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The Archbishops of Dol and the origins of the Stewarts 

Foundations , the Journal of the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy 2009; 3 (1): 61-76.  Reprinted in the Journal of the Stewart Society 2010, vol 23 no 3: 249-69.

More than a hundred years ago J Horace Round discovered that the Stewarts descended from the stewards of Dol in Brittany, but little was understood about the relationships and motivations of these antecedents.[1] A fresh analysis of the politics and genealogy of the archbishops whom they served has provided new insights into their origins, including the discovery of unsuspected Frankish roots.

        The stewardship which they held was created by Archbishop Junkeneus of Dol  

( enthroned by1008, died circa 1039), a man whose wise counsels were  much valued by Duke Alan III of Brittany, and whose family controlled the strategically important border lands with Normandy. The Archbishop’s father Hamo was viscount of Alet, a title inherited by Hamo’s eldest son and namesake, while the second son  Josselin was established as the first lord of the castle of Dinan. Junkeneus further strengthened the strategic position  by setting up his youngest brother Rivallon as the vidame of the archbishopric. His role would have been to defend the bishop, to represent him, to administer justice in his absence, and to control the temporalities of the see during an interregnum. To support this position he created twelve knights’ fees from the see of Dol. There were two sets of fortifications to defend, the citadel of Dol itself, and a new castle at Combourg. Apart from extensive lands, income came from the burgesses of Dol, from whom the vidame was granted the right to draw upon a thousand sous of credit  should the need arise. [2] 

       These strategic developments were the second  phase in the strengthening of eastern Brittany following  numerous attacks by the Vikings, most seriously in the period 996-999 when Dol itself was taken and Solomon the vidame was killed. [3] The first phase of military organisation had taken place a little before this cataclysm, in the time of  Junkeneus’ uncle and predecessor, Archbishop Main II of Dol,  with the establishment of the baronies of  Fougères and Vitré. [4]  The barony of Fougères comprised fifty parishes and was constituted circa 990 for  Main son of the knight Alfred, and grandson of Main [5]  Clerical celibacy was not the accepted norm in Brittany at that time and it is distinctly plausible that  the grandfather Main was the Archbishop himself.

     The barony of Vitré was even larger than Fougères, comprising more than eighty parishes.[6]   Its first baron was Rivallon vicarius who was there before 1008, and married to one Junargande.  Rivallon is believed to have come from the county of Vannes. [7]  His eldest son Triscan married Inoguen sister of Main de Fougères. The name Inoguen is of some interest because Archbishop Junkeneus had a sister of that name who was married to Teuharius/ Tehel and was mother of Brient first lord  of Chateaubriant. [8]  It was into the context this extended family of  Breton aristocracy that  Rivallon lord of Dol-Combourg introduced a soldier with the frankish name of Hato to serve as one of his knights. As such he must frequently have belonged to the retinue of the Archbishop.

      Rivallon of Dol possessed lands in Normandy, in the Cotentin peninsula, including two carucates of land in Céaux, on the coast east of Mont-Saint-Michel. [9]  These and other lands in Normandy probably explain why Hato the knight came to sign two charters of  Duke Richard II of Normandy in the period 1013-24. [10] Relations with Normandy became strained after 1027 when Richard II died and  Duke Alan III of Brittany forged a marriage alliance with  Bertha daughter of Odo count of Chartres and Blois. It must have been around the same time that  Rivallon of Dol married Aremburga de Puiset, daughter of Evrard count of Bretueil, viscount of Chartres and a vassall of Odo.[11]  In 1029 Duke Robert of Normandy invaded Brittany at Dol, and although peace was restored fairly swiftly, thereafter Hato made no further attestations of Norman charters. When Hato witnessed a charter of   Junkeneus in the period 1029-37 as a knight of the bishopric he was referred to as “our man Hato” , and possibly by this time he had risen to a position of authority in the bishop’s household. [12] The mill of Hato was an important landmark in the vicinity of Mont Dol, mentioned various times in the 1181 inquest as being part of the bishopric. [13]

Archbishop Juhel

The successor of Junkeneus around 1039 was Juhel, and it was later claimed that he had bought the see from Duke Alan III. Like many Breton priests Juhel was married, and is known to have had at least one daughter who was married to the knight Wihenoc.  The family connections of Juhel represent an extremely important and long neglected topic. He must have come from a wealthy family if it was later believed that he purchased his bishopric. A second daughter of Juhel  was probably Adelaide the wife of  Main de Fougères, who was stated in a charter to have been the daughter of Juhel. [14] Their eldest son was named Juhel, a clear confirmation that his maternal grandfather was a man of some consequence. From the1181 inquest it is clear that Juhel followed the established practice of settling his kinsmen on episcopal lands, and Juhel’s  son in law Wihenoc son of Caradoc was a prime beneficiary. [15] 

        The question of Juhel’s own antecedents is an important one. The archbishops of  Dol from Main II in 990 to John II a hundred years later were all kinsmen, with the exception of Even, who owed his installation to direct papal intervention, and Juhel, whose origins are unrecorded.  We can almost certainly add to this list  Main’s predecessor Archbishop Wicohen ( Juthuouen) who served from 944 until 970 or later. He was the dominant figure in north eastern Brittany during his day, and was a great temporal lord, with a fief comprising of the northern part of the county of Rennes. [16] This fief was inherited by Main II and Hamo of Alet, and it is a reasonable assumption that these men were sons or nephews of Wicohen. [17]  Wicohen’s parentage is not known, although Morice believed him to have been a brother or a near kinsman of Berenger Count of Rennes.[18] The name Juhel was popular in the family of the Counts of Rennes. Conan I  of Rennes ( d 992) himself had two sons called Juhel, one of whom became bishop of Vannes ( c 1008-1037) while the other was a natural son who is known to have had issue. Du Paz, an early scholar of Breton genealogy stated that  one of these was the father of Wihenoc, who was viscount of  Porhoët  in 992. [19]  Wihenoc’s territories lay within  the bishoprics of Alet and Vannes. [20]  The other great landholder in the territory of Alet  at this time was Hamo viscount of Alet,  father of Archbishop Junkeneus of Dol, and  probable brother of Archbishop Main II. The very name of Archbishop Juhel, his reputed wealth prior to his elevation, and his undoubted status as a nobleman, all point to a likely descent  from the house of Rennes or the house of  Porhoët. The usage of the names Main and  Josselin in the family of the viscount of Alet, names which were also used in the same period and in subsequent generations by the family of  Porhoët, suggest that  the two houses shared a common descent  which would in turn explain how Juhel attained his position as prelate.

      In 1050 Juhel was excommunicated with all his fellow Breton bishops by Pope Gregory VII at the council of Rheims for failing to respond to a papal summons. [21] The archbishopric had been created two centuries earlier without papal approval  as a manifestation of Breton nationalism, but Brittany nominally remained under the suzerainty of the Archbishop of Tours. The Breton nobility could not have been entirely indifferent to this excommunication. They frequently travelled to provinces which were controlled by the see of Tours, where as supporters of an excommunicate bishop they might themselves have been refused the sacraments. The established practice of founding priories in Brittany as cells of abbeys outside continued with renewed vigour following the excommunication. This is particularly evident in the leading baronial families most directly linked to the see of Dol. [22] This might have been a religious insurance policy: they could expect to receive the valid sacraments from their own priests who answered to the Archbishop of Tours.

     Duke William the bastard of Normandy saw in this situation an opportunity to diminish the authority of Tours while at the same time winning for himself supporters in Brittany. He made common cause with Juhel, promising to use his influence over the Pope in return for an alliance which protected his own western borders. This strategy was highly successful, and Duke William’s popularity with the Breton nobility is evidenced by the large numbers who joined in his invasion of England. According to Wace the lords of Dinan, Vitré and Fougères were all represented at Hastings. [23]  Juhel would have used Rivallon of Dol as his envoy to duke William, and this probably explains Rivallon’s  attendance at  the court of the Norman duke at Dromfront in 1063-4. [24]

         Quite apart from the policy of his lord the Archbishop, Rivallon’s  possession of lands in Normandy gave him the divided loyalties which were so typical of the region in this era. Duke William and the Breton Duke Conan II were avowed enemies, and it became necessary for William to neutralize Conan before he could invade England. Exactly why Conan besieged  Rivallon in his citadel of Dol in 1064-5, sending him into exile, is not known. Presumably Conan had learnt that  Rivallon  was negotiating with his adversary.  The outcome is famous from the Bayeux tapestry: Duke William took Dol with the assistance of Harold Godwinson, Conan retreated to Rennes, the Normans then took Dinan. The last action has been  interpreted to mean that Rivallon’s kinsmen of Dinan remained loyal to Conan, but it is equally possible that Conan had taken the town, so William was restoring it to his ally.[25]

     Subsequently Conan  focussed his military energies on Anjou and Maine. While Duke William was preparing to cross over to England, Conan was re-taking Château Gontier in Anjou. It was essential for Duke William that the problem of Conan be resolved. Orderic Vitalis told an extraordinary story to explain how he did this. Conan’s chamberlain, a man who also had property in Normandy, was asked to place poison on Conan’s  war horn, reins, and gloves.The poison was effective after Conan touched his hand to his mouth, and he died soon afterwards. [26]

        Rivallon of Dol  died before his duke, having founded in great haste the priory of the Trinity at Combourg as a cell of Marmoutiers, signed in the presence of his wife and sons at the castle of Combourg and later ratified  by Conan II  in the presence of Abbot Bartholomew at the Priory of Béré in Chateaubriant. [27]  An earlier gift by Rivallon to Marmoutiers of half the church of St Machut in the castle of Combourg had been witnessed by Flaald the steward. [28]  Flaald was Hato’s son, and he also had a brother called Hato. Around 1050 Flaald and his father Hato witnessed  a charter of  Rivallon of Dol  and Josselin of Dinan giving the tithes of St Pern  to the new priory of St Pern, a cell of St Nicholas of Angers. [29]  Hato and his brother Flaald themselves made a donation to the same priory. [30]  Flaald was the first man to be given the important position of hereditary steward of the Archbishop of Dol, the most important official in his household apart from that of vidame. It  is widely assumed that the post, together with that of butler, was created by Junkeneus, a supposition made certain because all of Juhel’s land grants were later revoked, while the hereditary stewards and butlers managed to hold on to theirs. [31]

       The great need of Rivallon to found a new priory with his dying breath might have reflected  terror at his excommunicate status. That his family shared these fears is supported by their haste to make further gifts to the church in his memory. Only eleven days after his death his eldest son William made a gift to Mont-Saint-Michel signed at Dol and witnessed by Hato brother of Flaald. [32] Soon afterwards William took the cowl.

The subsequent election of William to the abbacy of St-Florent de Saumur in 1070 is explicable in terms of his maternal descent from the high nobility of the Touraine.  

       Another witness of William’s charter to Mont-Saint-Michel was Main son of Tehel, an individual who was evidently a kinsman of Flaald. In 1070-82 Main and his father made a gift of the church of Cuguen, in the barony of Combourg to Marmoutiers. [33] This followed an incident in which  Abbot Bartholomew of Marmoutiers had personally and, apparently miraculously, cured Main’s two sons Hamo and Walter of illness on a visit to his priory at Châteaubriant. The gift of Cuguen was made with the consent of Alan son of Flaald, who shared the advowson, and ratified by their lord John of Dol.  In 1095 Hamo son of Main made a gift to the Priory of Combourg with the consent of his wife Basilia, and his brothers William and Walter, to which Alan the steward was the first witness. [34] The two families also had a common interest in the church of  La Fresnaie, which can hardly be coincidental. Hamo son of Main gave the tithes of this place to St Florent de Saumur for the souls of his parents, of his uncle Robert, confirmed by his brother William and witnessed by Baderon [35] In 1130 Jordan son of Alan fitz Flaald possessed the cemetary of La Fresnaie. [36] 

          Clearly Alan son of Flaald was connected to the family of Main, and the only possible link is that Flaald the steward was married to Main’s sister. In other words she was the daughter of Tehel. This was an uncommon name, and one shared by the father of Brient of Châteaubriant, the husband of Inoguen. She was daughter of  Hamo of Alet and sister of Rivallon of Dol. This is exactly the sort of match which  might be expected for a steward of Dol. The link with the house of Alet is strengthened by the use of the names Hamo and Main, while both Main and Alan fitz Flaald had sons named William and Walter.

The ousting of Juhel

In 1076 an event took place which is generally termed the siege of Dol, the sole objective of which appears to have been to eject Juhel from his see. There was a military occupation of the citadel by an unlikely alliance of  top level Breton magnates including the former adversaries Count Eudo of Penthièvre and Count Geoffrey Grenonat; and Ralph de Gael, who had recently been expelled from England by King William. [37]   This was a carefully orchestrated two pronged attack on Juhel, which begs the question who planned it, and why? Abbot William and his brother John lord of Dol  must at the very least have collaborated in the scheme. Simultaneously with the occupation of Dol a deputation of Breton clerics was dispatched to Rome with the objective of asking the Pope to confirm Juhel’s deposition, and to inform him that the citizens of Dol wished to elect Abbot William’s youngest brother Gilduin as their archbishop.

           There must have been a serious falling out between Juhel and the family of his most important vassals, the sons of Rivallon, and it is not difficult to conjecture the cause of this. Abbot William had become an influential and reformist church leader, who must have been appalled that his own father had died an excommunicate. He doubtless had been trying to persuade Juhel to accept papal authority, and it seems that Juhel had blocked the foundation of the new abbey at Dol as a cell of St-Florent because he realized it would undermine his own authority. In an attempt to circumvent Juhel, direct papal approval had  been sought for the foundation of the priory at least six months before the coup. [38]  As a churchman William had ready access to the three barons who took part in the coup, and indeed Geoffrey Grenonat count of Rennes was his brother-in-law, being married to his sister Bertha. [39] Ralph de Gael for his part would have jumped at any opportunity to annoy Juhel’s ally William the Conqueror, who subsequently made strenuous efforts to have Juhel reinstated both by direct military intervention and by appeal to the Pope.

     Pope Gregory VII willingly acquiesced to Juhel’s deposition, but felt the saintly Gilduin to be too young for the job, and instead he nominated another member of the embassy, Abbot Even of  St Melanie in Vannes, originally a monk of St Florent who had been appointed by Geoffrey Grenonat when he re-founded the abbey. Gilduin took with him the foundation charter for the new abbey at Dol. With Juhel deposed there was no longer any obstacle to its approval. Alan son of Flaald, who by this time had inherited the stewardship of Dol, witnessed various charters associated with the foundation, and himself donated  his bakehouse and shop in the village of Mezvoit where the priory was to be built, with the consent of his brother Flaald, on condition that his brother Rivallon was received into the monastery. [40] The lands given by John of Dol included those of  Hato the knight, the brother of Flaald, who as Hato of Miniac witnessed a confirmatory charter for the abbey of Dol in 1086. [41] 


The Life of Wihenoc the knight.

      Of Juhel’s household it appears that only his  son-in-law Wihenoc stood beside him and shared his exile. His story is an extraordinary one, and warrants recounting here because of his close association with the stewards of Dol.  His  first mention in the historical record occurs before 31st July 1055 when as Wihenoc son of Caradoc of La Boussac he witnessed the gift by his lord Robert de Vitré of the church of Montreuil-sur-Pérouse to the abbey of St Serge at Angers. [42]  Wihenoc was probably already married to Juhel’s daughter by this time, and  part of the bishop’s pro-Norman inner circle. As such he would have been with Rivallon of Dol  in the events of 1064-5. After 1076 he was forced to relinquish his extensive lands in the see of Dol given to him by Juhel because those who failed to do so remained excommunicate. [43]

      King William compensated him with a barony recently forfeited by the rebellious Roger son of William fitz Osbern. [44] Roger had become embroiled in the machinations of his  brother-in-law of  Ralph de Gael.   Soon after becoming lord of Monmouth castle Wihenoc, with his brother Baderon,  founded Monmouth Priory, endowing it with lands in the marches of Wales and Gloucestershire. Baderon gave  lands from his patrimony in Brittany at Epiniac, and the mortgaged lands of La Boussac. [45]  Baderon was also a benefactor of St Georges Rennes, giving the village of Beren and a daughter to the abbey with the assent of his son William and in the presence of Ralph de Fougères, his overlord, witnessed by Alan son of Flaald. [46]  The Welsh church which the monks used while  Monmouth Priory was being constructed fittingly bore a dedication to St Caradoc, the name of the founders’ father.[47] The religious imperative of Wihenoc’s declining years was perhaps at least in part driven by a desire to catch up for the many years of invalid communion received from an excommunicate bishop.  By 1083 he had become a monk of St Florent de Saumur, leaving his English possessions to his nephew William fitz Baderon. Wihenoc gave Monmouth Priory to St Florent de Saumur on his admission as a monk, the instrument being confirmed by William son of Baderon, by his tenant Main de La Boussac, and by Brient the old.  Another witness of some interest was Raterius son of Wihenoc. [48]  King William agreed to these donations in a charter signed at Salisbury and witnessed by Count Alan Rufus, the most senior Breton noble in England at that time, and a man who had also benefited hugely from the fall of Ralph de Gael. [49] The choice of St Florent de Saumur  was a natural one. Wihenoc as one of the archbishop’s knights had served Rivallon of Dol. Abbot  William knew him well, understood his demons, and  clearly held him in high esteem, using Wihenoc as a travelling plenipotentiary of the abbey. The first datable instance was in 1083, when he was sent to King William to ask him to intervene in a dispute with the monks of Mont-St-Michel. Abbot William’s brother John of Dol had granted land in Céaux in Normandy on coast east of the abbey to St Florent. Passing the mount, Wihenoc and his colleague was able to persuade his fellow Benedictines they were in error in laying claim to these lands, and they signed a quitclaim on the feast of Stephen. [50] 

After this success Wihenoc was made responsible for  resolving  claims on lands given to all three of the  other English cells of St-Florent, those at Sele in Sussex, Andover in Hampshire and  Sporle in Norfolk. By this time he was a relatively old man.  He visited the abbot of Fécamp to reach an agreement over territorial rights in Sussex, and  circa 1095-97 he visited  Philip de Braose at Radnor and received for his pains confirmation of all of William de Braose’s gifts to Sele. [51]  He even persuaded Philip to make a gift to Monmouth Priory. Philip de Braose later visited St Florent and made a pledge to uphold his donations with a symbolic knife which was placed on the priory altar. [52]  Wihenoc obtained a confirmatory charter for Andover from King William Rufus which was signed before him in the New Forest in February 1105, and  witnessed by Count Alan Rufus [53]  On  18th March 1101 or 1102 with Abbot William he visited Monmouth Priory for its dedication, and before a great gathering of marcher lords William son of Baderon placed a knife on the altar and attested to all the family donations to the monastery. [54]  Present at the ceremony was Flaald son of Alan the steward. Also there  was the Breton tenant in chief Hascoit Musard from East Anglia, who later became a monk of Ely. Another charter in which William son of Baderon gave land near Goodrich castle during the visit of Abbot William was also signed by Flaald son of Alan the steward. [55]  Wihenoc’s final task was to obtain a charter confirming Alan son of Flaald’s foundation of Sporle Abbey.[56]

       Abbot William took Wihenoc with him at the dedication of another cell of St Florent, this time in Brittany, the Priory of the Magdalene of the bridge of Dinan. [57]  It was founded by Abbot William’s kinsman Geoffrey castellan of Dinan ( 1065-1123). Wihenoc’s presence here at the dedication was required because the territorial rights of his son Alan were in question: a vineyard had been donated in the town which was in the fee of Alan son of Wihenoc. Another witness was Richard son of Rivallon, nephew of Wihenoc the monk.

Alan son of Flaald

Meanwhile, back in Brittany the stewards of Dol continued in their traditional role. Archbishop Even was succeeded in 1082  by John lord of Dol, brother of Abbot William. Flaald, the first steward, had died by 1076 and was succeded by his eldest son Alan, while his younger son  Flaald  possibly occurs as the knight Flaald  in the necrology of Mont-Saint-Michel. [58]  This is an intriguing connection because  Alan fitz Flaald became a close friend of Henry Plantagenet, later King Henry I of England, during the period when Henry controlled Mont-Saint-Michel as Count of the Cotentin. Henry purchased  western Normandy and the title of Count  from his brother Robert Curthose Duke of Normandy in 1088, and when in 1091 his brother renedged on the arrangement he fortified Mont-St-Michel. Although forced to flee the Mount in March 1091, he was able to re-establish his authority between 1092 and 1094, making a great impression on the local nobility, some of whom joined his cause.

    Alan the steward left Brittany on the first Crusade in 1096. [59]  It has usually been assumed that Alan fitz Flaald who came to England a few years later represented the next generation, but there is no record that Alan the steward died in the Crusade, and there is every reason to suppose that Orderic Vitalis, who recorded the campaign in great detail, would have mentioned his heroic death. After the capture of Jerusalem on 15th July 1099 many knights returned home, including Robert Curthose Duke of Normandy.  Alan’s prestige as both steward of Dol and crusading knight would help to explain why Henry I  treated him with such honour. Alan was never styled  “the steward” in England, but the reason for this is clear: to be a steward in England was commonplace, but there was only one Alan son of Flaald; and moreover, Alan was now a baron, a position far above that of steward.

      Following his surprise accession in August 1100 Henry  very quickly invested Alan with a barony, the honour of Mileham in Norfolk, then in the king’s hands. At the great court held at Windsor on 3rd September 1101 Alan witnessed two charters for Norwich Cathedral Priory, one of which confirmed his previous donation of the church and tithes of Langham within the honour of Mileham. [60]  There is an earlier version of this charter which could potentially date as early as November 1100. [61]  Alan was further  favoured with marriage to a wealthy heiress, Avelina de Hesdin, and around 1103, when the great fief of the hereditary sheriffdom of Shropshire escheated to the crown on the death of Hugh son of Warin the Bald,  the king gave it to Alan. [62] This fief made him the second man in the county of Shropshire, with more than 70 manors, together with further manors in Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Sussex. [63]   Alan signed eight authentic royal charters from the early part of the reign, and they indicate his presence at court for certain major functions. When in 1109 the monks of Norwich asked the king to provide a charter to confirm property promised to them by Alan, the king replied that he would do so when Alan next came to court. [64] 

      Alan’s son and heir  Flaald  by his first marriage came to England in his father’s wake, but after visiting  Monmouth in 1101 or 1102 he disappears from history.  


Alan and Avelina had three sons, the eldest William, born circa 1105, became the ancestor of the Fitzalans;  next was Jordan, who in 1129 and 1130 held Tuxford in Nottinghamshire  and Broughton-on-Brant in Lincolnshire, but by this time had already returned to Brittany as  hereditary seneschal of Dol, in which capacity he witnessed a charter of Mont-Saint-Michel  in 1128-9. [65]  The youngest son Walter  was granted the Sussex manor of Stoke by his brother William, went into the service of the king of Scotland, and was ancestor of the Stewarts. The last charter which Alan is known to have signed probably dates to 1114, but might be as late as 1116. [66]  His death in this period is very much in keeping with the supposition that he was the Crusader, and would thus have been around fifty years of age when he arrived in England.


The earliest antecedents of the Stuarts.

To recapitulate what is known on the ancestors of Flaald seneschal of Dol, his father Hato occurs as an archbishop’s knight  in the 1020s and was still living circa 1050, when he witnessed a gift of Rivallon of Dol to St Pern with  Flaald.  He probably gave his name to the mill a Hato, a local landmark in the see of Dol, and had another son, also called Hato. 

Can anything be said of Hato’s origins? His name is Frankish, like Flaald, and relatively rare. It is a warrior’s name, being derived from hath, meaning war/ combat, and is to be met with in this period in the counties of Anjou, Maine and Blois. He might have been recruited from any of these territories, of which Anjou is the least likely because of the hostility which then existed between the Counts of Rennes and Anjou. The counties of Rennes, Maine and Blois at this time were allies against Normandy and  Anjou. In 1027 Count Alan III of Rennes acted in concert with Odo of Blois to liberate Count Herbert of Maine from the clutches of Fulk of Anjou. [67] The counts were constantly trying to expand their territories and influence at the expense of their neighbours. Many  knights and barons had interests in more than one county, thus owing nominal allegiance to counts who were rivals. They would sell their services to whichever magnate seemed to offer the most advantage. 

         A knight from Maine has been identified who might be the same as Archbishop Junkeneus’ man.  In 1045-51 Guy son of Guy de la Roche donated to St Florent of Saumur half a mesnality in Belin, near Le Mans, with the consent of his tenant Hato, Hato’s wife Hildelinde and their three sons Hato, William and Walter. [68] The charter was witnessed by Count Hugh IV of Maine and his wife Bertha daughter of Odo II of Blois, and recently widow of Duke Alan III of Brittany. Subsequently  “ the lord Hato” senior himself became a monk at St Florent. Hato junior gave land and vines at Tazay to St Florent on the occasion of his brother Walter becoming a monk there, and with his wife Aremburga and brother William gave half the tithes of Courcillon, later adding property in Belin. [69]  These donations were made in the time of Abbot Sigo (1056-70), and it is possible that  William of Dol was already a monk there.  Hato of Courcillon  was  still living in 1071, when he witnessed a charter of St Vincent of Mans with his son William. [70]  He might be the same man as Hato the brother of Flaald the steward, also known in Brittany Hato of Miniac, who was alive in 1086. Hato senior and junior in Maine were exact  comtemporaries of those in Brittany. The shared association with St Florent is also suggestive, but there is no conclusive evidence that they were the same individuals. What is certain is that the earliest direct male line ancestors the Stewarts were knights from the territories under the suzerainty of the kings of France, probably from Maine. The dearth of information which survives for this class of men before the year 1000 make it improbable that the line will ever be traced back any further.





[1] J Horace Round. Studies in peerage and family history, London 1901, chapter 2, the origin of the Stewarts ( hereafter Round)  pg 115-146.

[2] Jean Allenou. Histoire féodale des Marais, territoire et église de Dol ( hereafter Allenou) Paris 1917, pg 38.

[3] Arthur le Moyne de la Borderie. Histoire de Bretagne, Rennes ( 6 vols 1905-1914, hereafter Borderie) vol 3 pg 3. Borderie places this assault in the context of Duke Richard II of Normandy’s war with Count Odo of Blois.

[4] H Guillotel. Des vicomtes d’Alet aux vicomtes de Poudouvre. Annales Société d’histoire et d’Archéologie de l’arrondisement de St Malo 1988 ( hereafter Guillotel)  pg 201-215.

[5] Borderie,  vol 3 pg 57 with reference to Pierre Hyacinthe Morice. Mémoires pour servir de preuves à l'histoire ecclésiastique et civile de Bretagne, vol 1 ( hereafter, Morice) Paris, 1742  pg 351. There is a pedigree of Fougères in Annales de Bretagne vol 113 no 3,  2006, pg 111. Alfred  was still living in 1010, and clearly a fidelis of the Counts of Rennes, many of whose charters he signed.

[6] Borderie vol 3 pg 57-8.

[7] Borderie  vol 3 pg 110-111.

[8] Katherine Keats-Rohan. The Cartulary of the Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, Donington 2006 ( hereafter Keats Rohan 2006) pg 237. Brient of Châteaubriant founded the abbey of Béré in Châteaubriant as a cell of Marmoutiers, confirmed by Airard Bishop of Nantes in 1050. The foundation charter mentions Brient’s parents Teuharius ( Tehel ) and Inoguen, his wife Adelaide and his sons Teuharius and Geoffrey. Châteaubriant was another key frontier castle, lying within the territory of the Counts of Nantes.

[9] As demonstrated by his son John’s gifts to St Florent from here around 1082, see Pierre Marchegay, Chartes Normandes de l’abbaye de Saint-Florent près Saumur in  Mémoires de la Société des  Antiquaires de Normandie ( hereafter MSAN) vol 30, 1880 pg 673, no 9. It is noteworthy that the consent of Ralph de Fougères was required for this donation.

[10] These are two out of 50 surviving charters of the duke. In the first of these dating 1013-20 Richard gave land in the Cotentin to Marmoutier: the lordship of Helleville, part of Quetteville, a quarter of Biville and a quarter of Héauvile, see Marie Fauroux, Recueil des actes des ducs de Normandie, in MSAN vol 36, 1961 ( hereafter Fauroux)  no 23 pg 108-9.  In the second, dating 1017-1024 Duke Richard gave land in Rots near Caen to Rouen, other witnesses included  Robert king of France and Maugisius Bp of Avranches, see Fauroux  pg 150-1.

[11] Hubert Guillotel, Combour: proto-histoire d’une seigneurie, in KSB Keats Rohan (Ed) Family trees and the roots of politics, Woodbridge 1997 pg 269-98.

[12] Morice  383. Redon cartulary  no 289 fol 138v.

[13] Allenou on pg 32 speculated that is was within the parish of Roz-Landrieuc.

[14] Morice 393-4

[15] Allenou pg 40-1, 62. These pages also reveal that Wihenoc’s possessions in 1181 were in the hands of Alan fitz Brient. Morice 701 confirms that this Alan was descended from the viscounts of Alet,  confirming that his ancestor Brient was the same who was son of  Inoguen of Dol. See also F Duine. La Métropole de Bretagne, Paris 1916, pg 8. It is probable that these lands were bestowed by Archbishop John of Dol on his kinsmen after they were surrendered by Wihenoc.

[16] Arthur de la Borderie. Origines de la ville de Dinan, in Revue de Bretagne, de Vendée et d’Anjou

( hereafter RBVA) 1891 pt 1 pg 255-277.

[17] As suggested by Borderie in the previous reference.

[18] Dom Hyacinthe Morice Histoire ecclésiastique et civile de Bretagne, vol 1, Paris, 1742 vol 1

 ( hereafter Morice Hist) pg 62.

[19] Morice Hist  pg 976, and pedigrees xvii, xx. Du Paz in fact invented a third son of Conan called Juhel of which there is no trace in the historical record, but his recording of the name of Wihenoc’s father may well be based on lost evidence. In 992 viscount Wihenoc made a gift to Mont-Saint-Michel with his wife Allarun ( sister of Alan Cagnard Count of Cornouaille) and his sons Josselin, Maingui, and Tutgual, see Keats Rohan 2006 no 22 and pg 223-4. The succession of Wihenoc’s son Maingui to the see of Vannes in 1066 gives  support to a descent from Juhel bishop of Vannes.

[20] Guillotel  pg 207.

[21] Paula de Fougerolles. Pope Gregory VII, the Archbishopric of Dol and the Normans, in Anglo-Norman Studies vol 21, 1998 ed Harper-Bill, pg 47-66.

[22] The abbeys which benefited were predominantly  Marmoutiers at Tours and the nearby  St-Florent de Saumur.  Adelaide de Fougères founded an abbey at Fougères,  Robert de Vitré an abbey at Vitré (Morice 403-4, 424), and Rivallon of Dol a priory at Combourg, all as cells of Marmoutiers.

[23] Katherine Keats-Rohan, The Bretons and the Norman Conquest, in Domesday People  vol 1 Woodbridge 1999 ( hereafter Keats-Rohan 1999)  chap 3 pg 52.

[24] J Horace Round, Calendar of documents preserved in France ( hereafter CDF), London 1899  no 1172.  and Fauroux no 159. The charter was dated 22nd September. The best fit year would be 1063, when Duke William was actively campaigning in Maine. This was a charter of Duke William to Marmoutiers concerning a dispute between the monks of Le Mans and Marmoutiers.

[25] There is no evidence that Conan drove Rivallon into exile for a second time. At his death Rivallon was still in possession of his castle of Combourg.

[26] David Douglas in William the Conqueror, London 1966, pg 408-415, has dismissed this story as fabulous, but the details of this poisoning are very specific. The main objection to the poisoning is that the necrology of  Chartres commemorates  Conan’s death on December 11th , a date after the battle of Hastings. It has been shown that such dates might be entered when news of death reached a particular monastery, see Speculum vol 61 (2) 1986 pg 437.  Another possibility is that the funeral was delayed and that this is the date of his interment. A good candidate for the poisoner is Aubrey de Vere. He can be placed in the entourage of Conan on a visit to Tours, had links with Normandy, participated in the conquest of England, and was well rewarded by King William. Intriguingly, Henry I made Aubrey II de Vere his chamberlain, supporting the possibility that his father might have served Conan in the same capacity, q.v. the creation of  Walter son of Alan fitz Flaald as seneschal of Scotland, perhaps with the encouragment of Henry I of England.  

[27] Abbé Guillotin de Corson, Combour, in Mémoires de la Société Archéologique du départment d’Ille-et-Vilaine ( hereafter MSAIV) vol 28, 1899 pg 106-109.  Morice 425. The witnesses at Combourg included John of Laval, those at Chateaubriant included Geoffrey and Tehel sons of Brient and Brient son of Tehel.  John of Laval was son of Guy of Laval, whose  donations to Marmoutiers were confirmed by Duke William of Normandy and witnessed by Rivallon of Dol on  22nd Sept 1063/4.

[28] This was in the time of the previous abbot, Albert ( 1034-64). The charter is printed in New Eng Hist and Gen Reg 1962 vol 116 p 21-26, and in  Dom Martene Histoire de l’Abbaye de Marmoutier pt 2, titres pg 241.

[29] Arthur de la Borderie, Fondation du Prieuré de Saint-Pern. Nantes 1887, pg 12. This charter was based on a 17th century extract from the lost chartulary of St Nicholas in the Bibliothèque Nationale Paris, ms franc 22.329 vol 45 pg 530. It is possible that frater might have been mis-transcribed as pater in the 17th century, but there clearly were two Hatos, father and son, the former appearing possibly as early as 1014, the latter still living in 1086.

[30] Keats-Rohan 2006 pg 221, citing Archives Ille-et Vilaine IF 510.

[31] To the butlership  was attached the seigneury of Chesnaye-au-bouteiller , see Allenou  pg 64. Lands attached to the stewardship included those at La Fresnaye, northwest of Dol held by Jordan son of Alan in 1130, see Allenou pg 15. In 1076-82 Alan son of Flaald had rights to the advowson of Cuguen in the lordship of Combourg, but this presumably came from Rivallon of Dol, see Morice 492.

[32] Keats-Rohan 2006 no 18 and notes pg 219-221. This charter was also ratified by Conan II and by Archbishop Juhel.

[33] Morice 492.

[34] Morice 486, omits any mention of Alan, this information comes from Round pg 122-3.

[35] RBVA 1871 pt 1 pg 407-8.

[36] Allenou pg 15 footnote and CDF 1220.

[37] Borderie vol 3 pg 26-7.

[38] Morice  433-4. The initial approach was through Milo Cardinal Archbishop of Benevento who may have met Abbot William in Paris. The cardinal was elected in 1074 and died on 23rd February 1076. The siege of Dol took place in September 1076.

[39] Augustin du Paz. Histoire genealogique de plusieurs maisons illustrés de Bretagne. Paris 1619 pg 500, Borderie vol 3 pg 13. Geoffrey was a bastard son of Duke Alan III.

[40] Morice 433-4.

[41] Keats-Rohan 2006 pg 221, citing Archives Maine-et-Loir H3713 fol 86v-87r. The source has been transcribed in Morice  433 as the knight Hameto. That this was in fact Hato is confirmed by the 1086 confirmation.  Miniac is close to both to Plouasne and  to the abbey of St Pern to which Hato and his brother Flaald the steward made a donation.

[42] H Guillotel, Une famille Bretone au service du Conquérant: Les Baderon. Droit privé et institutions régionales. Etudes historiques offertes à Jean Yver, Rouen 1976 pg 361-7. Citing Morice op cit 412-3.

[43] Allenou  pg 52.

[44] Keats Rohan 1999 pg 487-8.

[45] CDF no 1134. Wihenoc gave lands in Siddington, Tibberton and Cirencester. Further donations of Baderon were recorded in a separate charter, for which see Bibliotheque de L’ecole des chartes vol xl, 1879, no 15 pg 177.

[46] M Paul de la Bigne Villeneuve. Cartulaire de l’Abbaye de Saint-Georges de Rennes  MSAIV vol 9, 1875 pg 251. The charter is here incorrectly dated 1040. Epiniac and La Boussac are both south of Dol.

[47] RWD Fenn . A history of the Benedictine Priory of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Florent at Monmouth, the early years of the priory. Aberystwyth 2002, pg 10.

[48] CDF no 1133.

[49] CDF no 1135. HWC Davis Regesta regum Anglo-Normannorum vol 1, Oxford 1913 ( hereafter RRAN vol 1) cites this charter twice, first of all at no 46 dating it impossibly. 1069-70, and secondly at no 225, with the correct date range.

[50] CDF no 1117, December 26th 1083.

[51] Pierre Marchegay. Les prieurés anglais de Saint-Florent près Saumur, Bibliotheque de l’Ecole des chartes vol xl  Paris 1879 ( hereafter Marchegay 1879) nos 3+4  pg 165-7, and CDF no 1120 and 1131.

[52] CDF no 1121

[53] Marchegay 1879 no 31 pg 192, CDF no 1150.  The date of 12th March 1100 when it was entered into the pancarte cannot be the date of signing as another witness was Ivo Taillbois, another oponent of Ralph de Gael, who died circa 1093.  The Andover charter is RRAN vol 1 no 687.

[54] CDF nos 1136+1138.

[55] Marchegay 1879, no 13 pg 176.

[56] Marchegay 1879 no 30 pg 191. and CDF no 1149. A charter which he witnessed together with Rivallon, a familiar of the monks, and Rivallon the foreignor, who witnessed a gift of Alan fitz Flaald to Castle Acre Priory, see British Library ms Harley 2110 fol 20.

[57] Morice  439.

[58] Keats-Rohan 2006  pg 243.

[59] Thomas Forester, The ecclesiastical history of England and Normandy by Orderic Vitalis, London 1853, vol 3 pg 99. Alan as steward witnessed various charters, the two most significant being as follows: Firstly  in 1092 he witnessed  the gift of Ralph de Fougères of the church of St Mary in the castle of Fougères to Marmoutiers, see Bulletin Archéologique de l’Association  Bretanne vol 3, 1851 no 7 pg 191, and Morice 423. Secondly in 1093-96 he witnessed in Brittany a gift of Count Stephen of Richmond to St Mary’s Abbey York. In it he was explicitly stated as being steward of the Archbishop of Dol. The reason for this was that the charter was also  signed by Roland Archbishop of Dol, as well as by a monk of Mont St Michel, see CT Clay. Early Yorkshire Charters vol 4, Edinburgh 1915,  no 4 pg 34-36.

[60] C Johnson & HA Cronne RRAN vol 2, Oxford 1956, nos 547+548. and Christopher Harper-Bill (Ed) English Episcopal Acta, Norwich 1070-1214, Oxford 1990 ( hereafter Harper-Bill) nos 11 and 12.

[61] Harper-Bill  no 11.

[62] Katherine Keats Rohan. Domesday Descendants, Woodbridge 2002, pg 886-7. At the time of Domesday it was held by Rainald de Balliol as step father of Hugh, then in his minority.

[63] RW Eyton. Antiquities of Shropshire 12 vols, London 1854-60  vol 7 pg 240. The Fitzalan fee in 1166 consisted of 5 fees in Norfolk, 14 knight’s fees and 34 muntator’s fees in Shropshire and Staffordshire ( the total being equivalent to 39 knight’s fees) plus 8.5 fees in Wiltshire from the Hesding inheritance which also gave 3 fees in Gloucestershire.

[64] William Dugdale Monasticon Anglicanum, London 1817, vol 4  pg 17 no vi ;  HA Cronne & RHC Davis RRAN vol 3, Oxford 1968  no 762 and preface xxviii.

[65] CDF no 722.

[66] RRAN vol 2  no 1051. Eyton’s contention that Alan died before 1114, based on a misreading of the Burton Cartulary, is not correct, see Round pg 128-31. He was certainly dead by 1121,when his widow Avelina settled a claim concerning her dower lands, see RRAN 2 no 1284.

[67] Richard E Barton, Lordship in the County of Maine c 890-1160, Woodbridge 2004, pg 87.

[68] Marchegay. Chartes Mancelles de L’Abbaye de St Florent près Saumur 848-1200 in Revue historique et archéologique du Maine vol 3, 1878, pg 355-7. Geoffrey Martel Count of Anjou was in effective control of  Maine by 1049, having invaded Maine as a result of this very marriage. In 1051 on the death of Hugh IV of Maine the citizens of Le Mans opened their gates to Geoffrey of Anjou  who thus gained effective control of most of the county.

[69] Marchegay 1878 op cit pg 357-9.Tazay is probably Tasse, south west of Le Mans, Courcillon is Dissay sur Courcillon south east of Le Mans in the direction of Tours.

[70] Menjot d’Elbenne. Cartulaire de l’Abbaye de Saint-Vincent du Mans, Mamers 1886, no 312 pg 187.

Pedigree of the Breton ancestors of the House of Stewart
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