la ville, e ses serjanz, e par Olivier le Breton de la paroesse de Trebrit140 e par la fame Eon des Fossez141 e par Jamet le fuiz Gef’ le Neyr de Pleren142 e par Pierres de la Ville Marie e par Collinet Gilles e par Alain Rolant de Penthevre e par plusours autres qe vous verrez qe bien sera comme de fet notayre.

1  Kenneth Jackson, A Historical Phonology of Breton, Dublin, 1967, and François Falc’hun, Perspectives nouvelles sur l’histoire de la langue bretonne, 3rd edn., Rennes, 1981, are the main accounts; a useful brief conspectus is Fañch Broudic, Histoire de la langue bretonne, Rennes, 1999.
2  See the review of my Recueil des actes de Charles de Blois et Jeanne de Penthièvre, duc et duchesse de Bretagne (1341-1364), Rennes, 1996, by Takeshi Matsumura in Revue de linguistique romane, 62 (1998), p. 561-565, for detailed examples of this linguistic regionalism.
3  J. R. F. Piette, « French Borrowings in Middle Breton », Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, 23 (1968-1970), p. 201-209; J. R. F. Piette, « French Borrowings… », p. 206, also usefully summarizes the relationship of Gallo and Middle Breton.
4  Barry Cunliffe, Facing the Ocean: the Atlantic and its peoples 8000 BC-AD 1500, Oxford, 2001, p. 294-297 and 462-463, provides a wider context for Breton, and suggests that the regional variations may owe something to conditions in pre-Roman Armorica (see also n. 5).
5  Along with Falc’hun, Léon Fleuriot was the most vocal advocate of the view that Breton owed much to ancient Gaulish (Les origines de la Bretagne, Paris, 1980, p. 50 et seq.). K. Jackson, A Historical Phonology…, p. 2, for Primitive Breton, succeeded by Old Breton (c. 750-1100), Middle Breton (c. 1100-1650) and Modern Breton (c. 1650-present).
6  The Atlas d’histoire de Bretagne, ed. Bernard Tanguy and Michel Lagrée, Morlaix, 2002, p. 158-159, briefly summarizes the literature and traces the frontier at various stages to the present. I am very grateful to Don Shewan for drawing the map.
7  Loth suggested this line was already established by c. 1200 (K. Jackson, A Historical Phonology…, p. 22-25).
8  Alain Croix, La Bretagne aux 16e et 17 e siècles: la vie, la mort, la foi, Paris, 1981, 2 vols., t. I, p. 24-31, for an important discussion about the limits of Breton speech in the early modern period.
9  F. Broudic, Histoire de la langue…, p. 26-31, charts a decline of 80% in Breton-speakers since the second World War.
10  Jean Kerhervé, L’État breton aux XIVe et XVe siècles : les ducs, les hommes, l’argent, Paris, 1987, 2 vols., t. I, p. 36-40.
11  In the 15th century, the papal chancery recognized utriusque Britanniae, with Quimper, St-Pol de Léon, Tréguier and Vannes in Britannnia Britonizante and St-Brieuc, St-Malo, Dol, Nantes and Rennes in Britannia gallicana (Barthélemy-Amédée Pocquet du Haut-Jussé, « La règle d’idiome en Bretagne au XVe siècle », Mélanges offerts à M. J. Loth, Paris-Rennes, 1927, p. 245; cf. Jean-Pierre Leguay and Hervé Martin, Fastes et malheurs de la Bretagne ducale, 1213-1532, Rennes, 1982, p. 372-373).
12  Le Roman d’Aiquin, chanson de geste du XIIe siècle, ed. F. Jouön de Longrais, Nantes, 1880; for a translation into modern French and recent views on authorship see Jean-Claude Lozac’hmeur and Maud Ovazza, La Chanson d’Aiquin, Paris,1985, and cf. J. R. F. Piette, « French Borrowings… », p. 206.
13  Cf. Joseph Bédier, « Les chansons du comte de Bretagne », Mélanges... Alfred Jeanroy, Paris, 1928, p. 477-495.
14  Histoire littéraire et culturelle de la Bretagne, ed. Jean Balcou and Yves Le Gallo, Paris-Geneva, 1987, 3 vols., esp. t. I, provides comprehensive coverage.
15  La Chronique de Nantes (570 environ-1049), ed. René Merlet, Paris, 1896. A new edition of the Chronique is a desideratum, especially in the light of work by Hubert Guillotel (cf. « Genèse de l’Indiculus de episcoporum depositione », Mondes de l’ouest et villes du monde: regards sur les sociétés médiévales, mélanges en l’honneur d’André Chédeville, textes réunis par Catherine Laurent, Bernard Merdrignac et Daniel Pichot, Rennes, 1998, p. 129-138).
16  For which see Michael Jones, « Notaries and Notarial Practice in Medieval Brittany », Notariado público y documento privado: de los orígenes al siglo XIV, actas del VII Congreso Internacional de Diplómatica, Valencia 1986, ed. J. Trenchs y Odena, Valencia, 1989, 2 vols., t. II, p. 773-815, reprinted in Michael Jones, Between France and England: Politics, Power and Society in late Medieval Brittany, Aldershot 2003, Chapter VIII. In some notarial documents from the late fourteenth century onwards, after a Latin protocol, the narratio and dispositio were in French, before final clauses in Latin, especially in instruments of an important diplomatic character or those concerning secular business.
17  Cartulaire de Redon, ed. Aurélien de Courson, Paris, 1863, is the standard edition, but in need of revision; important editorial material is included in the recent impressive fascimile: [Association des Amis des Archives historiques du diocèse de Rennes, Dol et Saint-Malo], Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Saint-Sauveur de Redon, eds. Hubert Guillotel, André Chédeville and Bernard Tanguy, Rennes, 1998, after the original MS in Rennes, Archives de l’archévêché. A second volume containing further texts, discussion of dating and other critical annotations has now been published (2004).
18 . Wendy Davies, Small Worlds: the Village Community in Early Medieval Brittany, London, 1988, is the best modern discussion.
19  Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Saint-Sauveur…, ed. H. Guillotel et al., t. I, p. 49-69.
20  Two editions of this were produced almost contemporaneously: Cartulaire de Landévennec, ed. R-F. Le Men and Emile Ernault, Paris, 1886, and Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Landévennec, ed. Arthur de La Borderie, Quimper, 1888, after the original, Quimper, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 16, c. 1047.
21  Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Sainte-Croix de Quimperlé, ed. Léon Maître and Paul de Berthou, 2nd edn., Rennes-Paris, 1904, after the original, now London, British Library, MS Egerton 2802, 12th-13th c.
22  Hubert Guillotel, « Cartulaires bretons médiévaux », Les Cartulaires, ed. Olivier Guyotjeannin, Laurent Morelle and Michel Parisse, Paris, 1993 (Mémoires et documents de l’École des chartes, 39), p. 325-342, listed individually and briefly described at p. 336-340, together with mention of 10 known lost cartularies; idem, « À propos des cartulaires », Trésors des Bibliothèques de Bretagne, Exhibition catalogue (Château des ducs de Rohan, Pontivy, 15 juin-15 septembre 1989), 1989, p. 39-48.
23  Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Saint-Georges de Rennes, ed. Paul de la Bigne Villeneuve, Rennes, 1876; Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Saint-Sulpice-la-Forêt, ed. Abbé Paul Anger, Rennes, 1911. The original cartularies are Archives départementales Ille-et-Vilaine, 23 H 1, 14th c. (St-Georges) and Rennes, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 273, early 16th c. (St-Sulpice), to which the editors have added many additional pieces, chiefly found in the Archives départementales Ille-et-Vilaine.
24  Most significantly in Jules Geslin de Bourgogne and Anatole de Barthélemy, Anciens évêchés de Bretagne, St-Brieuc-Paris, 1855-1869, 6 vols. [cited as Anciens évêchés…]. The original cartulary of St-Aubin-des-Bois is Archives départementales Côtes-d’Armor, MS 2.
25  Rennes, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 288, 14th c., currently being edited by Mesdames Chantal Reydellet and Monique Chauvin. There is also a very convenient two-volume 19th c. copy made for La Borderie: Archives départementales Ille-et-Vilaine, 1 F 501/1 and 501/2.
26  Cf. Jacques Charpy, Guide des archives du Finistère, Quimper, 1973, p. 177 et seq.
27  Archives départementales Ille-et-Vilaine, G 281 B and G 380 G, respectively, both used extensively by François Duine, La métropole de Dol: Chronique de Dol composée au XIe siècle et catalogue des dignitaires jusqu’à la Révolution, Paris, 1916.
28  Bibliothèque nationale de France, MSS latin 9890-9892, edited by Paul Peyron as Cartulaire de l’Église de Quimper, Quimper, 1909; a new text has been prepared by Valérie Roudaut-Adam (Reédition des Cartulaires de l’église cathédrale Saint-Corentin de Quimper, Mémoire de maîtrise d’histoire, Université de Bretagne occidentale, année 1995-1996, 2 vols.), with a view to a new edition. The three manuscripts contain 684 items in all, but 134 of them are recopied from MS latin 9890 into MS latin 9891: one item dates to the 11th century, 3 to the 12th, 139 to the 13th, 309 to the 14th and 75 to the 15th ; 18 items are undated (Roudaut-Adam, t. I, p. 7-8).
29  H. Guillotel, « Cartulaires… », p. 340, n° 23, noting that some early modern extracts from it survive in Archives départementales Ille-et-Vilaine, G 165.
30  Michael Jones, « The Chancery of the Duchy of Brittany from Peter Mauclerc to Duchess Anne, 1213-1514 », Landesherrliche Kanzleien im Spätmittelalter, Referate zum VI. Internationalen Kongress für Diplomatik (München 1983), Munich, 1984, p. 681-728, reprinted in M. Jones, The Creation of Brittany, London, 1988, p. 111-158; see p. 113-114.
31  Jean Kerhervé, « Les registres des lettres scellées à la chancellerie de Bretagne sous le règne du duc François II (1458-1488) », Écrit et pouvoir dans les chancelleries médiévales: Espace français, espace anglais, Louvain-la-Neuve, 1997, p. 153-203; idem, « La chancellerie de Bretagne sous Anne de Bretagne et Louis XII (1498-1514) », Powerbrokers in the late Middle Ages/Les courtiers du pouvoir au bas Moyen Âge, ed. R. Stein, Turnhout, 2001, p. 199-233.
32  Le Cartulaire de la seigneurie de Fougères connu sous le nom de Cartulaire d’Alençon, ed. Jacques Aubergé, Rennes, 1913; the original was destroyed in the fire of 1737 at the Chambre des comptes, Paris.
33  Archives nationales, 1 AP 2151, published seriatim in A. Bertrand du Broussillon, La maison de Laval (1020-1605), étude historique accompagnée du cartulaire de Laval et de Vitré, Paris, 1895-1903, 5 vols. Some of the earliest documents in the cartulary of Vitré were translated into French from Latin when copied (cf. below n. 121). The same occurred when a register for the duke of Brittany’s English Honour of Richmond was compiled in 1398 (see Michael Jones, « The House of Brittany and the Honour of Richmond in the late eleventh and twelfth centuries: some new charter evidence », Forschungen zur Rechts-, Papst- und Landesgeschichte, Peter Herde zum 65. Geburstag von Freunden, Schülern und Kollegen dargebracht, ed. Karl Borchardt and Enno Bünz, Stuttgart, 1998, t. I, p. 161-175); the original register is Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique, E 116.
34  Cartulaire des sires de Rays, ed. René Blanchard, Poitiers, 1898-1899, 2 vols., after the original, now Archives nationales, 1 AP 1994, mid 15th c. There is one urban cartulary, that of St-Aubin-du-Cormier, compiled in the early 16th c., recording ducal charters and privileges from its foundation in 1225 (deposed at the Archives départementales Ille-et-Vilaine).
35  By the eighteenth century most of these documents were in the chartrier at the castle of Blain (Loire-Atlantique), where they were consulted by Dom Morice, historian of the house of Rohan, who published many in his Mémoires pour servir de preuves à l’histoire ecclésiastique et civile de Bretagne, Paris, 1742-1746. The chartrier was destroyed or dispersed at the Revolution, some originals being recuperated by the local savant Bizeul, from whom they passed to the Bibliothèque municipale (now Médiathèque), Nantes. Another important fonds of Rohan archives was latterly kept at the Château de Kerguehennec (Morbihan) and were used by Léon Rosenzweig in his Cartulaire du Morbihan, Vannes, 1895. Once deposited in the Archives départementales Morbihan, 20 J, these documents are currently being dispersed by sale. Other Rohan archives may be found at Archives nationales, 273 AP (see Suzanne d’Huart, Archives Rohan-Bouillon, Inventaire, Paris, 1970).
36  B.-A. Pocquet du Haut-Jussé, « La règle d’idiome… ». Some dispensations were sought for parishes far to the east of the late medieval Loth line in the dioceses of St-Malo and Rennes; how far this is indicative of surviving pockets of Breton-speakers has not, as far as I am aware, been the subject of serious discussion, but cf. André Chédeville and Noël-Yves Tonnerre, La Bretagne féodale XIe-XIIIe siècle, Rennes, 1987, p. 305.
37  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 321-323, and Hubert Guillotel, « Les évêques d’Alet du IXe au milieu du XIIe siècle », Annales de la Société d’histoire et d’archéologie de l’arrondissement de Saint-Malo, 1979, p. 251-266, at p. 256.
38  Michael Jones, « L’aptitude à lire et écrire des ducs de Bretagne à la fin du moyen âge et un usage précoce de l’imprimerie », Mémoires de la Société d’histoire et d’archéologie de Bretagne, 62 (1985), p. 37-53, at p. 45.
39  Anciens évêchés…, t. IV, p. 65, after an 18th c. copy in the Livre-déal or terrier of the abbey (Archives départementales Côtes-d’Armor, H 36). François Attal, Beauport, une abbaye de Prémontrés en Goëlo: aménagement d’un espace côtier du XIIIe au XVe siècle, Perros-Guirec, 1997, p. 179-182 provides a useful modern conspectus of the surviving archives of the abbey.
40  Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique, E 111, n° 29, report of his actions in the duchy by Jean de Mongison, royal receiver in the Touraine, November 1326, sent by the bailli of Tours, in connection with the appeal of Berthelot Chesnel, knight, against John III: « C’est assavoir a Rennes es jours du dit duc, presenz grant assamblee de genz, prelaz, barons, religieus, seculiers et autres nobles et non nobles et avecques ce en la dite cité de Rennes et es autres citez, villes et lieus notables du dit duché par les baniers ou cries des lieus et leur feismes exposer et declarer en chacun lieu ou language dont l’en y usoit (my italics), c’est assavoir a la cité de Dol, a Chasteau Neuf de Rance, a la cité de Saint Mallo de Lille, a Dinan, a Jugon, a Lamballe, a la cité de Saint Brieuc, a la Roche Deryan, a la cité de Lantreguer, a Lannyon, a Montrelles, a la cité de Saint Paul de Leon, a Lesneven, a la cité de Kemper Corentin, a Karahes, a Kemperelle, a Henbont, a Auray, a la cité de Vannes, a Plermel, a Redon, en la cité de Nantes et en plusours autres chasteaus et villes… ».
41 J.-P. Leguay and H. Martin, Fastes et malheurs…, p. 374, after evidence from the 17th c. preacher, Grégoire de Rostrenen.
42  Monuments originaux de l’histoire de St-Yves, ed. Arthur de La Borderie et al., Saint-Brieuc, 1887, p. 122-123; Monuments du procès de canonisation du bienheureux Charles de Blois, duc de Bretagne, 1320-64, ed. Antoine de Serent, Saint-Brieuc, 1921, p. 318.
43  Archives départementales Côtes-d’Armor, G 373, accounts for 1432, fol. 10v.
44  Georges Bataille, Gilles de Rais, Paris, 1972, p. 312-13.
45  Narratives of the Expulsion of the English from Normandy, MCCCCXLIX-MCCCCL, ed. Joseph Stevenson, London, 1863, p. 29 (Pont de l’Arche); Archives départementales Finistère, 1 E 504 (Guingamp); Archives départementales Ille-et-Vilaine, 1 F 1225, fol. 28 (L’Hermitage).
46  Cf. Christiane Prigent, Pouvoir ducal, religion et production artistique en Basse-Bretagne, 1350-1575, Paris, 1992, p. 59-66. However, she notes that very few inscriptions in Breton have been discovered: in one sample of 79 inscriptions from religious buildings, only 5 were in Breton (p. 62).
47  Archives départementales Morbihan, 58 G 1, fol. 53v, « et quando idem magister Yvo [Le Bastard, proctor of the chapter] exivit portam Sancti Paterni omnis tam vires quam mulieres de burgo Sancti Paterni ceperunt clamare quod eciam Sancti Paterni clauderentur dicendo britanice Ferwet, ferwet, ferwet donet avant quod est dicere Claudite, claudite, claudite ipsi ipsi venerunt… ». The disturbance had occurred in September 1398 at the time of the famous pilgrimage, the Tro-Briezh; cf. Jean de la Martinière et al., Inventaire sommaire, Archives anterieurs à 1790, Morbihan, Série G - Clergé seculier, t. II, Fonds du chapitre, Vannes, 1940, p. 159-171.
48  J. Kerhervé, L’État breton…, t. I, p. 38.
49  Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS latin 7056; see Ch-J. Guyonvarc’h, Le « Catholicon » de Jean Lagadeuc, dictionnaire breton-latin-français du XVe siècle, Rennes 1975, 2 vols.; P. Trépos, « Le Catholicon de Jehan Lagadeuc (pour son cinquième centenaire) », Annales de Bretagne, 71 (1964), p. 501-552. Six lines of indifferent verse are all that survive for 14th c. Middle Breton literature: Joseph Loth, « Le plus ancien texte suivi en breton », Revue celtique, 34 (1913), p. 241-248, and Émile Ernault, « Encore du breton d’Ivonet Omnès’ », ibid., p. 249-252 (cf. Histoire littéraire et culturelle…, ed. J. Balcou and Y. Le Gallo, t. I, p. 19-20).
50  Arthur Giry, Manuel de diplomatique, Paris, 1893, p. 467 et seq. In England, the earliest surviving original charter in Anglo-Norman dates to 1187 x 1199 (H. Richardson, « A Twelfth-Century Anglo-Norman Charter », Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 24 [1940], p. 168-172), but a copy of one of c. 1140 for the Hospitallers is known and a return to the Inquest of Sheriffs in 1170 survives in French (Michael Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record, 2nd edn., Oxford, 1993, p. 219).
51  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 958-959; Layettes du Trésor des chartes, ed. Alexandre Teulet et al., Paris 1863-1909, 5 vols., t. III, n° 4132 (= Archives nationales, J 258), confirmation of the renunciation of their rights in the kingdom of Navarre by John I and his wife, Blanche of Navarre, December 1254 (cf. Giry, p. 470).
52  Arthur de La Borderie, « Le régaire de Dol et la baronnie de Combour », Bulletin de la société archéologique d’Ille-et-Vilaine, 2 (1862), p. 204-208, after a copy found in the papers of the distinguished Breton jurist, Pierre Hévin (1621-1692), now Archives départementales Ille-et-Vilaine, 1 F 61.
53  Archives départementales Morbihan, E 1471 (= Cartulaire du Morbihan…, ed. L. Rosenzweig, n° 275) and Nantes, Médiathèque, MS 1705/1 (= Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 933-935), letters of Raoul de Fougères, Pierre de Chemillé and Olivier de Montauban, 7 November 1248, confirmed by John I, 6 February 1249 (Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 940-942, after the ‘Cartulaire d’Alençon’ = Le Cartulaire de la seigneurie de Fougères…, ed. J. Aubergé, n° XLIX).
54  For example, Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique, H 86/21, letters of Olivier de Machecoul (1256); Cartulaire des sires de Rays…, ed. R. Blanchard, n° LXIV (September 1260, letters of Olivier de Machecoul), n° CCXXXIV (September 1260, confirmation by John I of an accord between the lord of Rays and Olivier de Machecoul), n° CLXI (27 August 1262, accord of John I and Girard Chabot, lord of Rays), n° CLXXXIV (May 1265, grant of Girard Chabot); Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 980 (after 2 February 1262, letters of Olivier, lord of Clisson), col. 987 (1 March 1262, obligation of Olivier de Clisson), col. 997-998 (10 June 1265, accord of Olivier de Clisson and Eudo du Pont through the arbitration of the lords of Châteaubriant and Lohéac).
55  J. Kerhervé, L’État breton…, t. I, p. 38.
56  Anciens évêchés…, t. III, p. 245, n° LX (after a document in Côtes-d’Armor, H, fonds de l’abbaye de Boquen, H 210-214, which I have not yet identified).
57  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 964-965, and Anciens évêchés…, t. IV, p. 415 (= Archives départementales Côtes-d’Armor, H 423, n° 20).
58  Cartulaire des sires de Rays…, ed. R. Blanchard, n° CCXX (10 March 1258, Aigrefeuille) and n° CCXXXIV (September 1260).
59  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 983-984 (19 April 1262, Daoulas), after the original then at Blain.
60  Archives départementales Morbihan, 20 J 337. Alain, vicomte de Rohan, had exempted the jouveigneurs of Trégaranteuc from payments of rachat on 19 July 1264 in letters in French (Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 992-993; Cartulaire du Morbihan…, ed. L. Rosenzweig, n° 320) and Alain de Trégaranteuc as alloué of the vicomte had already delivered letters in French on behalf of Geoffroy de Hennebont and Eon Picaut on 13 March 1265 (Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 992).
61  Cf. Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 997-998 (May 1265).
62  Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique, H 75, p. 74, tomb of Bonabé de Rougé, seigneur de St-Lou; that of 1251 read, « Cy gist Monsor Brient le Bouf le veil segnor de Nozei et de Ice qui transit ou mois de Mars l’an de grace M.CC.L. » (ibid.).
63  Jean Adhémar and Gertrude Dordor, « Les tombeaux de la collection Gaignières, dessins d’archéologie du XVIIe siècle, I », Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 6e sér., 84 (1974), p. 1-192, at n° 319 (Macé Maillard, d. 1271), n° 384 (Olivier de Machecoul. d. 1281), n° 519 (Louise de Machecoul, d. 1304), n° 583 (Nicole de Machecoul, d. 1312), n° 632 (Briant Maillard, d. 1321) and n° 640 (Sevestre du Chaffaut, d. 1301, and his son, also Sevestre, d. 1323). Unfortunately the otherwise instructive work of J-Y. Copy, Art, société et politique au temps des ducs de Bretagne: les gisants haut-bretons, Paris, 1986, does not index « langue française » and references under « épitaphe » give little guidance on early linguistic usage. A relatively precocious example of French from Bretagne-bretonnante is the tomb of Jeanne de Tréseguidi, vicomtesse de Faou (d. 1324) from Notre Dame de Châteaulin: Guy Leclerc, « Tombe de Jothane de Trésiguidy (1324) », Bulletin de la société archéologique du Finistère, 123 (1974), p. 198-200.
64  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 971-972 and, more accurately, in La Très ancienne coutume de Bretagne, ed. Marcel Planiol, Rennes, 1896 [cited as La Très ancienne coutume…], p. 331-333, after a MS of the custom, 1454 (Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 14398).
65  La Très ancienne coutume…, p. 334-335 (aveux) and p. 335-338 (rachat). This latter exists in seven originals in Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique, E 126 and E 151, and a further original delivered to Alain, vicomte de Rohan, is Nantes, Médiathèque, MS 1689, n° 4.
66  Among early examples, letters of Hervé de Léon, esquire, submitting to the court of John I, in a confirmation of Louis IX (Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 979-980, September 1260); quittance of Hervé de Léon, son of Palamon de Léon, to John I (Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 986, March 1263); and letters of Alain, vicomte de Rohan exempting Gilles de Cambout and his heirs from rachat (Nantes, Médiathèque, MS 1069/3, n° 60, 19th c. copy of letters of 19 July 1264).
67  For seigneurial accounts see below, n. 84.
68  M. Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record…, p. 223.
69  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 1051-1052, after the original then at Blain, now in Nantes, Médiathèque, MS 1688.
70  Archives nationales, J 240, n° 18, published in Arthur de La Borderie, Nouveau recueil d’actes inédits des ducs et princes de Bretagne (XIIIe et XIV e siècles), Rennes, 1902, p. 64-74.
71  Cf. A. Croix, La Bretagne aux 16e et 17 e siècles…, p. 26-27.
72  Cf. Layettes…, éd. A. Teulet et al., t. III, n° 4131 (11 December 1254, marriage contract between the Châtillon and Bretagne families); Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 987-988 (June 1263, assignation of dower for Duchess Blanche).
73  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 977, 997 and 998.
74  Archives historiques du Poitou, 58 (1964), n° 290 (May 1270); Cartulaire de Notre-Dame de Montonac, prieuré Augustin en la paroisse de Nivillac, diocèse de Nantes, ed. Paul de Berthou, Vannes, 1964, n° XXXVIII (January 1272), n° XL (January 1273) and n° XLIII (June 1273); the original belongs to the parish of Saint-Dolay (Morbihan).
75  For example, the complaints of Pierre Leet against Alain de Lanharmoyt, shortly before 1300, Nantes, Médiathèque MSS  1710 (original) and 1069/3, n° 28 (19th c. copy): see above Annexes.
76  E.g., letters of John II, 24 November 1287, confirming an accord in Parlement between Guillaume de Lohéac and Raoul de Montfort (A. de La Borderie, Nouveau recueil d’actes inédits…, p. 52-53, n° XII, after 17th c. copy in Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr. 22325, p. 410, after the original then at Vitré).
77  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 1110-1115, after a copy of c. 1395 (Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique, E 131); see for a modern edition, Frédéric Morvan, « Le Livre des Ostz (1294), Un éclairage sur les rapports du duc avec la noblesse bretonne à la fin du XIIIe siècle », Noblesses de Bretagne du Moyen Âge à nos jours, ed. Jean Kerhervé, Rennes, 1999, p. 37-88. The date of the main manuscript copy is fixed by mention of the Livre in Hervé le Grant’s inventory of the Trésor des chartes du duc of June 1395 (Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique, E 238, fol. 79).
78  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 1176-1177 (Morlaix), 1228-1230 (Lesneven), 1297-1298 (Carhais) and 1349 (St-Renan), all after originals once at Blain.
79  Notably the ‘Constitutions’ of John III (after 1334) (Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 1160-1166 = La Très ancienne coutume…, p. 345-354, n° 21). There are also a number of pseudo-ordinances in French attributed to this period including a ‘Petite coutume’: La Très ancienne coutume…, p. 345, n° 20, p. 469-480, n° III, and p. 509-518, n° XVI.
80  La Très ancienne coutume…, p. 1-12, and B.-A. Pocquet du Haut-Jussé, « Mahé le Léal ou Macé le Bart, l’un des auteurs de la Très ancienne coutume de Bretagne », Revue historique du droit français et étranger, 4e sér., 4 (1925), p. 445-453, for composition and authorship.
81  B.-A. Pocquet du Haut-Jussé, « Le plus ancien rôle des comptes du duché, 1262, document inédit », Mémoires de la Société d’histoire et d’archéologie de Bretagne, 26 (1946), p. 49-68, a fragment retrieved from a 19th c. binding, now Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique, 1 J 194. Two other fragments for 1265-1266 were published by Arthur de La Borderie in his Recueil d’actes inédits des ducs et princes de Bretagne, Rennes, 1889, p. 216-223 (originals now Archives départementales Ille-et-Vilaine, 1 F 618), while Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 1006-10, preserves extracts from « un vieux registre du compte » now apparently lost for the period 1267-1275. Further fragmentary original accounts for 1263-1267 have come to light since B.-A. Pocquet du Haut-Jussé wrote: Yves Renaudin, Les domaines des ducs de Bretagne, leur administration du XIIe au XVe siècle, thèse d’École nationale des chartes, Paris, 1957, 2 vols. (copy at Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique), t. II, p. 278-411, after Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique, B, parchemins non classés.
82  A. de La Borderie, Nouveau recueil d’actes inédits…, p. 76-87, n° XX, « Cest est le roule des destes qui fut deues a mon seignor des accompz faiz a Mussillac, les feyries de Paques, l’an de grace mil et treis cenz », and ibid., p. 90-105, n° XXIII, « C’est le rolle des acoonz de Mesuillac commencez en la quinzenne de Paques, l’an de graice mil trois cenz et troys » (after the originals, Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique, E 20/5). Many financial documents concerning the death in 1305 and execution of the will of John II can also be found in A. de La Borderie, Nouveau recueil d’actes inédits…, p. 108-210 (also after originals in Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique, E 20), although the edition surprisingly omits many items.
83  In addition to Jean Kerhervé, L’État breton…, see also his useful documentary survey, « La Chambre des comptes de Bretagne », Les Chambres des comptes en France aux XIVe et XVe siècles, ed. Philippe Contamine and Olivier Mattéoni, Paris, 1995, p. 127-179.
84  The earliest important surviving clutch of warrants for payments and fragments of accounts for any Breton seigneurial household or estates come from the lords of Vitré around 1310-1311, 1314-1315 and 1337-1338 (Archives départementales Ille-et-Vilaine, 1 F 1535 and 1549); some for their lordship of Châtillon-en-Vendelais for 1340-1342 are found ibid., 1 F 1542; Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 1257, preserves a fragment from the accounts of the lord of Avaugour for various journeys in 1315. But seigneurial accounts of any kind are rare before the 15th c. Other early accounts include some for Girard de Machecoul (1342-1343) and Alienor de Thouars (1343-1344 and 1359-1364) (Archives nationales, 1 AP 606); some fragments for the lordship of Fougères (Bibliothèque nationale de France, MSS fr. 25999, n° 113-114, Ascension term 1351; 26000, n° 227-228, All Saints, 1353 [cf. also Rouen, Bibliothèque municipale, MS Martainville 217]; 26001, n° 493-494, Easter 1356-Ascension 1357; and 26002, n° 805, All Saints 1377-Ascension 1378); for Bertrand du Guesclin’s lands at Sens in the lordship of Fougères for 1373-1374 (ibid., MS nouv. acq. fr. 5070, n° 1-3); for the marcher lordship of Palluau in 1370-1371 and 1380-1381 (Nantes, Médiathèque, MS Dugast-Matifeux 222), of which 19th c. copies made by René Blanchard exist (Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique, 7 JJ 143/1 and 2), together with a copy of further accounts from Palluau for 1379-1380 taken from originals then in the Archives de Claude de Monti, now Archives départementales Vendée, J 157; and for the lands around Combour of Blanche de Rochefort, dame du Chastellier d’Yriac, 1392-1405 (Private Collection). For fragments of an early terrier in French from the Redon area, see « Ancien terrier breton livré aux relieurs », Bibliothèque de l’École des chartes, 51 (1890), p. 371-372.
85  Anciens évêchés…, t. III, p. 245-6, n° LX.
86  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 964-965, and Anciens évêchés…, t. IV, p. 415, n° XXXII.
87  Anciens évêchés…, t. III, p. 138, n° CCXXIX, extract only from a vidimus of 1358.
88  Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique, H 74, p. 15.
89  Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Saint-Sulpice…, ed. P. Anger, n° CXLV.
90  Cartulaire de Notre-Dame de Montonac…, ed. P. de Berthou, n° XXXVIII.
91  Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique, H 46 = J. L. Sarazin, Recueil et catalogue des actes de l’abbaye cistercienne de Buzay en Pays de Rais (1135-1474), thèse de troisième cycle, Nantes, 1977, 4 vols. (copy at Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique), n° 196.
92  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 1043, 1060, and Anciens évêchés…, t. IV, p. 375, n° XXXVIII.
93  Archives départementales Ille-et-Vilaine, 1 F 501, n° 260 (19th c. copy).
94  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 1087-1089, and La Très ancienne coutume…, p. 339-343, n° 14, after a vidimus of 1392 (Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique, E 72).
95  Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Saint-Georges…, ed. P. de la Bigne Villeneuve, Appendice, n° XLV.
96  Archives départementales Côtes-d’Armor, H 423.
97  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 1071, after original letters of John I, then at Blain, relating an accord between Hervé de Lesquellen and the abbey of Relecq, 6 August 1284. As early as 7 November 1265 the abbot of Relecq, together with the bishop of St-Pol, had been witness to a French document in which Hervé, vicomte de Léon, conceded the customs of St-Mahé to John I (Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 994).
98  Anciens évêchés…, t. VI, p. 203, n° CLV.
99  Anciens évêchés…, t. IV, p. 218, n° CCCXCII.
100  Archives départementales Côtes-d’Armor, H 88, relating to a dispute with Prigent de Coëtmen. Among the most interesting of early records in French for this abbey is an agreement in 1351 between the abbot and his men (covenanciers) following the ravages of the Black Death (ibid.).
101  Cartulaire de l’Église de Quimper…, ed. P. Peyron, n° 190 (a contrat de cens); see also n° 197 (10 June 1323) and n° 207 (14 June 1326). Some street names at Quimper occur from this point in Latin, Breton and French forms: Histoire de Quimper, ed. Jean Kerhervé, Toulouse, 1994, p. 78.
102  Archives départementales Finistère, 2 G 142*, fol. 9v, « Item, Magistro Alano Jouhan pro translatando de gallico in latinum nomina subditorum debentur hujusmodi redditus et scribendo in papiro nomina eorum juxta et secundum tenorum redditurum sumam ».
103  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 978; the epitaph of Duchess Blanche (d. 1284) at La Joie was also in French (ibid., col. 979).
104  It is notable that most early tombs of Breton noble women of which we have record had French epitaphs: cf. J. Adhémar and G. Dordor, « Les tombeaux de la collection Gaignières… », I, n° 519 (Louise de Machecoul, 1304), n° 583 (Nicole, wife of Olivier de Machecoul, 1312), n° 678 (Blanche de Bouville, 1329).
105  No Breton examples are cited in the discussion by Françoise Vielliard, « Les langues vulgaires dans les cartulaires français du Moyen Âge », Les cartulaires…, ed. O. Guyotjeannin et al., p. 137-151.
106  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 1358-1359.
107  I have collected the ducal acta for the later fourteenth century in my Recueil des actes de Charles de Blois and Recueil des actes de Jean IV, Paris-Bannalec, 1980-2001, 3 vols.
108  Archives départementales Morbihan, 64 G 6, a late 14th c. rentier; cf. also J. de la Martinière et al., Inventaire sommaire, Morbihan, Série G, t. II, Fonds du chapitre, p. 221-230; this volume provides much information from the chapter’s records.
109  Archives départementales Côtes-d’Armor, G 373.
110  Accounts appear to have been kept in Latin throughout the fifteenth century (Archives départementales Finistère, 2 G 141* and 142*).
111  Cartulaire de l’Église de Quimper…, ed. P. Peyron, n° 207.
112  Archives départementales Côtes-d’Armor, H 78, accounts of Fr. Jean Legall, receiver of the priory of Les Fontaines en Plouargat, 1406-1407.
113  Jean-Luc Deuffic, « Les documents nécrologiques de l’abbaye Notre-Dame de Daoulas », Bulletin de la société archéologique du Finistère, 106 (1978), p. 83-102, at p. 94.
114  Cf. Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 1075-1078, a transumpt issued by the Official of St-Malo de Beignon relating to the treaty between Olivier de Montauban and Guillaume de Lohéac, 1285.
115  Laval, Bibliothèque municipale, Papiers Couanier de Launay, published in A. Bertrand du Broussillon, La maison de Laval…, t. II, n° 474.
116  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. II, col. 770-771; the early registers for Nantes have been exhaustively analysed by Alain Croix, Nantes et le pays nantais au XVIe siècle, étude démographique, Paris, 1974.
117  Archives départementales Ille-et-Vilaine, EC Dépôt 100 B.
118  A. Croix, La Bretagne aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles…, t. I, p. 30, Graphique 3, for this and following details on registers.
119  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 727, after the sealed original, now lost, at the abbey of Pontron; see also « Le testament d’André de Varades », Association bretonne, 13 (1894-1895), p. 118-124. An earlier charter given by André II de Vitré is couched in terms very reminiscent of a will: A. Bertrand de Broussillon, « La charte d’André II de Vitré et le siège de Karac en 1184’ », Bulletin historique et philologique, 1899, p. 47-52, after the original, Laval, Bibliothèque municipale, Papiers Couanier de Launay. A. Perraud, Étude sur le testament d’après la coutume de Bretagne, Rennes, 1921, esp. Partie II, « Le Moyen Âge » (p. 45-147), is a useful discussion, together with an extensive but by no means complete list of known Breton medieval wills (p. 251-261).
120  Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 828-829 (where it is dated 10 April 1216 n.s.); Anciens évêchés…, t. IV, p. 84, n° LXXIV (with the date 1225) but correctly dated to 10 April 1220 by André Oheix, Essai sur les sénéchaux de Bretagne des origines au XIVe siècle, Paris, 1913, p. 112-114.
121  A. Bertrand du Broussillon, La maison de Laval…, t. I, n° 431; translation from the Vitré cartulary, mid 15th c.
122  A. Teulet, Layettes…, t. IV, n° 5519, after the original, Archives nationales, J 406.
123  Among the earliest is that of Pierre Bonabes d’Espinefort of Hennebont (12 July 1348), of which large extracts survive in a copy of 3 December 1359 (Archives départementales Morbihan, 60 H 15, formerly 276 H 13). On 14 July 1362 Pierre Poulart, knight, and his wife, Constance de Kerraoul, sealed their joint-will written in French (Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 1454 [recte 1554]-1555). Two other early wills in French are those of Hervé du Pont, seigneur du Fresnay, and his successor Simon du Pont (Archives départementales Loire-Atlantique, H 2, n° 39-40, 24 August 1364 and 9 October 1370 respectively). That of Bertrand du Guesclin, the Breton Constable of France, was drawn up in French at the siege of Châteauneuf-du-Randon (Lozère) on 9 July 1380 (Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. II, col. 286-289); that of his successor as Constable, Olivier, lord of Clisson, on 5 February 1407, with a Latin codicil (ibid., t. II, p. 779-783).
124  Cf. Jean Marzin, « Quelques testaments des XVe et XVIe siècles », Bulletin de la société archéologique du Finistère, 37 (1910), 27 et seq.
125  Anciens évêchés…, t. I, p. 385-388.
126  Most evident in the rich evidence from the Léon-Avaugour-Rohan chartrier.
127  B.-A. Pocquet du Haut-Jussé, « La règle d’idiome… », p. 244, cites the cases of two civil servants who were eventually promoted as bishops, Bernard du Peyron, a Gascon and client of Jeanne de Navarre, duchess of Brittany, provided first to the bishopric of Tréguier, but translated to Nantes in 1407 because of his inability to speak Breton, and of Pierre Piédru, from the Nantais, also provided initially to Tréguier but removed to St-Malo by Eugenius IV for a similar reason. Whether mendaciously or not, Robert Cador, a secretary of John V from Rennes claimed « he knew a little Breton although he did not speak it » when receiving a benefice in Bretagne-bretonnante (p. 247), and Pierre de la Haye, another ducal secretary, was provided in 1453 to the parish of Inguiniel, diocese of Vannes, despite his ignorance of Breton (p. 248).
128  Cf. J. Kerhervé, L’État breton…, t. I, p. 38.
129  Cf. Walter Prevenier and Thérèse de Hemptinne, « La Flandre du Moyen Âge : un trilinguisme administratif » ; C. A. J. Armstrong, « The Language Question in the Low Countries : The Use of French and Dutch by the Dukes of Burgundy and their administration », Europe in the Late Middle Ages, ed. J. R. Hale et al., London, 1965, p. 386-409.
130  M. Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record…, esp. Chapter 6, « Languages of Record ».
131  Llinos Beverley Smith, « The Welsh Language before 1536 », The Welsh Language before the Industrial Revolution, ed. Geraint H. Jenkins, Cardiff, 1997, p. 15-44.
132  A family surnamed Leet is found chiefly in medieval sources relating to Loire-Atlantique south of the Loire.
133  Alain VI, vicomte de Rohan (d. 1304).
134  Leet appears to have been on his way to the chapel of St-Jacques à Saint-Léon, a hamlet in the parish of Merléac (Côtes-d’Armor, arr. St-Brieuc, cant. Uzel), not far from one of the Rohans’ favoured abbeys, Bon-Repos (Bernard Tanguy, Dictionnaire des noms de communes, trèves et paroisses des Côtes-d’Armor, Douarnenez, 1992, p. 150).
135  Probably Saint-Guen (Côtes-d’Armor, arr. Guingamp, cant. Mûr-de-Bretagne).
136  There was a medieval gentry family of Beaubois from Bourseul (Côtes-d’Armor, arr. Dinan, cant. Plancoët).
137  Geoffroy Budes, knight, witnessed a document in May 1280 (Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 1052); the descent of this well-known family from the time of Guillaume Budes, seigneur d’Uzel et de Plessis-Budes (en St-Carreuc, Côtes-d’Armor, arr. St-Brieuc, cant. Moncontour), probably the Gullemet mentioned here, is traced by Père Anselme de Sainte-Marie, Histoire généalogique de la maison royale de France, t. VII, p. 523-528.
138  Plessala (Côtes-d’Armor, arr. St-Brieuc, cant. Plouguenast).
139  Moncontour (Côtes-d’Armor, arr. St-Brieuc, ch.-l. cant.).
140  Trébry (Côtes-d’Armor, arr. St-Brieuc, cant. Moncontour).
141  Éon was possibly the lord of Les Fossés en Plélan-le-Petit (Côtes-d’Armor, arr. Dinan, ch.-l. cant.); a legal dispute in 1497, when it was held by Jean de la Bouexière, traces back possession of the manor of Les Fossés four generations to a Jean Le Borgne, sire des Fossés (Archives départementales Côtes-d’Armor, 32 J). This Jean des Fossés may have been an « archer desarmé » with Jean Tournemine at St-Arnoul en Yvelines on 25 November 1356 and also with Du Guesclin at Caen on 1 December 1370 and at Bourges (sic for Louviers) on 1 June 1371 (Dom Morice, Mémoires…, t. I, col. 1502, 1644, 1652).
142  Plérin (Côtes-d’Armor, arr. St-Brieuc, cant. St-Brieuc-Nord).