|Duke of Brittany|
|Reign||1213–1221 (as duke)|
1221–1237 (as regent)
|Died||26 May 1250 (aged 63)|
|Spouse|| Alix, Duchess of Brittany |
Margaret of Commequiers
|Issue|| John I, Duke of Brittany |
Yolande, Countess of Penthièvre
Oliver I of Machecoul
|Father||Robert II, Count of Dreux|
|Mother||Yolande de Coucy|
Peter I (French : Pierre; c. 1187 –26 May 1250), also known as Peter Mauclerc, was Duke of Brittany jure uxoris from 1213 to 1221, and regent of the duchy for his minor son John I from 1221 to 1237. As duke he was also 1st Earl of Richmond from 1218 to 1235.
Peter was the second son of Robert II, Count of Dreux and Yolande de Coucy.The latter was in turn the son of Robert I, Count of Dreux, a younger brother of Louis VII of France. Peter was thus a Capetian, a second cousin of Louis VIII of France.
Despite being of royal descent, as the younger son of a cadet branch Peter's early prospects were that of a minor noble, with a few scattered fiefs in the Île-de-France and Champagne. He was initially destined for a career in the clergy, which he later renounced, earning him the nickname Mauclerc (French: mauvais clerc, bad-cleric). He broke the convention of ecclesiastical heraldry by placing on the canton of his paternal arms the ermine, then reserved for the clergy.[ citation needed ]
In 1212 King Philip II of France needed to find a weak and faithful ruler for Brittany. The duchy lay athwart the sea lanes between England and the English territories in Gascony. Furthermore, it bordered on Anjou and Normandy, which the English had lost ten or twelve years before and were eager to recover. It was being ruled with less than a strong hand by Guy of Thouars, as regent for his young daughter Alix. Also worrisome was that Alix's older half-sister Eleanor, Fair Maid of Brittany, was in an English prison.
King Philip thus broke off the betrothal of Alix and the Breton lord Henry of Penthièvre, and turned to his French cousin Peter, then in his early twenties. Peter married Alix, and on 27 January 1213, paid homage to the king for Brittany.
There is some ambiguity regarding whether Peter should be considered duke or count. The duchy was legally held by his wife. The King of France and the Pope (and their courts) always addressed him as count, but Peter in his own charters called himself duke.
In 1214 King John of England had assembled a formidable coalition against the French. He landed in Poitou while King Otto of Germany prepared to invade from the north. John chased off some French forces in the north of Poitou, and then moved to the southern edge of Brittany, opposite Nantes. Peter drove him off after a brief skirmish but did nothing to hinder John's subsequent movement up the Loire valley where he took a few Breton fortresses and then besieged La Roche-aux-Moines. John's Poitevin vassals, however, refused to fight against a French force led by the King of France's son Louis. Meanwhile, Otto's army was crushed at Bouvines, and the entire invasion foundered.
It is not clear why John attempted to capture Nantes, even less why he would do so the hardest way, via the very well-defended bridge across the Loire. Nor is it clear why Peter declined to harass his forces from the rear as John marched east. A likely explanation is that the two had come to some sort of agreement whereby John would leave Brittany alone for the moment, and in return the Bretons would not hinder him elsewhere.
John had a prize he could dangle in front of Peter: the Earldom of Richmond. This great English honour (land) had traditionally been held by the dukes of Brittany, and in fact a constant theme in Peter's political affairs was the desire to hold and retain the English revenues from Richmond.
Peter did not yield to King John's offers to accept the earldom and take up the King's side in his conflicts with the English barons, probably because he deemed the King's prospects too uncertain. Moreover, Louis was again fighting against the English. But when Louis was defeated, Peter was sent as one of the negotiators for a peace treaty. After the negotiations were completed (in 1218), William Marshal, the regent for the young Henry III of England, recognized Peter as Earl of Richmond, in place of Eleanor of Brittany who, as a potential threat to English crown, would never be released from imprisonment. The center of the earldom's properties in Yorkshire was in the hands of the Earl of Chester, whom the regent could not afford to antagonize, but Peter did receive the properties of the earldom outside of Yorkshire, which in fact generated the bulk of the earldom's income. In 1219 he participated in the capture of Marmande and the Siege of Toulouse during the Albigensian Crusade.
Peter turned his attention to his next goal. The authority of the dukes of Brittany had traditionally been weak, in comparison to the great peers of northern France. For example, the duke could not limit the building of castles by his counts. Nor did he have the right to guardianship of minor heirs of his vassals. Peter aimed to re-establish his relationship with his vassals (or subjects) more along the lines of what he knew from the Capetian royal court. To that end Peter simply declared new rules by fiat, and then faced the inevitable turmoil that resulted from the reaction of his barons. There followed a series of small civil wars and political maneuverings. In 1222 he suppressed a revolt by Breton barons in the Battle of Châteaubriant. By 1223, the barons had all acquiesced to the changes or been dispossessed.
The six Breton bishops were the other threat to the ducal power, for they had substantial landholdings (including control of all or part of the few cities in Brittany), and were recalcitrant in the face of Peter's attempts to raise revenues by increasing taxes or simply taking possession of episcopal holdings. For this he was excommunicated for a time in 1219–1221. Peter submitted in the end, but this was not to be the last of his conflict with the bishops.
Peter's wife died on 21 October 1221, leaving behind four young children. She was then only 21, and little is known about her beyond the basic genealogical facts. Her death meant that Peter was no longer duke, although he continued to rule the Duchy with undiminished authority, as regent for his son John, then a boy of four or so.
Alix's death changed Peter's goals in two ways. First, he aimed to acquire some additional territory, not part of the Duchy, to augment his retirement after his son came of age. Second, there was a strong tradition in France that a minor heir should, when coming of age, have his property in the state it was in when he inherited it. Thus Peter could not now take some risks without fear of harming the prospects of his son.
Peter helped Philip II's successor, Louis VIII, in his fight against Henry III of England (in the sieges of Niort and La Rochelle in 1224).He also accompanied Louis VIII on the Albigensian Crusade. According to Nicholas of Bray, he was present at the siege of Avignon in June–September. After Louis's death in November, he participated, with Count Theobald IV of Champagne and Count Hugh X of La Marche, in rebellions against the regent Blanche of Castile, which lasted from 1227 until 1234. Around this time he renounced his allegiance to the king of England and suffered forfeiture of his English earldom.
Peter's son John reached the age of majority in 1237. Peter Mauclerc then participated in the Barons' Crusade to the Holy Land in 1239. While there, Peter's troops along with some local knights were attacked by heavily armed Mamluk cavalry, firing their bows, but the crusader force managed to outflank and defeat them, taking a few prisoners with them back to Jaffa.
In early November, two days into a march from Acre to Ascalon, Peter and his lieutenant Raoul de Soissons split off from the main force to conduct a raid. They divided their force in half and each waited in ambush along a possible route for the Muslim caravan which was moving up the Jordan to Damascus. Peter's half clashed with the Muslims outside of a castle, and after some fighting, he sounded his horn to summon Raoul. The Muslims were routed and fled inside the castle, where Peter's men followed them, killed many, took some captives, and seized the booty and edible animals of the caravan.This minor victory would soon be overshadowed by a serious defeat at Gaza.
Back in France, he won some success against the English at sea in 1242 and 1243. In 1249, he participated in the Seventh Crusade to Egypt under King Louis IX. He died at the sea before he was able to return home. He was buried in Braine, France.
Peter was married three times:
His first wife was Alix of Thouars, Duchess of Brittany (1201-1221).Alix and Peter had three children:
His second wife was Nicole (died February 1232). Nicole and Peter had a son:
His third wife was Marguerite de Montaigu, Lady of Montaigu, Commequiers, La Garnachethen Machecoul, and widow of Hugh I de Thouars (died 1230), a brother to Guy of Thouars; this made Marguerite a paternal line aunt of Alix. They married by 1236, and had no issue.
|Ancestors of Peter I, Duke of Brittany|
Arthur I was 4th Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany between 1196 and 1203. He was the posthumous son of Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany, and Constance, Duchess of Brittany. His father, Geoffrey, was the son of Henry II, King of England.
The Duchy of Brittany was a medieval feudal state that existed between approximately 939 and 1547. Its territory covered the northwestern peninsula of Europe, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the English Channel to the north. It was also less definitively bordered by the river Loire to the south, and Normandy, and other French provinces, to the east. The Duchy was established after the expulsion of Viking armies from the region around 939. The Duchy, in the 10th and 11th centuries, was politically unstable, with the dukes holding only limited power outside their own personal lands. The Duchy had mixed relationships with the neighbouring Duchy of Normandy, sometimes allying itself with Normandy, and at other times, such as the Breton-Norman War, entering into open conflict.
Constance was Duchess of Brittany from 1166 to her death in 1201 and Countess of Richmond from 1171 to 1201. Constance was the daughter of Duke Conan IV by his wife, Margaret of Huntingdon, a sister of the Scottish kings Malcolm IV and William I.
Guy of Thouars was the third husband of Constance, Duchess of Brittany, whom he married in Angers, County of Anjou between August and October 1199 after her son Arthur of Brittany entered Angers to be recognized as count of the three countships of Anjou, Maine and Touraine. He was an Occitan noble, a member of the House of Thouars. He is counted as a duke of Brittany, jure uxoris, from 1199 to 1201.
Alix of Thouars ruled as Duchess of Brittany from 1203 until her death. She was also Countess of Richmond in the peerage of England.
John I, known as John the Red due to the colour of his beard, was Duke of Brittany from 1221 to his death and 2nd Earl of Richmond in 1268.
The now-extinct title of Earl of Richmond was created many times in the Peerage of England. The earldom of Richmond was initially held by various Breton nobles associated with the Ducal crown of Brittany; sometimes the holder was the Breton Duke himself, including one member of the cadet branch of the French Capetian dynasty. The historical ties between the Ducal crown of Brittany and this English Earldom were maintained ceremonially by the Breton dukes even after England ceased to recognize the Breton Dukes as Earls of England and those dukes rendered homage to the King of France, rather than the English crown. It was then held either by members of the English royal families of Plantagenet and Tudor, or English nobles closely associated with the English crown. It was eventually merged into the English crown during the reign of Henry VII and has been recreated as a Dukedom.
In the 11th and 12th centuries the Countship of Penthièvre in Brittany belonged to a branch of the sovereign House of Brittany. It initially belonged to the House of Rennes. Alan III, Duke of Brittany, gave it to his brother Eudes in 1035, and his descendants formed a cadet branch of the ducal house.
The House of Montfort was a Breton-French noble family, which reigned in the Duchy of Brittany from 1365 to 1514. It was a cadet branch of the House of Dreux; it was thus ultimately part of the Capetian dynasty. It should not be confused with the older House of Montfort which ruled as Counts of Montfort-l'Amaury.
Robert II of Dreux, Count of Dreux and Braine, was the eldest surviving son of Robert I, Count of Dreux, and Agnes de Baudemont, countess of Braine, and a grandson of King Louis VI of France.
The Counts of Dreux were a noble family of France, who took their title from the chief stronghold of their domain, the château of Dreux, which lies near the boundary between Normandy and the Île-de-France. They are notable for inheriting the Duchy of Brittany through Pierre de Dreux's marriage to Alix de Thouars in the early 13th century.
The House of Dreux was a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. It was founded by Robert I, Count of Dreux, a son of Louis VI of France, who was given the County of Dreux as his appanage.
Hugh XI de Lusignan, Hugh VI of La Marche or Hugh II of Angoulême was a 13th-century French nobleman. He succeeded his mother Isabelle of Angoulême, former queen of England, as Count of Angoulême in 1246. He likewise succeeded his father Hugh X as Count of La Marche in 1249. Hugh XI was the half-brother of King Henry III of England.
Yolande of Brittany was the ruler of the counties of Penthièvre and Porhoet in the Duchy of Brittany. Yolande had been betrothed to King Henry III of England in 1226 at the age of seven years, but married Hugh XI of Lusignan, the half-brother of Henry III. Through Hugh, she became Countess of La Marche and of Angoulême. She was the mother of seven children. From 1250 to 1256, she acted as Regent of La Marche and Angoulême for her son, Hugh XII of Lusignan.
The Honour of Richmond in north-west Yorkshire, England was granted to Count Alan Rufus by King William the Conqueror sometime during 1069 to 1071, although the date is uncertain. It was gifted as thanks for his services at the Conquest. The extensive district was previously held by Edwin, Earl of Mercia who died in 1071. The district is probably mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 but its limits are uncertain.
Alix of Brittany, Dame de Pontarcy, Countess of Blois, was a Breton noblewoman and a member of the House of Dreux as the eldest daughter of John I, Duke of Brittany. She married John I, Count of Blois. Alix was known for founding religious houses including the Monastery of La Guiche, where she was later buried.
Constance of Penthièvre was a Breton princess, daughter of Alan of Penthièvre, 1st Earl of Richmond, and Bertha of Cornouaille, suo jure Duchess of Brittany.
The English invasion of France of 1230 was a military campaign undertaken by Henry III of England in an attempt to reclaim the English throne's rights and inheritance to the territories of France, held prior to 1224. The English did not seek battle with the French, did not invade the Duchy of Normandy and marched south to the County of Poitou. The campaign on the continent ended in a fiasco, Henry made a truce with Louis IX of France and returned to England. The failure of the campaign led to the dismissal of Hubert de Burgh, 1st Earl of Kent as Justiciar.
Olivier I de Clisson was a Breton frontier lord. He is mainly remembered for his conflict with his half-brothers and the Duke of Brittany.
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