Alain le Roux, Count of Brittany (Earl of Richmond)

November 24, 2010 by Mercedes Rochelle | Filed under General Topics.

Alain le Roux (c. 1040–1094) is one of my favorite historical characters who seems to have been relatively important in his time, but nobody seems to have heard of him.  Why do I like him so much?  Well, as I see it he went with  the flow (so to speak), amassed an incredible fortune (according to Wikipedia, at the time of his death he was worth around $166.9 billion, the equivalent of 7% of England’s national income.  Forbes placed him 9th in the list of most wealthy historical figures) and modestly did his thing, managing to keep King William happy as well as historians.

Alain – called le Roux because of his red beard – hits  the historical stage around the time of the Norman Conquest.  He was in charge of the Breton contingent, a sizeable part of William’s invasion force.  If you recall, the Breton wing of the Norman army at the Battle of Hastings nearly lost the day: they were the first to panic and flee from the ferocity of the Saxons.  For a moment all was in chaos, then many of the inexperienced Saxon fyrd broke the shield wall and pursued the Bretons.  However, William rallied his men and cut off the Saxons from the rest of the army, wiping them out to a man.  Seeing the success of the maneuver, William instructed the Bretons to do it a couple of times more throughout the battle, with great success.

After William become king he rewarded his supporters with grants of land and titles.  Alain was created the first Earl of Richmond, and a Norman keep stands on the site of his original castle overlooking the River Swale. In 1069, during the great Harrying of the North after the insurrection of Durham, Alain was the man William appointed to do the job.  By the end of his career, he had amassed over 250,000 acres in land grants.  Yet he is said to have died childless and his estate was inherited by his brother Alain le Noir (so- called because of his black beard).

Early in my research for my upcoming novel,  “Heir to a Prophecy” I unearthed a story that my protagonist Walter actually went to Brittany and married Alain’s daughter, later taking her to Scotland and the court of Malcolm III where he was a favorite.  Although this is probably apocryphal, I did recently find an anecdote that makes me wonder if it could be true.

Just the other day I was reading the book “The House of Godwine: The History of a Dynasty” (by Emma Mason) which was written 5 years ago.  Four pages from the end, the author states that King Malcolm planned to marry his daughter Edith to Count Alan the Red in 1093 (she was in the Wilton nunnery at the time), and King William Rufus forbid the union, causing Malcolm to storm out of the royal court. Now, why would Malcolm care about Alain unless there was some sort of connection between them (Walter)?

Even more interesting (to me, that is), instead of Malcolm’s daughter, Alain actually took a fancy to another important novice at Wilton: Gunhild, daughter of Harold Godwineson and Edith Swanneck.  At the same time Malcolm took his daughter out of Wilton, Alain removed Gunhild (by then well into her 30s) and brought her to live with him…on the very estates he had taken over from her wealthy mother after Hastings.  When Alain died around 1094, Gunhild stayed and became the partner of Alain’s brother Le Noir, who succeeded to the estates.  What did she have to lose, after all?


348 Responses to “Alain le Roux, Count of Brittany (Earl of Richmond)”

  1. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    The Seven Founder Saints of Brittany were missionaries who had received training in Wales and/or Ireland.

    They were:

    “Paol Aoreliann, at Saint-Pol-de-Léon (Breton: Kastell-Paol);
    Tudwal, at Tréguier (Breton: Landreger);
    Brieg, at Saint-Brieuc (Breton: Sant-Brieg, Gallo: Saent-Berioec);
    Maloù, at Saint-Malo (Breton: Sant-Maloù, Gallo: Saent-Malô);
    Samsun of Dol, at Dol-de-Bretagne (Breton: Dol, Gallo: Dóu);
    Padarn, at Vannes (Breton: Gwened);
    Kaourintin, at Quimper (Breton: Kemper).”

    “Saint Tudwal (died c. 564) was a monk, said to be a son of [the Breton leader] Hoel Mawr (Hoel I) [who appears in early tales as King Arthur’s kinsman and ally]. Tudwal travelled to Ireland to learn the scriptures, then became a hermit on what is now called Saint Tudwal’s Island East off North Wales. Tudwal later emigrated to Brittany, settling in Lan Pabu with 72 followers, where he established a large monastery at Landreger (Lann-Dreger) in the province of Bro-Dreger under the patronage of his cousin, King Deroch of Domnonée [Dumnonea]. Tudwal was made Bishop of Tréguier on the insistence of Childebert I, King of the Franks.

    Tudwal is shown in iconography as a bishop holding a dragon, now the symbol of Tregor. His feast day is celebrated on 1 December.”

    The geographic collocation of the Tweeds with towns controlled by Alan Rufus and the similarity of their name with that of Saint Tudwal of Tregor, where Alan’s heir Stephen was Count, is suggestive but inconclusive. The Tweeds trace back to the 1400s in England, but what of the three centuries before that? Their purported descent from the Tweedies of Scotland is sparse in detail for several generations in the transitional period, so it may be in error, in particular the Cambridge/Suffolk/Essex Tweeds may have dwelt in England much earlier. Tellingly, a Suffolk Tweed informed me that the Cambridge and Suffolk Tweeds have been genealogically separate for the whole period; this suggests an earlier branching than 1400, and within that region of England.

  2. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    The Gallo and Breton languages have both had some input into English. The town of Firby in Richmondshire was called Fredebi in Old English (Fritheby and Frethby in Middle English), and Gallicised (transformed by the influence of Gallo through Alan Rufus’s heirs) into Early Modern English as Firby.

    Breton words that are immediately recognisable include: dor (door), bank, olifant (used by Tolkien as an antique spelling of elephant), sarpant (serpent), kastell (castle), park, per (pear).

    Speaking of castles, I recently read that the first stone castle in “Norman” England was built under Alan Rufus’s instructions – this was some years before Richmond.

  3. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Bishop Odo of Bayeux, Roger of Montgomery, Geoffrey de Mandeville and other mighty barons who for long were far better known than Count Alan Rufus, have been described as “great magnates”. So that we can be clear about the relative scale of their holdings, I’ve compiled the following data from the Domesday Book Map website.

    Landholders in England with over 100 listings in the Domesday book of 1086:

    King William 5369
    Robert de Mortain 1385 (half was Count Brian’s)
    Count Alan of Brittany 1017
    Bishop Odo of Bayeux 778
    Roger Bigot 692
    Robert Malet 617
    Hugh d’Avranches 561
    William of Warenne 537
    Richard de Tonbridge 418
    Roger de Montgomery 397
    Bishop Geoffrey of Coutances 355
    Countess Judith (of Lens) 315 (Earl Waltheof’s widow)
    Ralph of Mortimer 269
    William de Percy 267
    Hugh de Montfort 248
    Geoffrey de Mandeville 212
    Count Eustace of Boulogne 211
    Robert Count of Eu 166
    Walter Giffard 165
    Geoffrey of La Guerche 147
    Walter of Aincourt 136
    Robert of Tosny 131
    Robert de Beaumont 121
    Berengar of Tosny 108
    William of Eu 104

    • That is so interesting! Thanks for the info. I stumbled across the richest 25 men of all time this morning, though I believe you mentioned this already:

      The 25 Richest People of All Time
      #1 Mansa Musa I – Net Worth $400 Billion
      #2 The Rothschild Family – $350 Billion
      #3 John D. Rockefeller – Net Worth $340 Billion
      #4 Andrew Carnegie – Net Worth $310 Billion
      #5 Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov – Net Worth $300 Billion
      #6 Mir Osman Ali Khan – Net Worth $230 billion
      #7 William The Conqueror – Net Worth $229.5 Billion
      #8 Muammar Gaddafi – Net Worth $200 Billion
      #9 Henry Ford – Net Worth $199 Billion
      #10 Cornelius Vanderbilt – Net Worth $185 Billion
      #11 Alan Rufus – $178.65 billion
      #12 Bill Gates – Net Worth $136 Billion
      #13 William de Warenne – Net Worth $147.13 Billion
      #14 John Jacob Astor – Net Worth $121 Billion
      #15 Richard Fitzalan 10th Earl of Arundel – Net Worth $118.6 Billion
      #16 John of Gaunt – Net Worth $110 Billion
      #17 Stephen Girard – Net Worth $105 Billion
      #18 A.T. Stewart – Net Wort $90 Billion
      #19 Henry Duke of Lancaster – Net Worth $85.1 Billion
      #20 Friedrich Weyerhauser – Net Worth $80 Billion
      #21 Jay Gould – Net Worth $71 Billion
      #22 Carlos Slim Helu – Net Worth $68 Billion
      #22 Stephen Van Rensselaer – Net Worth $68 Billion
      #23 Marshall Field – Net Worth $66 Billion
      #24 Sam Walton – Net Worth $65 Billion
      #25 Warren Buffett – Net Worth $64 Billion

      Glad to see our Alain is still making news!

  4. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    The Western Emperor, Magnus Flavius Clemens Maximus (reigned 383 – 388) was well-regarded by his troops and subjects, especially by the British, and is still remembered fondly by Welsh and Bretons alike.

    A coin of his, for which see
    http://wildwinds.com/coins/ric/magnus_maximus/i.html, depicts him with a gently beaming face, most unlike the stern look of most emperors.

    It reminds me of the cheerful expression in paintings of Alan Rufus, who, according to Breton genealogies, was a descendant of this emperor.

  5. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Number 15 on the richest list, Richard FitzAlan 10th Earl of
    Arundel (c. 1306 – 24 January 1376), is pertinent to your
    Scottish interests, as he, like the Royal Stewarts, is
    descended in the male line from the Breton Alan FitzFlaad
    (1070-1114).

    Alan FitzFlaad, with his father Flaad, was invited over to
    England by King Henry I some time between his coronation in
    1100 and 1101 when Flaad witnessed the grant of Monmouth
    Priory to the Abbey of St Florent at Saumur in the Pays de la
    Loire (Breton: Broioù al Liger).

    Saumur is a site of historic and modern interest for many
    reasons, e.g. Coco Chanel was born there in 1883.

    Alan FitzFlaad’s children, in order of birth, included:

    William (died 1160), ancestor of the Earls of Arundel;

    Walter, who became the first hereditary Steward of Scotland;

    Jordan, who inherited lands in Brittany and at Burton in
    West Sussex;

    Simon, who witnessed Walter’s Foundation Charter of Paisley
    Abbey in Scotland.

    Stewardship was in the family, as Flaad’s father Alan was in
    1086 the Dapifer (Steward) of the Archbishop of Dol in north-
    east Brittany. This Alan went on crusade in 1097.

    One begins to get a sense of how exclusive and interbred were
    the leading Norman and Breton families of England, by
    considering Richard FitzAlan’s pedigree:

    “He was born 1306 in Sussex, the eldest son of Edmund
    FitzAlan, 9th Earl of Arundel, and his wife Alice de Warenne.
    His maternal grandparents were William de Warenne and Joan de
    Vere. William was the only son of John de Warenne, 6th Earl of
    Surrey (son of Maud Marshal by her second marriage) and his
    wife Alice le Brun de Lusignan (died 1356), half-sister of
    Henry III of England.” (wikipedia)

    Alice le Brun de Lusignan, Countess of Surrey (1224 – 9
    February 1256) was related to numerous nobles in England,
    Scotland, Brittany, France and Germany. In Scotland, her
    descendants included members of the MacDuff and Balliol
    families.

  6. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Alan’s heirs retained, indeed grew, their power into the reign of King Stephen (1092/6 – 25 October 1154, reigned 1135-1154), whom they supported during the Anarchy. Stephen, Count of Tréguier, who inherited all the family’s possessions, passed his English lands to his 3rd son, Alan of Penthièvre (before 1100 – 15 September 1146), who was the first official Earl of Richmond. In gratitude for his support, King Stephen returned his uncle Brian’s lands to him and made him 1st Earl of Cornwall, so this Alan may have held about 2000 manors across the west, east and north of England.

    Unfortunately for Alan Penteur, King Stephen’s rival, Empress Matilda (c. 7 February 1102 – 10 September 1167), the elder child and heir of King Henry I and Edith/Matilda of Scotland, had some very competent generals, especially her half-brother Robert of Gloucester, and (sometimes) his son-in-law Ranulf de Gernon, 4th Earl of Chester, who took the first opportunity to seize Alan’s possessions in Cornwall.

  7. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Robert of Caen, 1st Earl of Gloucester (before 1100 – 31 October 1147), was son of King Henry I and an uncertain mother: one candidate is Nest ferch Rhys, daughter of the Welsh prince Rhys ap Tewdwr, though Orderic Vitalis said Robert’s mother was Sybil Corbet.

    Robert Fitzhamon, who had defeated Rhys in 1090, was succeeded by his daughter Mabel. She married Robert of Caen in June 1119 at Lisieux. Mabel brought him the substantial honours of Gloucester in England and Glamorgan in Wales, and the honours of Sainte-Scholasse-sur-Sarthe and Évrecy in Normandy, as well as Creully in Calvados in Normandy.

    Robert was proposed by some as a candidate for the throne, but declined in favour of his half-sister Empress Matilda.

    Robert has many descendants; one daughter, Matilda (Maud) FitzRobert (died 1190), married in 1141 Ranulf de Gernon, 4th Earl of Chester.

  8. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Another of King Henry I’s 20 illegitimate children whom he acknowledged, Maud FitzRoy, married Conan III Duke of Brittany, son of Duke Alan IV and thus Alan Rufus’s first cousin. Maud’s and Conan’s daughter and heir Bertha was the wife of Alan the 1st Earl of Richmond; their son was Duke Conan IV (born 1138).

    King Stephen’s mother was Adela, daughter of Adelaide, King Wolliam I’s sister. His wife was Matilda of Boulogne (1105? – 3 May 1152), whose mother was Mary, daughter of King Malcolm III of Scotland and Saint Margaret of Scotland.

    Yes, Mary was the younger sister of Edith/Matilda who married King Henry I. Thus, King Stephen’s wife Matilda was first cousin to Empress Matilda who contended with Stephen for the throne.

  9. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Some parents in the middle ages could have used more imagination in naming their children.

    Empress Matilda was the daughter of Matilda of Scotland, the granddaughter of Matilda of Flanders, and the cousin of Queen Matilda of England.

    She was also the daughter of King Henry I of England, widow of the German Emperor Henry V, and mother of King Henry II of England.

    Her epitaph in Rouen Cathedral (whither it was transferred in 1847 from the Abbey of Bec-Hellouin) reads, amusingly: “Great by Birth, Greater by Marriage, Greatest in her Offspring: Here lies Matilda, the daughter, wife, and mother of Henry.”

  10. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Sorry, let me get the relationships between Alan Rufus and the Dukes Conan right. Alan Rufus’s father Eozen was the younger brother of Duke Alan III. Alan III married Bertha of Blois.

    (Bertha of Blois’s brother Theobald III was father of Stephen II Henry, whose son was King Stephen of England.)

    Alan III and Bertha of Blois had a son, Duke Conan II (who died of poisoning on 11 December 1066 while conquering his way across northern France in a cunningly circuitous, but publicly announced, plan to take Normandy while William I was busy in England). They also had a daughter, Duchess Hawise of Brittany (c. 1037 – August 19, 1072) who married Count Hoel of Cornouaille (Breton: Kerne).

    So Duke Conan II and Duchess Hawise were first cousins of Count Alan Rufus, Count Alan Niger, Count Brian, and Count Stephen of Treguier.

    Hawise’s and Hoel’s son was Duke Alan IV “Fergant” (the Strong) (died 13 October 1119).

    So Duke Alan IV was 2nd cousin to Count Stephen’s son Alan Penteur 1st Earl of Richmond.

    In 1087, Duke Alan IV married Constance, “the most highly gifted” daughter of William the Conqueror. Constance died, childless, in 1090, so in 1093 Alan IV married Ermengarde of Anjou; they had 3 children, including Duke Conan III.

    Conan III married Maud FitzRoy (a daughter of King Henry I). Their daughter was the Duchess of Brittany, Bertha of Cornouaille (born circa 1114, died 1156) who married Alan Penteur 1st Earl of Richmond, who, if I’ve counted correctly, was her grandfather’s second cousin.

    One of Alan Penteur’s 4 illegitimate sons was Bryan FitzAlan, progenitor of the Lords of Bedale in Richmondshire.

  11. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Duke Conan IV Penteur (1138 – February 20, 1171), son of Alan Penteur and Duchess Bertha, brought the Scots into the picture again by marrying Margaret of Huntingdon (1145–1201), sister of Kings Malcolm IV (between 23 April and 24 May 1141 – 9 December 1165) and William I “the Lion” (c 1143 – 4 December 1214).

    Another brother of hers was David of Scotland, Earl of Huntingdon (c. 1144 – 17 June 1219), who married Mathilda (Maud) of Chester (1171 – 6 January 1233) who was the eldest daughter of Earl Hugh de Kevelioc, son and heir of the Ranulf de Gernon who had taken Alan Penteur’s lands in Cornwall, so perhaps the families had patched up their differences.

    Margaret’s parents were Henry the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon and Earl of Northumbria (died 1152) and Ada de Warenne (Adeline de Varenne) (c. 1120–1178).

  12. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    A Robert (Robin) Earl of Huntingdon is identified with Robin Hood in 2 Elizabethan plays by Anthony Munday: “The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntington” and “The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington”.

    In reality, David of Scotland, Earl of Huntingdon and his wife Matilda of Chester had 7 children, several of whom are historically significant.

    Margaret of Huntingdon (c. 1194 – c. 1228), married Alan (yet another Alan!), Lord of Galloway in south-west Scotland, by whom she had two daughters, including Dervorguilla of Galloway. (This Margaret of Huntingdon was the niece of Conan IV’s wife of the same name, and thus a cousin of Conan’s daughter, the Duchess Constance of Brittany.)

    Robert of Huntingdon (died young).

    Ada of Huntingdon, married Sir Henry de Hastings, by whom she had one son, Henry de Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings. The Hastings family currently hold the title of Earl of Huntingdon.

    Matilda (Maud) of Huntingdon (-aft.1219, unmarried).

    Isobel of Huntingdon (1199–1251), married Robert Bruce, 4th Lord of Annandale, by whom she had two sons, including Robert de Brus, 5th Lord of Annandale. It’s through this descent that Robert the Bruce claimed the throne of Scotland.

    John of Scotland, Earl of Huntingdon (1207 – 6 June 1237), married the Welsh princess Elen ferch Llywelyn (named after Elen the wife of the emperor Magnus Maximus). John succeeded his uncle Ranulf as Earl of Chester in 1232, but died childless.

    Henry of Huntingdon (died young).

  13. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Duchess Constance of Brittany married Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany and Earl of Richmond (23 September 1158 – 19 August 1186), the fourth son of King Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189) and Eleanor Duchess of Aquitaine (1122 or 1124 – 1 April 1204).

    King Richard I (8 September 1157 – 6 April 1199) was fond of Geoffrey and Constance, so he named Geoffrey as his heir, but Geoffrey died in a jousting accident. Richard then named Geoffrey and Constance’s son Arthur (29 March 1187 – 3 April 1203) as heir.

    On King Richard’s deathbed, he allegedly passed the throne to his brother John (24 December 1166 – 18/19 October 1216). John fought and captured Arthur, who died mysteriously in John’s castle in Rouen which was under the charge of William de Braose.

    According to Wikipedia, the Margam annals provide the following account of Arthur’s death:

    “After King John had captured Arthur and kept him alive in prison for some time, at length, in the castle of Rouen, after dinner on the Thursday before Easter, when he was drunk and possessed by the devil [‘ebrius et daemonio plenus’], he slew him with his own hand, and tying a heavy stone to the body cast it into the Seine. It was discovered by a fisherman in his net, and being dragged to the bank and recognized, was taken for secret burial, in fear of the tyrant, to the priory of Bec called Notre Dame de Pres.” (See Bec Abbey).

    Years later, “William de Braose’s wife Maud personally and directly accused John of murdering Arthur, which resulted in Maud and her eldest son, also William, being imprisoned and allegedly starved to death in Corfe Castle in Dorset”.

    Arthur’s death did John great harm, for Brittany quickly rebelled, followed by Normandy, Anjou, Maine, and even John’s mother’s Eleanor’s home province of Aquitaine. All the rest of his possessions on the Continent were lost by the next year, 1204.

    Thus all the English barons lost their ancestral lands in France; their increasing dismay with his despotic and incompetent rule eventually led to their confronting John and making him sign the Magna Carta in June 1215.

  14. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Since the Rothschild family are #2 on the rich list, it’s fair to consider that William the Conqueror and Alan Rufus are also members of the same family (having 4 out of 8 great-grandparents in common).

    Putting William’s and Alan’s wealth together is sufficient to put their family in first place.

    Add their siblings, half-siblings and other cousins who were also among the great magnates of post-1066 England, Brittany and France, and their family towers high above all other contenders.

  15. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    What happened to all that Breton wealth over the succeeding centuries? It grew!

    Tracing the senior lines of descent from Stephen Count of Treguier down through the 1400s to the 1600s, one finds the Medicis, Borgias and the Kings and Dukes of France, Germany, Spain, Austria and Naples eyeing the “vast fortune” that had been handed down over many generations to members of the Breton soverign house.

    So marriages were arranged.

    How did this fabulously wealthy family grow their fortune? Unlike so many royal houses, it wasn’t by plunder, because they had no empire. It was surely by trade: exploiting their strategic location, on the trade routes between Britain, Germany, France and Spain, just as the northern Italian city-states of Venice, Genoa, Pisa, Florence and others became astonishingly rich by concentrating on their trade advantages, sound economics and adroit investment.

    Henry IV King of France passed through a border town of Brittany and was deeply impressed by its wealth, remarking that, were he not already King of France, he would wish to be a “bourgeois” in that town.

  16. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    How was their money spent?

    Some of it went into the creation of artistic works during the Renaissance. Here I’ll mention just one.

    The Rosenberg family (who were leading antique art dealers and collectors in France prior to WW2 and who wisely fled before the Holocaust) recently donated their “Crown Jewel”, a magnificant “Book of Hours”, to the Morgan Library and Museum at 225 Madison Avenue, New York.

    “The Prayer Book of Claude de France (MS M.1166) is the gift of Mrs. Alexandre P. Rosenberg in memory of her husband Alexandre Paul Rosenberg, 2008.”

    Claude Queen of France (1494–1547) (as consort of King Francois the First since 1515) was the elder daughter of Duchess Anne of Brittany (who was also Queen of France to successive kings).

    That sort of investment is meritorious, if classically indulgent for merchant princes and royalty who wanted to be remembered well.

  17. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Jean de Brosse (English: John Brush) (1375–1433), born in Huriel in Allier in central France, made Marshal of France, is a remarkable figure of the Hundred Years’ War, with a connection to Alan Rufus.

    Since the French Crown was impoverished, he paid for the army himself. “He resorted to selling off his crockery, silver, and his wife’s jewelry. He also freed the inhabitants of Boussac from his rule, in exchange for money.”

    He persuaded King Charles VII to accept Joan of Arc’s offer to assist in the relief of Orleans, and fought beside her in that victory.

    When Joan was captured at Compiegne, he urged the king to rescue her, but the king refused. So John de Brosse ruined himself raising an army of 4000, liberated Compiegne from the English, only to find Joan had been moved to Rouen. When Joan was burnt at the stake on 30 May 1431, he attempted to capture Rouen to avenge her, but failed. He returned to Boussac to learn that his wife had died, and remained there in sorrow until his death in 1433.

    Due to his great debts, “his creditors threatened to have him excommunicated postmortem, and [to disperse] his mortal remains”. Shamed, the king raised funds to repay de Brosse’s creditors.

    Impoverished, what would happen to the next generation of the de Brosse family?

  18. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    More grateful to John de Brosse than the King was, a member of the Breton sovereign house saved his family from poverty.

    On 18 June 1437, four years after John de Brosse’s death, his son John II de Brosse (1432 – 6 August 1482), married Nicole de Blois-Chatillon, Countess of Penthievre and heiress to a “vast fortune” grown from a portion of Alan Rufus’s wealth.

    In 1449 John II was made Chamberlain to the King of France.

  19. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    This portion of Alan Rufus’s fortune passed down to Elisabeth de Bourbon and thence to many royal families. Here is the descent, generation by generation:

    Jean I de Brosse (Marshal of France) & Jeanne de Naillac

    Jean II de Brosse & Nicole de Blois-Chatillon (Countess of Penthievre)

    Jean III de Brosse (Count of Penthievre) & Louise de Laval (daughter of Guy XIV de Laval and Isabelle de Dreux)

    Rene de Brosse (Rene de Bretagne, Count of Penthievre) married Jeanne de Commines (daughter of Philippe de Commines)

    Jean IV de Brosse (Count of Penthievre and duke of Étampes) married Anne de Pisseleu d’Heilly (the mistress of Francis I of France)

    Sebastien de Luxembourg, duke of Penthièvre, nephew and heir of Jean IV de Brosse

    Marie de Luxembourg (1562–1623), Duchesse de Penthièvre married Philippe Emmanuel de Lorraine, Duke of Mercœur (9 September 1558, Nomeny, Meurthe-et-Moselle – 19 February 1602, Nürnberg)

    Françoise de Lorraine (November 1592 – 8 September 1669, Paris), Duchess of Mercœur and Penthièvre, “the greatest heiress of her time” married César de Bourbon, Légitimé de France (3 June 1594 – 22 October 1665) (a legitimised son of King Henry IV of France & his mistress Gabrielle d’Estrées)

    [Note: “The House of Lorraine, the main and now only remaining line known as Habsburg-Lorraine, is one of the most important and was one of the longest-reigning royal houses in the history of Europe. Currently the house is headed by Karl Habsburg-Lothringen, the titular Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Galicia and Lodomeria, Illyria, as well as the titular King of Jerusalem.”]

    Élisabeth de Bourbon (August 1614 – 19 May 1664), an ancestor of both Louis XV of France and Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia and also of many European Royals.

  20. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Alan Rufus’s heirs used his fortune wisely for many things. I’ve made brief mention of a few ways in which it enriched the Church as well as Renaissance art in England, France and Italy. In Brittany, it produced some masterworks of Renaissance architecture, about which I look forward to writing on another occasion. In addition, it was used to promote education.

    Marie de Pol de Chatillon (about 1303 to 1377) wife of Aymer Valence the 2nd Earl of Pembroke, was a 6th great grand-daughter of Stephen Count of Treguier, being the daughter of Marie Countess of St Pol in Brittany and her husband Guy 3rd de Chatillon the Count of St Pol and Grand Bouteiller of France.

    In England, Marie de Pol is remembered as the foundress in 1347 of the Hall of Marie Valence at the University of Cambridge. This is the Hall now called Pembroke College.

  21. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    At this site,

    http://www.iankitching.me.uk/history/cam/as-cam.html

    which references the Domesday Book, we get a brief mention of Alan Rufus’s activities as Tenant-in-Chief at Cambridge.

    “Picot [de Saye, notorious Sheriff of Cambridgeshire] created 3 mills on common land, 2 in the Borough, and destroyed many houses; the Abbot of Ely and Count Alan [Rufus] also created mills.”

  22. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Marie de Pol de Chatillon was buried at Denny Abbey in 1377. According to Wikipedia:

    “Denny Abbey is a former abbey near Waterbeach, six miles (10 km) north of Cambridge in Cambridgeshire, England which was inhabited by a succession of three different religious orders during its history serving as a monastery.

    The site, on an ancient road between Cambridge and Ely, was settled by farmers as early as the Roman period. The Domesday Book recorded that it was owned by Edith the Fair (also known as Swanneck), the consort of King Harold, in 1066 when the Normans invaded England and killed her husband. It was owned subsequently by the Breton lord, Alan, 1st Earl of Richmond.”

  23. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    The Alan just mentioned was Count Alan’s nephew, an ancestor of Marie de Pol.

    “Alan of Penthièvre of Brittany, 1st Earl of Cornwall, 1st Earl of Richmond (before 1100 – 15 September 1146), Breton Alan Penteur, also known as “Alan the Black”, was a Breton noble who fought for Stephen of England. Alan was the third son of Stephen, Count of Tréguier and Hawise de Guingamp.”

  24. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    As for Aymer de Valence:

    “The family arms are still represented on the dexter side of the [Pembroke] college arms. Aymer de Valence was buried in Westminster Abbey, where his tomb can still be seen as a splendid example of late gothic architecture, elaborating on the design of the nearby tomb of Edmund Crouchback.”

  25. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Marriages between the Breton and Norman ducal houses were not only politically valuable at the time: they also provided lines of descent from Charlemagne for subsequent Dukes of Normandy, one of which is shown in the following descent to Stephen of Treguier (and thus to his brother Alan Rufus).

    (Note that “the Honour of Brittany” is the official English title of Alan Rufus and his heirs, which is often referred to as the “Honour of Richmond”, Richmond being his caput (chief manor) in Yorkshire.)

    Charlemagne the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (747 – 814)

    Pepin I King of Italy (777 – 810)
    Son of Charlemagne the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire

    Bernard the King of Italy (797 – 818)
    Son of Pepin I the King of Italy

    Pepin II Count of Vermandois the Count of Peronne (815 – )
    Son of Bernard 797 the King of Italy

    Herbert (or Hubert) I Count of Senlis and Vermandois (848 – 907)
    Son of Pepin II Count of Vermandois the Count of Peronne

    Espriota de Senlis aka Sprota of Brittany (908 – )
    Daughter of Herbert (or Hubert) I Count of Senlis and Vermandois

    Richard I “the Fearless” Duke of Normandy
    Son of Espriota de Senlis aka Sprota of Brittany

    Hawise of Normandy
    Daughter of Richard I “the Fearless” Duke

    Eozen Count of Penteur (Odo Count of Penthievre) (999 – 1079)
    Son of Hawise

    Stephen the Count of Tregor (Treguier), Lord of Goelo, holder of Honour of Brittany de Penthievre (Penteur)

  26. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Googling “Count Alan”, one finds a “Count Alan Road, Skegness, Lincolnshire, PE25 1ER”. Skegness is a seaside resort in the East Lindsey district, on the “coast of the North Sea, 43 miles (69 km) east of the city of Lincoln; it has a total resident population of 18,910”. The town’s origin may be Danish, (its literal meaning is “beard headland”), but curiously the Domesday book has no reference to Skegness.

  27. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Google maps shows that Count Alan Road has the shape
    |_
    |
    and connects Church Lane, Eudo Road (perhaps named after his father), Roberts Grove, Spirewic Avenue, and Lady Matilda’s Drive, and is above Roman Bank (the A52 motorway) which veers toward the coast in that stretch. Plenty of history in those street names!

  28. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    That drawing of Count Alan’s Road didn’t come out right: it’s supposed to be dog’s leg: | then _ continuing to a lower | so I wonder whether it’s possible to insert small pictures in this blog?

  29. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Although “Skegness” is not listed in the text of the Domesday Book, the page http://domesdaymap.co.uk/name/23600/count-alan-of-brittany/ does show him as tenant-in-chief of a location on a site that is now Skegness.

  30. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Tric is the Domesday Book’s name of the location of Alan’s manor near modern Skegness. It’s south of the railway line, the A52 and Lumley Road. (Lumley is the surname of the Earls of Scarborough since 1690.)

  31. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Abbeys associated with Count Alan.

    According to “Religious Patronage in Anglo-Norman England, 1066-1135” by Emma Cownie,

    King William and his wife Matilda granted lands (worth over 65 pounds in 1086) to Bury St Edmunds Benedictine Abbey in Suffolk. Alan Rufus is recorded as giving “many great expenses”, which Ms Cownie interprets as large quantities of cash; other Bretons followed suit, e.g one Reginald donated the village of Lidgate in Suffolk (worth 3 pounds), as did Alan Niger and Stephen of Treguier.

    Alan Rufus was buried in the cemetery outside the south door of the Bury St Edmunds Abbey in Suffolk, whereas Stephen was laid to rest at St Mary’s Benedictine Abbey in the centre of York, which Count Alan had refounded in 1088 for monks from Whitby.

    Until its destruction by Henry VIII, St Mary’s was the richest abbey in the North of England.

    Whereas, the abbey at Bury St Edmunds was one of the richest in the South: in the 1100s it ran the Royal Mint!

    In the 15th to 17th centuries, the Abbot’s House at St Mary’s became the King’s Manor as the centre of government and finance in the North of England.

  32. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    An important line of descent related to the Sovereign House of Brittany is that of the Counts de Porhoet. Porhoet is close to Penthievre, the seat of Eozen father of Count Alan. Both locations are in Brittany’s south coast’s Morbihan district, named after the Gulf of Morbihan (small sea) where the sailors of Vannes fought Julius Caesar’s navy. Of Morbihan, Wikipedia states:

    “The area around the gulf features an extraordinary range of megalithic monuments. There are passage dolmens, stepped pyramids with underground dolmen chambers, stone circles, and giant menhirs, among others. The site best known to outsiders is Carnac, where remains of a dozen rows of huge standing stones run for over ten kilometers. The passage grave of Gavrinis, on a small island in the Gulf, is one of the most important such sites in Europe. Some of the ruins have been dated to at least 3300 BC — 200 years older than England’s Stonehenge.” (Some Carnac stones date to 4500 BC.)

  33. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Correction: Porhoet (La Trinite-Porhoet, Poutrocoet in Breton, meaning land beyond the forest), although in the Departement of Morbihan, is in central Brittany; whereas Penthievre is near the north end of the southward-extending Quiberon peninsula and has a popular beach.

  34. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    According to Wikipedia:

    “The first recognised Vicomte de Porhoet was Guithenoc (about 990-1040), formerly of Guilliers. Guithenoc was born in Guilliers, Moribihan, Brittany, Western France. He married Allurum (994-?) of Guilliers.”

    “He became Vicomte, and in about 1008 he moved to La Trinite, in Porhoet, Morbihan, Brittany.”

    “There he built Castle Josselin, which he named for his son, Josselin (1020–1074). It is still owned by the descendents of Porhoet and is the longest continuously held private estate in the world.”

  35. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Citing Wikipedia again:

    3 of Vicomte Josselin’s 4 sons were surnamed “de Rohan”: Mainguy, Jostho and Roger. Another son was Vicomte Eudes I (1049-?) who married Anne de Leon (1065-?) and had 2 children: Vicomte Geoffrey de Porhoet (1092–1141), and Alan I de Rohan aka Alan la Coche (c. 1093-1150).

    Vicomte Geoffrey de Porhoet married Hawisa Fergant of Brittany (c. 1105-?), daughter of Duke Alan IV Fergant (died 13 October 1119) and Ermengarde of Anjou.

    [Recall that Duke Alan IV was son of Hawise of Rennes (c. 1037 – August 19, 1072) who was Duchess of Brittany as heiress of Duke Alan III (997 – 1 October 1040)) whose parents were Duke Geoffrey I of Brittany (aka Count Geoffrey of Rennes) and Hawise of Normandy the sister of Duke Richard II of Normandy, and whose brother was Count Eozen of Penthievre, father of Counts Alan Rufus and Stephen of Treguier. Thus, all these dukes, counts and viscounts of various “Houses” have common ancestry.]

    Geoffrey and Hawisa had two sons, Vicomte Eudes II Porhoet (1122-?) and Baron Alan III Zouche (1132-?).

    Now, Alan of Penthievre, 1st Earl of Cornwall and 1st Earl of Richmond, 3rd son of Count Alan Rufus’s brother Stephen the Count of Tréguier and his wife Hawise de Guingamp, had married Bertha (1114-1156), elder daughter of Duke Conan III of Brittany (Conan de Cornouaille, aka Conan the Fat) (c. 1093-1096 – September 17, 1148) and his wife Maud, an illegitimate daughter of King Henry I of England. But this Alan died in 1146, so Bertha returned to Brittany.

    On his deathbed, Duke Conan III made Bertha his heir, disinheriting his son Hoel who was made Count of Nantes. In the same year, 1148, Vicomte Eudes II Porhoet married Bertha, and formed an alliance with Hoel.

    Bertha’s sister Constance (1118-?) married Alan, Baron Zouche.

    So the Porhoet family were well-placed to take control of the Duchy.

    However, Conan (1138 – 20 February 1171), the son of Earl Alan and Bertha, claimed his inheritance by defeating uncle Hoel and stepfather Vicomte Eudes II and so became Duke Conan IV of the house of Penthievre.

  36. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    There is a Porhoet descent to King Henry IV of France (King Henry III of Navarre) and thence to King Charles II of England.

    The ruling families of Brittany and of Navarre (capital Pamplona) in the Basque country of Spain intermarried several times. This practice may well extend to prehistoric times because both peoples have similar varieties of DNA (as do the Aquitanians, Welsh, Cornish, Scots and Irish) and sailed the Bay of Biscay.

  37. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    The House of Rohan (see the Wikipedia page) built splendid palaces not only in Brittany, but also in Aquitaine, Paris, Alsace, and even Prague and Vienna.

  38. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Since the Breton sovereign house was related to every French dynasty from the Merwings to the Bourbons, they ranked as “habituated foreign princes” (princes étrangers habitués) in the French aristocracy, placing them on the rung just below the Royal family.
    The Rohans also held the hereditary archbishopric of Strasbourg in Lorraine, so they were also German aristocrats.
    These facts made them prominent targets during the French Revolution, so they went into exile in the Austrian Empire, where they continued to build and renovate palaces.
    For example, in 1820 they bought the small Sychrov fort in the Liberec region in the north of Bohemia. By 1834 they had rebuilt it as a castle. From 1847 to 1862 they reconstructed the building in a romantic neogothic style, with an English-style garden. It is now protected as Czech national cultural heritage.

  39. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Documentation of building works such as Sychrov castle provide an insight into the enduring Breton mind and ways.

    “Sychrov’s reconstruction (1847-1862) was carried out according to the plans of Bernard Grueber, and all works were facilitated by domestic artists and craftsmen.

    The owner paid specific attention to the Castle Park, designed in the English style. The park became a model for the establishment of many now-important arboreta such as in Průhonice and Konopiště.

    During this period, a rare harmonising of the castle exterior, interior, and the park was accomplished.

    During the late 1920s/early 1930s, the castle interior was renovated. Especially valuable are the interior carvings by Petr Bušek, who worked in the castle for 38 years.

    The castle boasts a collection of around 250 portraits of the Rohans, related families, and French kings. It is the largest collection of French portrait paintings in Central Europe. Sychrov hosts unique glass paintings by Jan Zachariáš Quast.

    The English park has an area of 23 hectares. The older, classical park was remodeled into the romantic style. Since botany was a hobby of the castle owner, the park received a lot of attention: there are rich dendrological and botanical collections. A unique variety of beech (Fagus silvatica Rohani) was cultivated in the park.

    The composer Antonín Dvořák visited the castle several times (he was a friend of its administrator) and several of his works were inspired by its beauty.

    Today Sychrov is a popular place for wedding ceremonies.”

  40. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Breton interest in scientific botany goes back at least to AD 790 when a botanical treatise in Breton and Latin, “le manuscrit de Leyde” (the French call it) was written.

    Sychrov Castle also reveals sponsorship of local skilled trades people, innovation and attention to detail in architecture and art, a strong sense of historic continuity, and a love of harmony in diversity.

  41. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    According to the University of York
    http://www.york.ac.uk/ipup/projects/york/bigcityread/tour.html
    concerning St Mary’s Abbey, founded by Alan Rufus:

    “The Abbey was endowed with a great number of royal privileges which made it exempt from royal authority and local government. The abbey was not subject to royal taxation and members of the abbey could not be called into county courts. The area in which the abbey exercised these freedoms was known as ‘the Liberty of St. Mary’. As part of their liberty, the abbots possessed their own court and prison which were contained within the abbey walls. It had royal permission to elect new abbots when vacancies arose. Over the centuries, St. Mary’s acquired substantial lands and properties, primarily in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, and appropriated numerous local parish churches, and these properties were included in the liberty.

    As the abbot of St. Mary’s was an important church dignitary and played a vital role in royal government, the abbey also possessed a house in St. Paul’s parish in London, which the abbot used when attending to royal business in the capital. The abbot also sat in the upper house of parliament, the House of Lords, as a church dignitary. Locally, the abbot was frequently called upon to act as a tax collector for tenths and fifteenths, for the crown and the pope. With its imposing exterior wall, the abbey traditionally served as a treasury for the safe-keeping of money being transported to the northern borders to defend the realm in times of war to maintain the garrison at Berwick-upon-Tweed.”

  42. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Although often referred to in modern histories as “Earl of Richmond”, Count Alan’s contemporary title was “Count of the Honour of Brittany”, abbreviated by some writers to “Count of Brittany”, a non-existent title in Brittany, but which echoes the Roman office of “Comes Britanniarum”.

    In the Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comes this position is described as follows:
    “Comes Britanniarum — Count in charge of defense of Roman Britain (Britannia).
    This post presumably expired circa AD 410, when the last Roman troops left the isles forever.”

    In granting Alan this title, King William may have been making the point that the Romans were now back in charge, while at the same time acknowledging Alan’s signal contribution to the reconquest of Britain.

  43. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Despite Alan Rufus’s major role in routing the Anglo-Saxon military, the Domesday Book reveals that in many locations Alan instated their pre-1066 English lords as his chief tenants. This occurred to some degree under other magnates of Norman England (Earl Waltheof comes to mind), but the frequency with which Alan did this is striking.
    Ironically, Waltheof came to grief through his part in the Revolt of the Earls in 1075, which was not an Anglo-Saxon rebellion, but was rather occasioned by sympathy with a Breton, Ralph de Guader, who defied King William by marrying “at Exning, Cambridgeshire, Emma, only daughter of William FitzOsbern, 1st Earl of Hereford and his first wife Alice or Adelise (or Adelissa), daughter of Roger I of Tosny”.

  44. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Thomas Tweed (1660?-1726) of Cheveley, Cambridgeshire, married Elizabeth Deare (1655-1713) of Cheveley, on 31 May 1682 in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. (Recall that this is where Alan Rufus was buried). If nothing else, this shows that the site of Saint Edmund’s shrine remained popular well into the Protestant/Anglican era.

  45. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    In the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on Alan Rufus,
    http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/52358
    the historian K.S.B. Keats-Rohan states:

    “Alan Rufus (d. 1093), magnate, was the second of at least seven legitimate sons of Count Eudo, regent of Brittany from 1040 to 1047, and Orguen, or Agnes, his Angevin wife. Alan was called Rufus (‘the Red’) to distinguish him from a younger brother, Alan Niger (‘the Black’). His father, Eudo, was a brother of the Breton duke Alan III; the mother of Eudo and Alan III was [a great-]aunt of William the Conqueror. Eudo’s status entitled his legitimate sons to bear the honorific title comes (‘count’). Alan first occurs, with his father and some of his brothers, in an Angevin charter given c.1050. He was probably recruited into the service of his second cousin William of Normandy before 1066. A Breton contingent, probably including Alan and his brother Brien, played an important role at the battle of Hastings and settled in England thereafter. The list of Alan’s brothers in the above-mentioned charter does not include Brien, nor either of Alan’s successors, Alan Niger and Stephen. Alan Rufus was therefore probably older than Brien. Brien was certainly given lands in Suffolk, and probably also in Cornwall.”

    Keats-Rohan’s own name suggests a relation by descent or marriage to the Porhoët/Rohan branch of the Breton sovereign house.

  46. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Keats-Rohan’s article continues:

    “After helping to defeat an attack on Exeter by the sons of Harold in 1069, Brien apparently returned to Brittany, leaving Alan as indisputably the most senior of the Bretons in England. Alan’s position was further enhanced by the fall of Ralph de Gael in 1075, much of whose forfeited land in East Anglia he acquired. He held a great deal of land in Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, and Norfolk, and the earliest grants to him were probably in Cambridgeshire. Alan and two of his men, Aubrey de Vere and Harduin de Scales, figure prominently in two preliminary records of the Domesday survey, the Inquisitio comitatus Cantabrigiensis, and the Inquisitio Eliensis. The kernel of the vast honour of Richmond (based upon land in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire and extending to Northampton and London), for which Alan and his successors are best known, was granted only after the revolt of the north in 1070.”

  47. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Of Aubrey (Albericus) de Vere (died circa 1112), who held about 300 manors according to the Domesday Books, Wikipedia says:

    “The principal estates held by Aubrey de Vere in 1086: Castle Hedingham, Beauchamp [Walter], Great Bentley, Great Canfield, Earls Colne, [White] Colne, and Dovercourt, Essex; Aldham, Belstead, Lavenham, and Waldingfield, Suffolk; Castle Camps, Hildersham, Silverley, and Wilbraham, Cambridgeshire. He possessed houses and acreage in Colchester. As tenant of Geoffrey bishop of Coutances, he held Kensington, Middlesex; Scaldwell and Wadenhoe, Northamptonshire. Of the barony of Count Alan of Brittany, he held the manors of Beauchamp Roding, Canfield, and West Wickham, Essex. His wife held Aldham, Essex, in her own right of Odo bishop of Bayeux. She was accused by Domesday jurors of expansion into Little Maplestead, Essex. Aubrey’s seizures or questionable right of possession to estates included Manuden, Essex; Great Hemingford, Huntingdonshire; and Swaffham, Cambridgeshire. (Counties given are those of Domesday Book.)”

    Regarding Kensington:

    “The bishop’s heir, Robert de Mowbray, rebelled against William Rufus and his vast barony was declared forfeit. Aubrey de Vere I had his tenure converted to a tenancy in-chief, holding Kensington after 1095 directly of the crown. He granted land and church there to Abingdon Abbey at the deathbed request of his young eldest son, Geoffrey. As the Veres became the earls of Oxford, their estate at Kensington came to be known as Earls Court, while the Abingdon lands were called Abbots Kensington and the church St Mary Abbots.”

    The heads of the de Vere family were Earls of Oxford from 1141 (courtesy of Empress Matilda) to 1703 when the 20th Earl died with only one surviving daughter, Lady Diana de Vere.

  48. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Kensington is in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and is a posh location.

    “Kensington Palace is a royal residence set in Kensington Gardens, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London, England. It has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century, and is the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, while the Duke and Duchess of Kent reside at Wren House. Kensington Palace is also used on an unofficial basis by Prince Harry, as well as his cousin Zara Phillips.”

  49. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    More on Alan Rufus from Keats-Rohan:

    “By 1086 Alan had settled some forty tenants on his lands, of whom all but two were Bretons. The grant of the northern lands was a measure of the Conqueror’s trust. By 1086 Alan was one of the richest and most powerful men in England. He remained close to William I, accompanying him to Normandy and Maine on several occasions after 1066, and attested many of his charters. His importance is sometimes overlooked because his intense loyalty to William I, and subsequently to William II, meant that he was usually ignored by chroniclers, though he figures among those mentioned as helping William II [also called Rufus] keep his throne during 1087–8. He played an important role in the proceedings against William of St Calais, bishop of Durham. At his death in 1093 (perhaps in August) he was succeeded by his brother Alan Niger, of whom there is no trace in English documents before this date. Alan Niger died in 1098 and was succeeded by another brother, Stephen, who had also succeeded to their father’s Breton lands.”

  50. Geoffrey Tobin says:

    Keats-Rohan’s article concludes:

    “The obit dates for Alan Rufus and Alan Niger have caused much confusion, but can be established by reconciling references in documents of St Mary’s Abbey at York with a letter written by Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury. The letter reveals that both Alans had an affair with Gunnhild, daughter of the former King Harold and living in retirement at Wilton Abbey. Because Anselm regarded Gunnhild as a nun, it is not known whether she was legally married to either brother, though clearly she willingly entered each relationship. Eadmer later alleged that Matilda, wife of Henry I, had been intended by her father, Malcolm, king of Scots, as the wife of Alan Rufus. No recognized wife, nor any children, is known for either Alan, though the tenants of both in England included three of their illegitimate brothers, Ribald, Bodin, and Bardulf, and their wet-nurse, Orwen. Alan Rufus was the founder of St Mary’s, York (based upon an earlier refoundation of St Olave), and of a priory at Swavesey, Cambridgeshire, which was a cell of St Serge and St Bacchus, Angers. He was also a benefactor of St Edmund’s at Bury and was buried there, though he was later translated to St Mary’s, York, at the request of St Mary’s monks.”

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