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Les seigneuries dans l’espace Plantagenêt

 | 
Martin Aurell
, 
Frédéric Boutoulle

Maine-Anjou

Between the king and the dominus: the seneschals of Plantagenet Maine and Anjou1

Richard E. Barton

Texte intégral

  • 1 I am grateful to Martin Aurell for inviting me to participate in the 2007 colloque and to Frédéric (...)
  • 2 Boussard 1938, 5-13.
  • 3 Eyton 1878; Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, III, 1-27; and Tonnerre 2006, 212-213.
  • 4 Guillot 1972, 397-429; Chartrou 1929, 107-130; Boussard 1938, 113-163; Boussard 1956, 285-287, 357 (...)
  • 5 Chartrou 1929, 122-126; Boussard 1938, 113-128.
  • 6 Boussard 1938, 113-128, and Boussard 1956, 357-359. Baldwin 1986, 233-237, broadly accepts Boussar (...)
  • 7 Boussard 1938, 106.
  • 8 Boussard 1938, 109.

1Centrally located in the heart of that agglomeration of territories that historians call the Angevin Empire, the counties of Anjou, Maine and the Touraine served as an essential strategic and seigneurial bastion for Henry II and his sons2. Despite the region’s strategic prominence, however, Henry and his sons spent comparatively little time there3. To safeguard comital rights during their absence, therefore, the Angevins constructed a network of royal officials to whom they delegated the power to maintain comital estates, guard their castles, and to oversee justice. The construction of such a network of seneschals, prévôts, and voyers was, of course, hardly unusual, since it reflected the natural method by which all medieval rulers attempted to govern large territories4. But Jacques Boussard has argued that the Angevins’ elevation of what had been essentially rural estate managers into true viceroys reflected a deeper and more important change in mentality and administrative precision. For Boussard, the twelfth century witnessed a gradual but inevitable transformation of the jurisdictional and seigneurial scope of the old office of dapifer or seneschal. By the 1150s, he argued, the former seneschal of the Angevin comital household boasted a new title, that of seneschal of Anjou, and a greatly expanded jurisdiction which extended across the counties of Anjou, Maine and the Touraine5. For Boussard, this new officer’s jurisdiction and independence only grew in the period between 1165 and 1180. Whereas the seneschal had only acted in response to direct commands from the king through the 1160s, he had, by 1180, evolved into a true viceroy, able to act independently and forcefully in the royal interest6. For Boussard, this evolution of the seneschalcy into a form of “administration régulière” was extremely important, for it paralleled and permitted an increase in the power and prestige of the count-king (Henry II), as well as the regularization of his relations with his vassals. These changes amounted to nothing less than a major change in mentality, in which a formerly “feudal power” was replaced by a monarchical power that was absolute and capable of imposing itself on its subjects7. For Boussard, the transformation could be simply stated: “Le pouvoir, de féodal, est devenu monarchique; l’administration, de domaniale, est devenue souveraine8.

2Boussard’s thesis–that the growth of sovereign royal power in Anjou occurred under Henry II and was directly linked to the extension of the duties and jurisdictions of the seneschal–is an important and persuasive one. The very fact that the years between 1140 and 1220 saw not merely the creation of the new office of seneschal of Anjou but his rise in social and political stature into one of the greatest barons of the Loire region serves to undergird Boussard’s thesis. And yet, if Boussard was clearly correct in the broad view, his thesis is worth revisiting in some of its details and implications. Indeed, this essay attempts to complicate Boussard’s thesis in several ways. First, it suggests that the jurisdictional competency of the seneschal of Anjou was never as wide as Boussard assumed. In particular, it argues that the county of Maine possessed its own seneschalcy and royal curia which largely operated independently of the seneschals of Anjou until the Capetian conquest in 1203. Secondly, it argues that the rise in the judicial competence of the seneschal of Anjou (or that of Maine) may not necessarily have led to a meaningful extension of royal authority over all of Anjou. For one, the great lordships, particularly those in western Maine and Anjou and in the eastern Touraine, continued to hold their own baronial courts, at which men of the surrounding neighborhood sought assistance and settled disputes. Third, it suggests that the lords of these important baronies–of Craon, Sablé, Château-Gontier, Mayenne, Laval, Sainte-Maure, and others–did not seem ordinarily to have subjected themselves to the curia regis as administered by either the seneschal of Anjou or the seneschal of Le Mans. Indeed, it is almost impossible to find cases in which one of the great barons appears as a litigant before the seneschals. All of this suggests that the major baronies of greater Anjou retained substantial judicial–and perhaps substantial financial–independence at the same time as the Angevin seneschals were becoming more significant symbols of royal judicial competence.

3These trends would appear to present a paradox. But there are ways to reconcile these two patterns. If one looks closely at the specific details of the legal cases resolved by the seneschals of Anjou (and of Maine), it is apparent that almost all of these cases involve estates, rights, and men who were directly beholden to the count-king. In other words, the seneschals tended to resolve cases brought by a tenant or vassal of the count, or by an abbey under direct comital protection; moreover, cases argued before the seneschal derive almost exclusively from disputes arising from the territory of (or neighboring) the comital fisc or fief. The seneschals never seem to have involved themselves in cases in which the count was not a direct tenurial protector of one or more parties, or which involved estates or goods not clearly a part of the comital fisc. This pattern helps explain the independence of the great baronies of Anjou; since the count had never possessed estates in these areas, his judicial competence (as expressed through his seneschal) was in those places minimal. In essence, then, this essay argues that the administrative authority and social power of the seneschals was limited in a very real way by the extent of the traditional rights and estates of the counts of Anjou and of Maine. Such a conclusion is nevertheless a worthy corrective to some of Boussard’s arguments, since it reminds us that Anjou was, above all, a world of overlapping jurisdictions centered on fiefs, or lordships, and that belonging to one of these fiefs defined a man’s legal privileges and obligations.

  • 9 Halphen 1902; Halphen 1901; Boussard 1938, 131-150; Guillot 1972, 398-417.
  • 10 Guillot 1972, 404-417.
  • 11 Guillot 1972, 407, 415-417.
  • 12 Guillot 1972, 423-424.
  • 13 Chartrou 1929, 122-126.

4The rise of comital justice in the Loire Valley has been ably traced by scholars such as Halphen and Guillot. In short, comital administration in Anjou grew out of the domanial administration of voyers (vicarii) and prévôts (prepositi)9. The counts of the eleventh century established numerous prévôtés in comital castles, as well as three more important prévôtés in the main comital cities of Angers, Vendôme, and Tours10. The latter were the progenitors of the twelfth-century seneschals of Anjou, since already in the eleventh century the three superior prévôtés combined traditional elements of seigneurial compulsion with a newer sense of comital authority, particularly in the absence of the count11. The eleventh century also saw the development of comital household officers following the royal model; thus by 1085 there was a seneschal of the count, who was sometimes a man of castellan rank12. In the first half of the twelfth century these seneschals increasingly took part in judicial activities, sometimes as the president of the comital court; in this role they brought some of the responsibilities of the domanial prévôté to their function as master of the comital household and court13. With the meteoric expansion of Angevin territory through the absorption of Maine in 1110 and the conquest of Normandy by 1144, the count’s time and energy could not be as frequently spent in Anjou, and thus the seneschal came to be given more responsibility to run the comital administration in his absence.

  • 14 Josselin appears in acts of 1161 and 1162; see Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 201 and 226. He (...)
  • 15 The charter and narrative evidence strongly suggests that Stephen de Marsay and Stephen de Tours w (...)
  • 16 Stephen as royal chamberlain; Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, 203. He replaced Josselin between 1 (...)
  • 17 Devizes ed. Appleby 1963, 4-6 and 85; Boussard 1938, 116-117; and Gillingham 1999, 106.
  • 18 Pagan de Rochefort appears in at least five acts dated circa 1190: see Boussard 1938, 127 n. 5, Ma (...)
  • 19 For Robert as seneschal of Anjou, see BN ms n. a. latin 2301, no 2, and Bertrand de Broussillon ed (...)
  • 20 Dubois 1869-1873; Vincent 1996, 21-26; and Everard & Jones eds. 1999, 193-194.
  • 21 Delaborde et al. eds. 1943, no 829 and 948; Baldwin 1986, 235-236.
  • 22 Baldwin 1986, 237; Nortier 1979, no 1564 and 1565.

5The chronology of the seneschals of Anjou is also relatively well-known. Josselin de Tours is first glimpsed as seneschal in 1146 during the comital reign of Geoffrey le Bel; he acted as seneschal until at least 116214. His successor was Stephen de Tours, sometimes also called Stephen de Marsay15. Stephen had previously been a royal chamberlain, and appears as seneschal for the first time around 116516. Although he served Henry II loyally for the rest of the king’s life, his fidelity to the king and, especially, his financial exactions earned Stephen many enemies. Indeed, once he was crowned in 1189, Richard I had Stephen arrested, stripped of his office, and only released upon payment of an enormous ransom17. Richard replaced Stephen–perhaps only temporarily–with Pagan de Rochefort, and then, in 1196, with his trusted servant, the Englishman Robert de Thornham18. Robert remained loyal to the Plantagenets until the bitter end, appearing as seneschal until at least 120219. But he had competition, since Prince Arthur offered the seneschalcy to the Manceau William des Roches in 119920. William’s political acumen and ability allowed him to thrive in the unstable years after 1199, and he ended up serving as seneschal for Arthur, John and Philip Augustus in turn. He died in 1222 as one of the most powerful barons of Anjou. At this point, despite having defined the duties of the seneschal more carefully than any of his Angevin predecessors21, Philip Augustus allowed the office to become hereditary, and it passed to the husbands of William’s daughters22.

  • 23 Josselin de Tours was called both dapifer and seneschal. Dapifer: Cronne & Davis eds. 1968, no 100 (...)
  • 24 Josselin de Tours was called “dapifer Andegavensis” in 1159 and “senescaldus Andegavensis” at a po (...)

6Although clearly the most significant comital administrative officer by the 1140s, the seneschal’s title was not yet fixed at that date; charters alternately call him dapifer and seneschal into the early 1160s23. Furthermore, the territorial designation (“of Anjou”) was used only on rare occasions in the 1150s, and only with regularity beginning in the 1170s24. This means that through the 1150s and 1160s it was common for Josselin or Stephen to be called simply “senescallus” or “senescallus regis”. Only after the great revolt of 1172-3 did the title permanently shift to “senescallus andegavensis”. This point is worth highlighting, for it suggests that on a symbolic level the seneschal’s duties were still considered to be personal–that is, connected to the king’s person and household–until the 1170s; only after this point did his role shift to encompass a broad territorial jurisdiction.

  • 25 Power 2004, 68.
  • 26 Boussard 1938, 195; BN, ms n. a. Latin 2301, no 3; and Salmon ed. 1854, 147. The prévôt Malet was (...)
  • 27 Boussard 1938, 193. For Calo, or Chalo, see id., 132 n. 8; Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 131 (...)
  • 28 Boussard 1938, 193-195. Boussard’s lists could be greatly expanded. One could cite, among others, (...)
  • 29 Laurain ed. 1911-1945, I, 63-64.
  • 30 The seneschals of La Flèche in the first half of the twelfth century came from the family of Clers (...)

7Yet if the evidence of the seneschal’s entitulature suggests that Boussard was broadly correct in seeing a gradual symbolic expansion of the seneschal’s competence, the charter evidence calls into question some of his assumptions about the scope of his jurisdiction. In particular, Boussard ignored completely the evidence for at least one other comparable regional administrator, the seneschal of Le Mans. Indeed, Daniel Power is the only modern scholar to have commented upon this officer25. As we shall see, the existence of a seneschal in Le Mans from the 1140s through 1207 directly contrasts with Angevin practice in the other great cities and regions of the Loire Valley. In Tours, which had been incorporated into Anjou proper in the 1040s, royal justice was administered by a prévôt acting under the broader authority of the seneschal of Anjou; we can identify Malet as prévôt in the 1140s and 1150s, Nicholas in 1165, Ledet in 1178, and Hamelin de Rorta in 120126. Angers, too, boasted prévôts who acted under the aegis of the seneschal; among them was Calo, who was either the brother or brother-in-law of the seneschal Stephen de Tours27. Other portions of the royal/comital demesne in Anjou and the Touraine were governed by prévôts, as at Baugé, Brissac, Langeais, Loches, Loudun, Saumur, and Chinon28, by baillis, as at Châteauneuf-sur-Sarthe29, or even, until the 1160s, by seneschals, as at La Flèche30. These lesser judicial and administrative officers were all subordinate to the seneschal of Anjou.

  • 31 It is not clear whether the title should be read as “seneschal of Maine” or “seneschal of Le Mans” (...)
  • 32 Power 2004, 67-70; Renoux 2006, 243 and n. 49.
  • 33 My argument differs from that of Power, who sees the seneschal of Maine as “clearly under the auth (...)
  • 34 Renaud de Roche, prévôt of Le Mans: Bertrand de Broussillon ed. 1903, no 627 (1133). Burgundius, s (...)
  • 35 Pagan Malus Canis as custos turris Cenomannis: Cronne & Davis eds. 1968, no 1006 (1146). Pagan as (...)
  • 36 John de Melna, or Malna, or Maime, as seneschal: Paris, BN, Latin 17124, 174 (1178); Chédeville 19 (...)
  • 37 Geoffrey Mauchien as seneschal: Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 142 (1184), no 145 (c. 1185) (...)

8But Le Mans and Maine were different. From 1146 onward a steady stream of men bearing the title seneschal or dapifer of Le Mans (or Maine)31 appear in the charter record32. By and large these men seem to have operated independently of the seneschals of Anjou, at least until 1204 and the ascendancy of William des Roches over the entire region33. The list of seneschals is fairly clear. Although Le Mans possessed a prévôt in 1133, a certain Burgundius appears as seneschal of Le Mans in 114634. By the middle of the century, the seneschal was Pagan Mauchien. Pagan had previously served Geoffrey le Bel, including a stint as castellan of the tower of Le Mans, before being made seneschal of Le Mans at some time in the 1150s or 1160s. He appears several times with the title seneschal, and was one of the three men commanded by Henry II to make an inquest into the extent of the comital rights in and around Le Mans35. At some point in the late 1170s, probably, Pagan was replaced by John de Melna, who appears in a handful of acts from at least 1178 to some point before 118436. Between 1184 and 1189, the seneschal was Geoffrey Mauchien, probably a relative of his predecessor Pagan37.

  • 38 Josselin d’Aunay (de Alneto): Chédeville ed. 1968, no 146 (1192), 275 (1194-1200), and 340 (1192). (...)
  • 39 Geoffrey Mauchien as seneschal: Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 178 (after 1195); Chédeville (...)
  • 40 Although not described as seneschal, Geoffrey Mauchien received the oaths of the warrantors to a n (...)
  • 41 Chédeville ed. 1968, no 331; Powicke 1960, 159 and note 196.

9Although he was replaced as seneschal in the early 1190s by Josselin d’Aunay, who appears in charters dated 1192, 1192, and 1194-120038, Geoffrey Mauchien returned to the office at some point after 1199 and probably kept it until the Capetian conquest of Le Mans in the spring of 120339. Geoffrey’s roller coaster career is worth a brief comment. It seems very likely that he was removed as seneschal of Le Mans in 1189 or 1190 when Richard I became king; this hypothesis would fit well with the charter evidence and with what we know of Richard’s antipathy towards his father’s men. Richard seems, at least initially, to have wanted to make a complete break with the entrenched Angevin and Manceau administrative class. Yet as someone with deep local ties in Le Mans, Geoffrey remained influential even during his eclipse40, and was a natural candidate to return as seneschal, perhaps at the same time that Arthur made William des Roches his seneschal for Anjou. Geoffrey appeared in an early act of Arthur’s (April 1199), albeit without title, and was still described as seneschal in an act of March 1203, only months before the final Capetian conquest of the region41.

  • 42 Boussard 1938; Baldwin 1986, 233-237; Power 2004, 66-71.
  • 43 Vincent 2007, 289, 296-297.
  • 44 Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 580; Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 139-141.
  • 45 Peter served Henry II in Maine and Anjou in the 1160s, perhaps as an assistant to the seneschal St (...)
  • 46 Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 199-200.
  • 47 Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 134; Lottin ed. 1869, no 468.
  • 48 Two other Mauchiens – Warin and Ralph – appear in the 1190s and 1200s: Chédeville ed. 1968, no 146 (...)
  • 49 Power 2004, 70-71.

10The evidence is thus clear that Le Mans boasted a locally coherent administrative clique, one probably linked by kinship. The question, however, is whether the seneschals of Le Mans operated independently of the seneschal of Anjou. Most scholars, noting that the Angevins never used the title “count of Maine” and that Maine seems to have been absorbed into “greater Anjou” from the 1140s, have assumed that the seneschals of Anjou therefore enjoyed jurisdiction over Le Mans and its pagus42. There is naturally some evidence to warrant this assumption. For one, it is absolutely clear that the seneschal of Anjou was a far more important figure than any of the seneschals of Le Mans; Stephen de Tours, for instance, seems to have been one of Henry II’s principle advisors, at least in France. Stephen is found at the king’s side whenever and wherever the king travelled in Anjou, Maine or the Touraine; in addition, he occasionally accompanied the king to Normandy, England, or Aquitaine43. None of the seneschals of Le Mans can be found outside of Maine, and none were royal familiares. Second, the seneschals of Anjou can on occasion be glimpsed acting in the king’s name in Maine, although less often in Le Mans itself. For instance, Stephen de Tours took a more important role than Pagan Mauchien in the inquest held at the royal command at Mayet to resolve the simmering dispute over the status of the fief of Hugh de Semur44. The dispute centered on whether or not the church of Ponvallain was part of the royal demesne in Maine. At the inquest, Stephen de Tours, seneschal of Anjou, and Peter fitz Guy45 were the most important local figures; indeed, they issued charters of protection for the abbey of La Couture at the end of the inquest. Although present, Pagan Mauchien played only a minor role in the process. Similarly, it was Stephen de Tours whom King Henry ordered to resolve a dispute between Hamelin d’Anthenaise and the monks of Marmoutier concerning wine presses at Bouère46. The seneschal of Le Mans was utterly absent from these proceedings. Other examples could be adduced47, but it seems clear that at least in some areas of Maine, the seneschal of Anjou was expected to oversee royal interests. Indeed, when Henry II attempted to extend royal influence in the powerful Manceau lordship of Mayenne during a minority, he turned to Stephen de Tours, and not to the Mauchien clan48. It was Bernard son of Calo, Stephen’s nephew, who appears in Savigny charters as seneschal and custos of Mayenne49. Finally, as we shall see, evidence from the period after 1204 shows that the seneschal of Anjou had complete authority over most of Maine. It is possible, then, that Philip Augustus merely retained the same system that the Angevins had employed; if so, then one might conclude that the Angevin seneschals had also possessed jurisdiction over all of Maine. Given the palpably greater importance of the seneschals of Anjou and the evidence just adduced, it might thus be tempting to view the seneschals of Le Mans as simple deputies of their counterparts to the south, much like the prévôts of Angers or Tours.

  • 50 Pagan Mauchien was custos in 1146: Cronne & Davis eds. 1968, no 1006. Peter fitz Guy was custos in (...)
  • 51 Id., no 355.
  • 52 Delaborde et al. eds. 1943, no 607.
  • 53 Id. no 840-841; infra, notes 54-56.

11And yet there is some evidence to believe that the seneschals of Le Mans may have enjoyed a greater degree of independence than the prévôts of Tours or Angers. The fact that there were seneschals, and not prévôts, in Le Mans is significant in and of itself. There were also other officers in Le Mans, including a custos of the donjon; this suggests that the seneschal may have had supervisory authority that the prévôts to the south lacked50. An important writ from the king to the Manceau baron William de Sillé is also revelatory. The king commanded William to defend the rights of the canons of La Cour and concluded by saying “unless you do this, Pagan my seneschal will”51. The seneschal in question is clearly Pagan Mauchien. What the writ suggests, moreover, is that the king communicated directly with his seneschal in Le Mans, without the mediation of the seneschal of Anjou. This might then lead us to conclude that the seneschal of Le Mans enjoyed an independent status. One might also note that the first explicit evidence that the seneschal of Anjou’s jurisdiction included Le Mans only came in 119952, and that Philip Augustus’decision in 1204 to allow Queen Berengaria to establish her own seneschal in Le Mans looks much like a reversion to previous practice53. Finally, it is the case that the best evidence for the intervention of Stephen de Tours in Maine comes not in Le Mans, but in specific parts of the countryside and in specific periods of Henry II’s reign. As we shall see below, Stephen’s actions in Maine are found primarily in areas where the king either had major estates (at Ponvallain) or where litigants’estates fell under explicit royal protection (at Bouère). One might conclude that the seneschal of Le Mans had jurisdiction in the city, while the seneschal of Anjou operated–when he could–in the rest of the county. It is also true that the best evidence for Stephen’s activity in Maine comes in the 1170s and 1180s, at a time when his own role was expanding and when the loyalties of Le Mans and the Manceau barons were called into question. Given that Stephen had a military role that the seneschals of Le Mans never possessed, it might not be surprising to see Stephen’s role expand–perhaps temporarily–during the struggles of the middle 1170s and the late 1180s.

12In the final analysis it is difficult to follow Boussard and others in concluding that the seneschals of Anjou had always possessed jurisdiction over Le Mans. While the greater wealth and strategic significance of the Loire Valley meant that the seneschals of Anjou would always possess a greater geo-political importance to the Angevin realm, it seems that for much of the second half of the twelfth century the seneschals of Le Mans enjoyed a fair degree of independence in Le Mans itself.

  • 54 Baldwin 1986, 234-237; Vincent 1996, 21-26.

13The Capetian conquest of Normandy, Maine, and Anjou wrought important changes to the administrative structure of the region. Most significantly, it led to the end of the seneschals of Le Mans. The causes of this demise are twofold. First, a new figure had emerged as the focus of royal interests in both Angers and Maine. This was William des Roches, whose famous shifting loyalties between 1199 and 1203 have tended to obscure the remarkable fact that he was perceived by all of the princes–Arthur, John, and Philip Augustus–as the only candidate for royal administration in both Anjou and Maine54. All three princes turned to William, whose apparent charisma was bolstered by his considerable resources as lord of Sablé by marriage. William was a different sort of seneschal than Stephen de Tours, who, although clearly a trusted administrator, was not really of baronial rank. Despite his modest knightly background, William’s marriage made him an equal of the other great barons of the region. As seneschal, then, William combined royal trust and administrative ability with an independent seigneurial power base in southern Maine and northern Anjou. In finalizing the nature of William’s seneschalship between 1204 and 1207–and particularly in allowing it to become hereditary–Philip Augustus had consciously altered the nature of the seneschalship; from royal servant for whom the seneschalcy itself was the sole source of power, the seneschal had become a baron for whom the seneschalcy was only one component of his regional importance. The seigneurialization of the seneschalcy, when combined with William’s tenurial interests in both Anjou and Maine, seems therefore to have meant the end of the independent seneschal of Le Mans. The latter city would henceforth be governed by baillis working under William’s broad regional jurisdiction, or, as we shall see, by the private administrators of the lady of Le Mans.

  • 55 Berengaria received Le Mans in return for her castles of Falaise, Domfront and Bonneville-sur-Tocq (...)
  • 56 Delaborde et al. eds. 1943, no 840 and 841; and Baldwin 1986, 235 n. 66.
  • 57 For Berengaria exercising lordship in Le Mans, see Menjot d’Elbenne eds. 1904-1907, no 39.
  • 58 Herbert as seneschal: Chédeville ed. 1968, no 96. Herbert acting without title in charters concern (...)
  • 59 Chédeville ed. 1968, no 96.
  • 60 Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 252. Simon Lancelin provided sworn testimony concerning the (...)
  • 61 Bertrand de Broussillon ed. 1895, no 47; Baldwin 1986, 236 n. 73. See also: Port ed. 1870, no 41, (...)

14The second reason for the demise of the seneschal of Le Mans is the fact that Philip Augustus alienated Le Mans from the royal demesne in early autumn 1204, an action which clearly obviated the need for a separate seneschal for Le Mans. At that time Philip exchanged his rights in and around Le Mans for a set of Norman castles which Berengaria, widow of Richard I, had received as her marriage portion55. The exchange led to a conflict between William des Roches and Berengaria, each of whom claimed and desired lordship in Le Mans. King Philip was forced to negotiate a second settlement in which Berengaria gave William her rights in the Manceau castle of Château-du-Loir and William in turn surrendered the seneschalcy of Le Mans to her56. Berengaria lived in Le Mans for the rest of her life and ruled the city as count57. Given her lordship over the city, it is necessary to see Herbert de Tussé, who appears once as seneschal of Le Mans in 1207 and several other times as a witness until 1218, as Berengaria’s man58. This was certainly the case with Simon Lancelin, who was explicitly described in 1207 as Berengaria’s castellan in charge of the citadel of Le Mans59. Simon was an old hand in Le Mans, since when he was called as a witness during the 1217 inquest into comital rights in Le Mans, he was able to provide first hand evidence about the previous inquest into this subject, held some fifty years previously during the reign of Henry II60. In setting up her own seigneurial administration over the city, Berengaria thus recognized the value in employing men familiar with the local politics of Le Mans. Indeed, Geoffrey Mauchien was still alive and active in Manceau affairs, although clearly not in his former role; in 1204, for instance, Geoffrey assisted Herbert de Tussé in resolving a local dispute, and in 1208 Geoffrey acted as royal bailli in the city61.

  • 62 King Philip had authorized William des Roches to create baillis wherever needed in his seneschalcy (...)
  • 63 Dubois ed. 1869-1873. For example, Philip Augustus ordered William to conduct an inquest into Will (...)
  • 64 Chédeville ed. 1968, no 352.
  • 65 Supra, n. 26; Baldwin 1986, 236.
  • 66 Chédeville ed. 1968, no 289, 290, 321. See also Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 224.

15Yet if Berengaria’s lordship meant the end of the royal seneschal of Le Mans, King Philip did not surrender all jurisdiction over the region. Royal interests were safeguarded by William des Roches, the seneschal of Anjou, and by baillis delegated by William62. As we have seen, William was quite active in judicial and tenurial business in and around Le Mans even after 120463. One charter demonstrates the extent of his ability to compel men to appear before the royal curia, albeit in castles outside of Le Mans proper64. The act in question was issued c. 1210 by one of William’s trusted men, Hamelin de Roorta65, who stated explicitly that he was acting in the names of the king and the seneschal of Anjou. In it Hamelin ordered two men to proceed to Dangeul, seize the castle and its lord, and publish bans against the lord’s brother for violence inflicted against royal property. Hamelin also ordered his agents to summon the lord, Robert of Dangeul, to appear at Saumur ready to answer these charges before William des Roches. It should be noted that the same Hamelin de Roorta continued to act as bailli “of the king and of the seneschal of Anjou” in Maine until at least 1211, and probably after66. The evidence thus suggests a sort of power-sharing arrangement in Le Mans in the early decades of the thirteenth century. Berengaria was the titular lord of the city, with (probably) a seneschal and her own warden of the citadel of Le Mans. As such, she and her officers interfaced with the older Manceau administrators such as Geoffrey Mauchien to provide one source of justice and lordship in the city and its immediate environment. Yet another pole of authority existed at the same moment in the form of William des Roches and his baillis, who acted to protect the remaining royal interests in Le Mans and in the royal castles in the wider county.

16The previous paragraphs have suggested that the structure of Angevin (and Capetian) administration in Anjou and Maine was more fluid than Boussard had allowed. Indeed, they have suggested that for at least part of the reign of Henry II, the seneschals of Anjou did not enjoy full jurisdiction over the city of Le Mans. But from these issues of structure it is now necessary to examine the nature of the seneschals’ authority. How far did that authority extend, and how efficacious was it? The remainder of this essay will consider three points in an effort to address these questions: first, the degree to which the greater barons of Anjou participated in royal administration; second, the range of locations within Anjou and Maine where the seneschals’ writ held sway; and third, the degree to which the curia regis was able to compel and constrain men to appear before it.

  • 67 Boussard 1938, 104.
  • 68 Tonnerre 2006, 215-216; Vincent 2007, 288-291 and 296.
  • 69 Bates 1997, 89-102.
  • 70 Tonnerre 2006, 217; Vincent 2007, 290.
  • 71 Vincent 2007, 289-291.
  • 72 Tonnerre 2006, 215-216.

17It is broadly clear that the major barons of Anjou, whether Angevin, Manceau or Tourangeau, played only a limited role in the politics and administration of the Angevin Empire. Despite Boussard’s comment that the Angevin barons frequently attested Henry II’s charters and were often at his court67, a systematic examination of Henry’s acta suggests otherwise68. Indeed, even given Bates’ warnings concerning the use of charter attestations69, the pattern of attestation by Angevins is revelatory. It is significant that of the major Angevin and Manceau barons, only Maurice de Craon appears more than a handful of times70. Indeed, the counts of Vendôme, the vicomtes of Maine, and the lords of Sablé, Château-Gontier, Laval, Montreuil-Bellay, Mayenne and Sainte-Maure attest royal acta so infrequently that they do not even appear on Nicholas Vincent’s recent table of frequent attestors71. While other patterns can be drawn from this evidence, including the fact that attestations by Angevins clump together at the beginning and end of the reign72, the point is still clear. Aside from Maurice de Craon, none of the important barons of Anjou or Maine attended the king when he was in the West.

  • 73 Tonnerre 2006, 212-216.
  • 74 Aurell 2003, 216; Gillingham 2001, 51; Baldwin 1986, 233.
  • 75 For the decline of the comital dynasty of Maine, see Pichot 1995; Lemesle 1999; and Barton 2004. F (...)
  • 76 On the traditionally close relationship between the lords of Sablé and the counts of Anjou, see Je (...)

18The reason for the absence of the great barons from the royal charters and courts is to be explained partly by the king’s absence from Anjou73, partly by the tradition of independence that many of these baronies had possessed over many decades74, and partly by the absence of comital demesne in certain parts of greater Anjou. Clearly the last two points are linked, since the rise of mostly independent baronies was only possible in the absence of significant comital demesne lands. Thus, it is worth noting that the baronies of Laval and Mayenne, the two greatest lordships of western Maine, were independent of the counts of Maine from at least the 1050s75. That is not to say that they refused to recognize powerful counts when needed, for they certainly did. But it is to say that because of the early decline in the authority of the Manceau comital dynasty, these baronies were able to develop in ways that underscored their practical independence from the Plantagenet count-kings. It is therefore not particularly surprising that the lords of neither barony appear in the acts of Henry II. While other important baronies–such as Sablé and Craon–may have had traditionally closer connections with the Angevin comital dynasty,76 their special ties were loosened as the Angevin counts accumulated more and more territory in the twelfth century.

  • 77 Boussard 1938, 15-22.
  • 78 On the difficulty of gauging royal revenues in Anjou, see Baldwin 1986, 236 and 241. On the divisi (...)
  • 79 For Philip Augustus’ inquest of 1217, see Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 252. The text desc (...)

19It is also worth pointing out that neither the counts of Maine in the eleventh century nor the counts of Anjou in the twelfth century had any demesne lands in western Maine, nor in western Anjou, nor much of anything in the eastern Touraine77. The comital demesne was limited to very specific regions, namely, in Anjou, the valley of the Loire between Angers and Saumur and the valley of the Sarthe from Angers to Châteauneuf; in Maine, the city of Le Mans and the valley of the Loir from La Flèche to Château-du-Loir; in the Touraine, the city of Tours, the Chinonais, Loches, Montbazon, and a variety of lesser properties. This meant that the places over which the count-king could claim direct seigneurial jurisdiction were concentrated in a limited area. These areas were wealthy, and strategically centered, but relatively limited in their geographic distribution78. The lack of comital estates was particularly profound in Maine, where first Henry II and then Philip Augustus held inquests to determine what were the traditional comital rights in Le Mans. The record of Philip’s inquest survives, and includes testimony from men who had participated in the prior inquest conducted by Henry II. Both inquests confirm the impression left by the charters that the count’s rights were limited to the city and its suburbs79.

  • 80 Three accounts of the case exist: that of Henry II (Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 190); of M (...)
  • 81 Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 224.
  • 82 For Angevin comital rights at Pont-de-Cé, see Boussard 1938, 16 and n. 10.
  • 83 For a similar kind of case, see Boussard 1938, p.j. no 6.
  • 84 Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 355. See also Menjot d’Elbenne ed. 1904-1907, no 21.
  • 85 Boussard 1938, p.j. no 10.
  • 86 Denis ed. 1894, 131-132.

20The geographic dispersal of the comital demesne correlates well with the distribution of locations where the seneschals of Anjou operated. Despite Boussard’s assumptions about their broad competency, the evidence reveals that the seneschals tended to operate primarily in and around the areas of comital demesne. The most notable of these domains were the major towns of the county, Le Mans, Angers, and Tours; as a result, it is not surprising that the curia regis, as led by one of the seneschals or a deputy, was often found sitting in one of these three towns. In a well-known case, Malet the prévôt of Tours and the curia regis listened to the dispute between Renaud Espeudri and the monks of Marmoutier concerning Foncher80. In this case, Malet’s competence was not merely a function of royal authority, but derived from the monks’ argument in the case: they argued that they held Foncher from the gift of previous counts of Anjou. As a result, it was right that the current count, Henry II, defend the gifts of his ancestors; the place for such a defense was the curia regis. In a case from the early 1160s, the seneschal Josselin de Tours presided in Angers over an accord formed between the nuns of Fontevraud and the men of Angers concerning customs at Pont-de-Cé81. In this act, Josselin stated that he put an end to the dispute at the direct command of Henry II, who himself had rights at Pont-de-Cé82. Because the litigants came from areas within the comital demesne, the curia regis in Angers was the natural place to resolve this dispute83. In another case from some point before 1172/3, Henry II commanded the Manceau baron William de Sillé to cause a priest to restore goods to the comital chapel of Saint-Pierre-de-la-Cour, saying that he did not want the canons to plead anywhere save in the curia regis; the king closed by noting that if William didn’t make this happen, Henry’s seneschal, Pagan Mauchien, would84. In this act, Henry asserted that the canons possessed the land in question, at Roëzé in Sargé, from his own alms. Roëzé lay within the quinte of Le Mans, and thus fell under the jurisdiction of the count of Le Mans and his seneschal for Le Mans. The link between the competency of the curia regis and the specific geographic location of the goods in question is seen in two more cases from the early thirteenth century. In an act of William des Roches given at Angers, William settled a dispute between the nuns of le Ronceray and the Hospitallers of Angers concerning possession of an alms-house in Angers85; not only was the disputed property located within a prominent comital demesne, the house had also been built by Stephen de Tours, the former seneschal of Anjou. Here again, the curia regis in Angers possessed clear jurisdiction over the case. Finally, in a case settled before 1204 concerning land and a taille at Rouillon, within the quinte of Le Mans, the seneschal of Le Mans, Geoffrey Mauchien, first described a previous dispute about this property which had been settled by a previous seneschal of Le Mans, and then, with the curia regis, settled the problem anew86. Both the precedent of a previous decision by a seneschal of Le Mans and the location of the land within the quinte of Le Mans combined to bring this dispute before the representative of royal administration.

  • 87 Boussard 1938, 117-121.
  • 88 Boussard 1938, 118 and n. 3; ibid. 119-120, and Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 224; ibid., no(...)
  • 89 AD d’Indre-et-Loir, H 270, non-coté; Boussard 1938, p.j. no 5.

21The sites at which comital administration took place were thus, not surprisingly, part of the comital demesne, and the goods discussed in the curia regis almost always pertained to the count’s fisc. If this is true, we must turn next to two related questions: whether the seneschals were able to compel men from outside the comital demesne to attend the comital court, and, if they could, whether they could compel men of baronial rank to attend the curia regis. Such a power, if it existed, would be the true measure of the extension of a monarchical, absolute power of the sort which Boussard imagined. The evidence from the first part of the reign of Henry II (to 1174), as Boussard himself admitted, does not suggest that the seneschals of Anjou–Josselin de Tours and Stephen de Tours–were in a position to compel men of any status to attend their courts87. Instead, they relied on a direct command from the king to initiate a judicial proceeding. Thus, if a litigant could not reach the count-king and convince him to command the seneschal to act, there was little likelihood that the comital court would take action. This was the case when Josselin settled a dispute between the nuns of le Ronceray and Nivard, when Josselin judged the dispute between the nuns of Fontevraud and the men of Angers, and when Stephen de Tours attempted to settle the dispute between Marmoutier and Hamelin d’Anthenaise88. Similarly, in the charter narrating their dispute with Renaud Espeudri–a dispute which was settled before Malet the prévôt in Tours–the monks of Marmoutier make it very clear that they had to seek out King Henry before the case would be heard by the comital court89.

  • 90 Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 118

22Yet just because the seneschal or his men had to wait for the count-king to initiate legal action does not mean that the seneschal was without any coercive authority. Indeed, Henry II could himself occasionally summon a great baron to court, as in the case of Bellay de Montreuil-Bellay, whom Henry summoned to Tours between 1156 and 1159 to answer concerning the tithes of Méron90. While this summons undoubtedly reflects Henry’s power as lord, it is also significant that the summons was issued not out of any concept of universal jurisdiction, but because this issue had already been settled by a previous count of Anjou and because, as a result, the lands of Méron were under special comital protection. In essence, Bellay had offended the count-king as much as the monks, and it was therefore incumbent upon the king to summon this important baron to answer for those injuries.

  • 91 AD de la Mayenne, H 154, f. 26v-27v (portions printed by Boussard 1938, p.j. no 4).
  • 92 Id., f. 27r.
  • 93 Laurain ed. 1911-1945, I, 59-66 (portions edited by Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 333-334).
  • 94 Laurain ed. 1911-1945, I, 59-62.
  • 95 Id., I, 63-64.
  • 96 Id., I, 64.

23In at least two cases, the seneschal of Anjou can be seen commanding men to appear before him. Both are well known, and worthy of more extended analysis. The first occurred before 1162, when Aimery de Toureil disputed possession of the church of Vaux with the canons of La Roë91. After the canons’ clamor to Bishop Matthew of Angers did not produce results, they sought the aid of Josselin de Tours. The seneschal “mandavit” Aimery to him and commanded him to make right with the canons. The judges did not directly claim judicial competence in the case, but did state that Aimery should not touch those things which had been given to La Roë, since, as they said, “all of the alms of La Roë lay in the hand of the king”92. The case is important, if only for demonstrating how the seneschal could summon an aristocrat to court and impose a judgment on him. And yet it is also true that the seneschal did not initiate the summons; he did so only at the request of Abbot Michael. Moreover, the rationale for the seneschal’s decision lay not in his claim to a generic judicial authority, but rather in the fact that La Roë’s lands and rights had been previously granted the status of royal demesne, at least in terms of judicial protection. For this reason, any complaint could be rightfully taken up by the curia regis. The second notable case of a seneschal summoning an aristocrat to the curia regis derives from the dispute between Hamelin d’Anthenaise and Marmoutier over the wine-press of Bouère93. It is not necessary to summarize the entire case, merely to point out that Hamelin refused to heed or even acknowledge repeated summonses issued by Stephen de Tours. At one point, frustrated by this impasse, Stephen “dissembled due to Hamelin’s nobility, thereby acting less than justly to the monks”94. The monks complained to the king, who angrily ordered Stephen to take up the case again. But Hamelin refused all summons, even a final one instigated by one of the important barons of the region, Robert de Sablé. Ultimately the curia regis judged him in absentia, after the entire court argued his side against the monks. The monks produced witnesses to show possession over sixty years, and the seneschal’s servants swore that they had delivered the summonses; the court finally judged the vines and press to belong to Marmoutier. Among the judges were the lords of Sablé, Craon, and Château-Gontier. Ultimately Henry II confirmed the court’s decision in a charter prompted in part, he said, by the wishes of Hamelin d’Anthenaise95. We also possess Hamelin’s concession, made not before the curia regis, but before Bishop William of Le Mans at Solesmes96. In this document Hamelin states that he has been made aware by the testimony of many that his ancestors had given lands and rights at Bouère; he also acknowledges that he had acted unjustly in making his own press at Bouère, just as the curia regis had pronounced. Thus, while it is worth noting that Hamelin never seems to have come to the curia regis, ultimately he accepted the judgment rendered by three of the most powerful lords of the region in a court presided over by the seneschal of Anjou.

  • 97 Commentary by Boussard 1938, 121-122; Lemesle 2003, 138-143; Barton 2004, 213-218.
  • 98 Lemesle 2003, 141-142.
  • 99 Lemesle does not interpret Hamelin’s actions as stemming from aristocratic disdain either for Step (...)
  • 100 Laurain ed. 1911-1945, I, 63-4.

24This is an important case, made well-known by the richness of its narrative description, by the legal concepts embodied in it, and by the identity of the participants97. Bruno Lemesle has offered an important new reading of this dispute, in which he emphasizes the growing ability of the curia regis to constrain98. In this matter, Lemesle is undoubtedly correct. One of the lessons of this case is the ability of the curia regis to finally, by hook or crook, effect the settlement desired by the king. If the case also shows that the court might have to work to overcome aristocratic resentment and, perhaps, solidarity99, it does bear witness, in the end, to the court’s triumph. But we should note some complicating factors. First, the court did not claim jurisdiction over Hamelin in any absolute sense; the only reason why it intervened was because Henry II had claimed a seigneurial, patriarchal authority over the monks living at Bouère. Indeed, in his notification he states that he has taken all the monks’ possessions, and particularly those at Bouère, into his hand, as if they were his own demesne possessions100. In this sense, even if Hamelin didn’t agree, the curia regis was operating to defend the property and interests of its lord, King Henry. Second, it is significant that the curia regis was filled with great barons, men whose fiefs abutted that of Hamelin d’Anthenaise, and men to whom he owed respect, if not outright service. Given their presence, this judgment still retains much of the flavor of a negotiated settlement in which the personal and tenurial relationships of the participants shaped the course and the outcome of the dispute.

25The evidence for the ability of the seneschal to compel men to appear before him, and particular to compel men of baronial rank, is thus mixed. The king could and did summon barons. So, too, did the seneschal. There is clearly power in such summoning, whether it lay in the coercive force of the king’s financial and military resources, or in a a more social pressure enforced by kin, neighbors and lords. And yet that power was not truly sovereign, at least not in the way implied by Boussard, for there were large parts of the county where the count had little in the way of demesne and, consequently, over which the comital administration was either unwilling or unable to extend its arm.

  • 101 Barthélemy 1997.
  • 102 Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 580. For another example, see Id., no 730.
  • 103 Pagan de Rochefort at Saumur, Marchegay ed. 1875, no 40. William des Roches at Tours, Boussard 193 (...)

26What of the period after 1174, which Boussard saw as reflecting a new confidence and authority in the seneschalcy and its legal decisions? It is difficult to gauge. For one, the style of documentation changes during the second half of the twelfth century, from one which embraced detailed narratives and frequently included statements about motives and behaviors, to one which favored concise statements of legal claim and decision101. The texts are thus less likely to include details of the sort found in the accounts of Aimery de Toureil and Hamelin d’Anthenaise. But if the texts are less forthcoming, they are more numerous, especially after 1199. King Henry himself rendered a judgment between 1172 and 1183 at which the seneschal was present102, and we find the seneschal Pagan de Rochefort settling a dispute concerning rights at Saumur in 1190, the seneschal William des Roches settling disputes over goods and rights in Tours and Angers in 1199-1200, and the deputies of Robert de Thornham resolving a dispute at Loches in 1201103. We have already seen, moreover, the seneschal of Le Mans judging disputes involving affairs in the quinte of Le Mans. In all of these cases the matter debated was purely local, concerning either the royal demesne itself or men or abbeys which fell under direct comital authority. In none of them did the king or seneschal summon a major baron to answer under the mantle of a broader jurisdiction.

  • 104 For instance, Chédeville ed. 1968, no 53, 57, 62, 65, 67, 119, and 73. The growth of ecclesiastica (...)
  • 105 AN L 974, no 851; AN L 967, no 100. See also BN, ms latin 17125, f. 48r and f. 49r.
  • 106 Vivoin: Denis ed. 1894, no 57. Champagne: BN, ms latin 17125, f. 11v and f. 34r.
  • 107 Chédeville ed. 1968, no 85.
  • 108 BN, ms latin 17125, f. 25r, 52r. Jordan possessed his own seal: AD de la Sarthe, H 754, no 330.
  • 109 Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 152.

27If the comital courts, while active, were still largely concerned with affairs directly pertaining to the comital demesne, it is equally true that a large number of alternative courts were busily exerting jurisdiction through active resolution of disputes. It is not necessary to say much about the prominence of church courts, especially after 1180 and especially after the appearance of the bishop’s “official”. Needless to say the bishops of Le Mans and Angers and their representatives were as busy as the curia regis104. Secular lords, too, held courts in which matters germane to their fiefs were heard and settled. The charters of Savigny bear witness to the active court of the lords of Mayenne105, just as the records of the priory of Vivoin and of the monastery of Champagne demonstrate the active courts of the vicomtes of Maine and the lords of Assé-le-Riboul106. Typical is a case heard by Robert, the son of count John d’Alençon between 1188 and 1203; Robert brokered a compromise and peace between the monks of Saint-Vincent and Pagan de Dive because the lands in question fell within his jurisdiction107. These baronial courts were sometimes operated by seigneurial seneschals. One of the most active in Maine was Jordan Cortaruel, seneschal for the lordship of Sillé108; one act notes clearly that Jordan’s lord had sent him to Berçon to hear and settle a dispute in the lord’s name109.

  • 110 Id., no 246. The murder probably occurred around 1208, although the exact date is not clear.
  • 111 Id., 82.
  • 112 For a similar case from Normandy, see Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 162 and 194.
  • 113 Chédeville ed. 1968, no 352.

28Not only were the seneschals often unable or unwilling to interfere in seigneurial justice in a general sense, they did not necessarily pursue all crimes which fell into the category of High Justice. The case of the murder of Geoffrey Belvant, abbot of La Couture, is instructive110. The only record of this serious offense is a charter of concord established between the murderer, Hamelin of La Feigne, and the subsequent abbot of La Couture several years after the murder. In the charter Hamelin admitted to his actions, and gave the monks a perpetual cens of 10 s. as well as the right to take wood in his forest. In return, the abbot and monks, in as much as it belonged to them to do so, absolved Hamelin of wrong in the murder. Although the charter hints that it might belong to some other authority to absolve Hamelin fully of his crime, we have no extant record that the secular authorities intervened in this case. This case is not unique. In another, Pagan de Sourches, a mid-level baron from Maine, was widely suspected of killing a monk of La Couture. While he pled innocent, he acknowledged that the murder had occurred in his lands and therefore thought it wise to offer substantial gifts to La Couture111. The episode is known only from a confirmation issued by Bishop William of Le Mans; to our knowledge the curia regis never became involved112. These cases should not be taken to mean that royal officials could not take preventive actions in the case of crime, for they certainly did. Indeed, we have seen that around 1210 Hamelin Roorta, bailli of Le Mans, took direct and foreceful action in response to violence done to the king’s property near Dangeul113. Clearly the royal officers had coercive power. The point is that their power was not comprehensive and universal. Instead, the seneschal’s willingness to intervene depended on a host of local circumstances, not least whether the case was connected to the comital demesne and the men living in it.

29In conclusion, this essay has offered a new reading of the role of the seneschals of Anjou and Maine. The seneschals acting largely in and around the centers of comital demesne in greater Anjou: the three main towns, the castles of the Touraine, the valleys of the Loir, Sarthe, and Loire, and so forth. While clearly boasting expanded independence of action and more sophisticated judicial techniques and authority, the seneschals were nonetheless stymied by the geographic distribution of lordship in greater Anjou. They were effective where the king was a lord, or where he could claim a kind of overlordship, particularly over ecclesiastical institutions. They were ineffective–indeed, invisible–in those substantial sections of Anjou and Maine where the great barons’ lordships lay and, by implication, where the count-king had no demesne. This reading of the judicial and administrative evolution of greater Anjou in the twelfth century differs from that of Boussard not so much in what happened but in how we should interpet what happened. After all, his account of the development of the institutions of justice–particularly of the seneschalcy–remains unmatched. Yet elements of his narrative require rethinking. For one, his assumption that the seneschals of Anjou enjoyed jurisdiction over Maine ignores the role of the seneschals of Le Mans. His claim that the seneschals of Anjou could effectively coerce the barons of the region after c. 1175 also inspires less confidence. And finally, his argument for a shift in mentality of power, in which “feudal” ideas were replaced by “sovereign” or “absolute” ones, seriously underplays the continuing variety of jurisdictions which existed in Greater Anjou in 1200, and cannot therefore truly convince. The seneschals of Anjou were truly caught between two distinct forces with largely divergent goals. The Angevin and Capetian kings could and did expect much in the way of financial, judicial and military administration from their seneschals of Anjou. And yet the great lords of Maine, of Anjou, and of the Touraine retained a local judicial independence and social status well beyond the Capetian conquest, and thereby acted at times as a barrier to the seneschals’ fulfillment of royal expectations. Trapped as they were between the king and the domini, the seneschals needed to employ non-institutional methods to maximize their masters’ goals. Rather than simply holding “sovereign” power, the best of the seneschals–men like Stephen de Tours, William des Roches and even Geoffrey Mauchien–employed a range of constantly changing strategies to compete with local barons for honor, favor, and jurisdiction in those places where comital and baronial jurisdictions overlapped and conflicted.

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Smith, R. J. (2001): “Henry II’s Heir: the Acta and Seal of Henry the Young King, 1170-1183,” English Historical Review, no 116, 297-326.

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Notes

1 I am grateful to Martin Aurell for inviting me to participate in the 2007 colloque and to Frédéric Boutoulle for his generous practical and editorial assistance. This paper has benefitted from the comments of the participants of the colloque, and particularly those of Nicholas Vincent, Daniel Power, and Martin Aurell.

2 Boussard 1938, 5-13.

3 Eyton 1878; Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, III, 1-27; and Tonnerre 2006, 212-213.

4 Guillot 1972, 397-429; Chartrou 1929, 107-130; Boussard 1938, 113-163; Boussard 1956, 285-287, 357-359; Baldwin 1986, 233-239.

5 Chartrou 1929, 122-126; Boussard 1938, 113-128.

6 Boussard 1938, 113-128, and Boussard 1956, 357-359. Baldwin 1986, 233-237, broadly accepts Boussard’s evolutionary thesis.

7 Boussard 1938, 106.

8 Boussard 1938, 109.

9 Halphen 1902; Halphen 1901; Boussard 1938, 131-150; Guillot 1972, 398-417.

10 Guillot 1972, 404-417.

11 Guillot 1972, 407, 415-417.

12 Guillot 1972, 423-424.

13 Chartrou 1929, 122-126.

14 Josselin appears in acts of 1161 and 1162; see Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 201 and 226. He is mentioned in an act of 1166 (ibid., no 260), but this confirmation clearly post-dates the events described in the body of the act. Some scholars have dated another act in which Josselin appears to the middle 1160s, but the dating of the act is not at all secure: Boussard 1938, 178-179 (with commentary at ibid., 114 n. 3). Josselin’s successor, Stephen de Tours, appears in 1165 (see infra, n. 16).

15 The charter and narrative evidence strongly suggests that Stephen de Marsay and Stephen de Tours were the same man: Boussard 1938, 115 n. 2; and Delisle 1909, 459-463.

16 Stephen as royal chamberlain; Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, 203. He replaced Josselin between 1162 and 1165: id., no 200, also printed in Laurain ed. 1911-1945, I, 59-62. Laurain demonstrated convincingly that this act must have been issued in 1165.

17 Devizes ed. Appleby 1963, 4-6 and 85; Boussard 1938, 116-117; and Gillingham 1999, 106.

18 Pagan de Rochefort appears in at least five acts dated circa 1190: see Boussard 1938, 127 n. 5, Marchegay ed. 1875, no 40, and Paris, BN, Collection Housseau, no 1412. Gillingham 1999, 124, suggested that Stephen de Tours may have returned to his office in May 1190. Since evidence is scant for the years 1190 and 1196, this supposition is entirely possible. For Robert de Thornham, see Boussard 1938, 117, and Gillingham 2001, 77, 83.

19 For Robert as seneschal of Anjou, see BN ms n. a. latin 2301, no 2, and Bertrand de Broussillon ed. 1903, no 764.

20 Dubois 1869-1873; Vincent 1996, 21-26; and Everard & Jones eds. 1999, 193-194.

21 Delaborde et al. eds. 1943, no 829 and 948; Baldwin 1986, 235-236.

22 Baldwin 1986, 237; Nortier 1979, no 1564 and 1565.

23 Josselin de Tours was called both dapifer and seneschal. Dapifer: Cronne & Davis eds. 1968, no 1006; Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 81, 107, 190; Boussard 1938, 120 n. 5; Marchegay ed. 1854, no 320. Seneschal: Chauvin ed. 1997, no 403; Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 224; AD de la Mayenne, H 154, f. 26v-27v; Marchegay ed. 1854, no 359 and 401; BN, Collection Housseau, no 1882; Chauvin ed. 1997, no 405. Stephen de Tours was only ever called seneschal.

24 Josselin de Tours was called “dapifer Andegavensis” in 1159 and “senescaldus Andegavensis” at a point probably in the early 1160s; see Boussard 1938, 120 n. 5, and ibid., 178-179 (dated by ibid., 114 n. 3). The rest of the time he either appears simply as dapifer (or senescallus) or as dapifer regis. Stephen de Tours appears with the geographic designation “andegavensis” as early as 1165 (Laurain ed. 1911-1945, I, 59), but the formula only became regular in the middle of the 1170s.

25 Power 2004, 68.

26 Boussard 1938, 195; BN, ms n. a. Latin 2301, no 3; and Salmon ed. 1854, 147. The prévôt Malet was probably the same person as Malet des Roches: Delisle & Berger 1916-1927, no 129.

27 Boussard 1938, 193. For Calo, or Chalo, see id., 132 n. 8; Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 131, 224 and 267. Calo had a son, named Bernard, to whom King Henry gave the wardship of the barony of Mayenne in the 1170s: AN L 970, no 537, and AN L 977, no 1254. See infra, n. 32.

28 Boussard 1938, 193-195. Boussard’s lists could be greatly expanded. One could cite, among others, Thomas de Saint-Cassiano, prévôt of Chinon (Marchegay ed. 1875, no 40); Sazay, prévôt of Saumur (AD Maine-et-Loire, H 2136, no 1); and Ernaldus de Rochefort, prévôt of Brissac (Chauvin ed. 1997, no 403).

29 Laurain ed. 1911-1945, I, 63-64.

30 The seneschals of La Flèche in the first half of the twelfth century came from the family of Clers, for which see Tonnerre 2006, 218-219 (the comments of Chartrou 1929, 101-106, are not always accurate). Geoffrey de Clers was seneschal under Count Geoffrey le Bel: Marchegay ed. 1854, no 399. Geoffrey’s brother Hugh was dapifer of Baugé and Lisle in 1146 (Métais ed. 1893-1897, no 514), and was seneschal of La Flèche in the 1160s (Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 201 and 226; Bertrand de Broussillon ed. 1903, no 762).

31 It is not clear whether the title should be read as “seneschal of Maine” or “seneschal of Le Mans”, as the charters are not consistent in their Latin usage. In theory “Cenomannis” should refer to the city, while “Cenomannia” should refer to the county. The adjective “Cenomanensis” could refer to either, however.

32 Power 2004, 67-70; Renoux 2006, 243 and n. 49.

33 My argument differs from that of Power, who sees the seneschal of Maine as “clearly under the authority of the seneschal of Anjou” (Power 2004, 67). But, as Power admits (ibid., 67-68), the best evidence for the superiority of the seneschal of Anjou comes only after 1203.

34 Renaud de Roche, prévôt of Le Mans: Bertrand de Broussillon ed. 1903, no 627 (1133). Burgundius, senescallus Cenomannis: Cronne & Davis eds. 1968, no 1006 (1146).

35 Pagan Malus Canis as custos turris Cenomannis: Cronne & Davis eds. 1968, no 1006 (1146). Pagan as senescallus regis or senescallus Cenomannis: Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 355 (1156-72/3); Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 110 (c. 1170); Chédeville ed. 1968, no 91 (probably 1169, despite the editor’s arguments for 1200-1203). Power 2004, 68 n. 254 (is surely correct that the queen in question should be seen as Eleanor, not Isabella). Pagan conducting Henry II’s inquest: Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 252. Pagan appeared without title in acts of 1149 and 1145-87: Cronne & Davis eds. 1968, no 1005; Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 89.

36 John de Melna, or Malna, or Maime, as seneschal: Paris, BN, Latin 17124, 174 (1178); Chédeville 1968, no 22 (sd). John is not called seneschal in Bénédictins de Solesmes 1881, no 139-141 (1172-1183), but his presence in the act (alongside Stephen seneschal of Anjou and Peter fitz Guy) indicates his stature as a royal administrator in Maine. Two later acts recall decisions made while John was seneschal: Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 142, and Denis ed. 1894, St Martin no 2.

37 Geoffrey Mauchien as seneschal: Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 142 (1184), no 145 (c. 1185), 146 (1186), 152 (c. 1189) and 162 (prob. ante 1190); Lottin ed. 1869, no 468 (1187). The dating of Laurain 1911-1945, II, 135, is problematic; the document is likely interpolated.

38 Josselin d’Aunay (de Alneto): Chédeville ed. 1968, no 146 (1192), 275 (1194-1200), and 340 (1192). Geoffrey Mauchien attested two of these acts.

39 Geoffrey Mauchien as seneschal: Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 178 (after 1195); Chédeville ed. 1968, no 320 (c. 1200-1206) and 331 (17 March 1203); Denis ed. 1894, 131-132. Although not called seneschal, he presided over the curia regis at Auvers c. 1200: Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 160. Power 2004, 68-69, offers additional evidence for Geoffrey’s seneschalcy during the reign of John, including receipt of letters patent from the king in May 1203.

40 Although not described as seneschal, Geoffrey Mauchien received the oaths of the warrantors to a newly settled dispute: Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 153 (Pentecost, 1190). His appearances in ibid., no 155, 156 and 162 probably came at about the same time. He appeared as witness in two acts of Josselin, seneschal of Le Mans (supra, n. 38). Geoffrey also appeared in an early act of Prince Arthur given in Le Mans, although not as seneschal: Everard 1999, no A11 (April 1199). Geoffrey possessed some property around Le Mans: Chédeville ed. 1968, no 82.

41 Chédeville ed. 1968, no 331; Powicke 1960, 159 and note 196.

42 Boussard 1938; Baldwin 1986, 233-237; Power 2004, 66-71.

43 Vincent 2007, 289, 296-297.

44 Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 580; Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 139-141.

45 Peter served Henry II in Maine and Anjou in the 1160s, perhaps as an assistant to the seneschal Stephen de Tours. Peter was one of the seneschals of the Young King Henry’s household in the 1170s. Although the acta are hard to date with certainty, it seems possible that Peter was added to the Young King’s household after the rebellion of 1172, perhaps because of his long service to the Old King. For Peter’s attestations, often in the company of Stephen de Tours, see Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 352, 354, 503, 519, 539, 573, 581, 618, 630, 655, 736, 749, and 766. For Peter in the young King’s household, Turner 2000, 53, and Smith 2001, 300. Peter returned to Le Mans after the Young King’s death in 1183: Lottin ed. 1869, no 468; Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 153. Along with Pagan Mauchien, Peter was one of the men who conducted Henry II’s inquest into comital rights in Le Mans, probably between 1154 and 1178; id., no 252.

46 Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 199-200.

47 Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 134; Lottin ed. 1869, no 468.

48 Two other Mauchiens – Warin and Ralph – appear in the 1190s and 1200s: Chédeville ed. 1968, no 146. Neither seems to have held office. I have not been able to demonstrate kinship between any of the individuals who shared this cognomen. For still more Mauchiens, see Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 237.

49 Power 2004, 70-71.

50 Pagan Mauchien was custos in 1146: Cronne & Davis eds. 1968, no 1006. Peter fitz Guy was custos in 1165: Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 199.

51 Id., no 355.

52 Delaborde et al. eds. 1943, no 607.

53 Id. no 840-841; infra, notes 54-56.

54 Baldwin 1986, 234-237; Vincent 1996, 21-26.

55 Berengaria received Le Mans in return for her castles of Falaise, Domfront and Bonneville-sur-Tocques: Delaborde et al. eds. 1943, no 837; Baldwin 1986, 249; Trindade 1999, 144-149.

56 Delaborde et al. eds. 1943, no 840 and 841; and Baldwin 1986, 235 n. 66.

57 For Berengaria exercising lordship in Le Mans, see Menjot d’Elbenne eds. 1904-1907, no 39.

58 Herbert as seneschal: Chédeville ed. 1968, no 96. Herbert acting without title in charters concerning Le Mans: Chédeville ed. 1968, no 82 and 321; Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 224 and 252; Paris, BN, Latin 17124, 178. Trindade 1999, 146, 148-149, also identifies Herbert as Berengaria’s seneschal.

59 Chédeville ed. 1968, no 96.

60 Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 252. Simon Lancelin provided sworn testimony concerning the inquest into comital rights held in the time of King Henry.

61 Bertrand de Broussillon ed. 1895, no 47; Baldwin 1986, 236 n. 73. See also: Port ed. 1870, no 41, 51 and 68; BN, Latin 17124, f. 101.

62 King Philip had authorized William des Roches to create baillis wherever needed in his seneschalcy: Delaborde et al. eds. 1943, no 838, and Baldwin 1986, 236.

63 Dubois ed. 1869-1873. For example, Philip Augustus ordered William to conduct an inquest into William de Jaillé’s tenurial claims in Maine: Lottin ed. 1869, no 54, 55, 654 and 693.

64 Chédeville ed. 1968, no 352.

65 Supra, n. 26; Baldwin 1986, 236.

66 Chédeville ed. 1968, no 289, 290, 321. See also Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 224.

67 Boussard 1938, 104.

68 Tonnerre 2006, 215-216; Vincent 2007, 288-291 and 296.

69 Bates 1997, 89-102.

70 Tonnerre 2006, 217; Vincent 2007, 290.

71 Vincent 2007, 289-291.

72 Tonnerre 2006, 215-216.

73 Tonnerre 2006, 212-216.

74 Aurell 2003, 216; Gillingham 2001, 51; Baldwin 1986, 233.

75 For the decline of the comital dynasty of Maine, see Pichot 1995; Lemesle 1999; and Barton 2004. For the great lordships of the Bas-Maine, see Pichot 1994; Renoux 2000.

76 On the traditionally close relationship between the lords of Sablé and the counts of Anjou, see Jessee 2000.

77 Boussard 1938, 15-22.

78 On the difficulty of gauging royal revenues in Anjou, see Baldwin 1986, 236 and 241. On the division of income from the royal demesne between the king and William des Roches, see ibid., 236; Delaborde et al. eds. 1943, no 829 and 838.

79 For Philip Augustus’ inquest of 1217, see Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 252. The text describes a previous inquest undertaken by King Henry between (probably) 1154 and 1178. King Philip ordered a similar inquest to determine the extent of the comital demesne in Beaufort-en-Vallée, just outside Angers; Boussard 1938, p.j. no 12.

80 Three accounts of the case exist: that of Henry II (Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 190); of Malet the prévôt (AD d’Indre-et-Loir, H 270, non-coté; published from a later copy in Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, 322 n. 1); and of the monks of Marmoutier (Boussard 1938, p.j. no 5).

81 Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 224.

82 For Angevin comital rights at Pont-de-Cé, see Boussard 1938, 16 and n. 10.

83 For a similar kind of case, see Boussard 1938, p.j. no 6.

84 Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 355. See also Menjot d’Elbenne ed. 1904-1907, no 21.

85 Boussard 1938, p.j. no 10.

86 Denis ed. 1894, 131-132.

87 Boussard 1938, 117-121.

88 Boussard 1938, 118 and n. 3; ibid. 119-120, and Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 224; ibid., no 199-200.

89 AD d’Indre-et-Loir, H 270, non-coté; Boussard 1938, p.j. no 5.

90 Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 118

91 AD de la Mayenne, H 154, f. 26v-27v (portions printed by Boussard 1938, p.j. no 4).

92 Id., f. 27r.

93 Laurain ed. 1911-1945, I, 59-66 (portions edited by Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 333-334).

94 Laurain ed. 1911-1945, I, 59-62.

95 Id., I, 63-64.

96 Id., I, 64.

97 Commentary by Boussard 1938, 121-122; Lemesle 2003, 138-143; Barton 2004, 213-218.

98 Lemesle 2003, 141-142.

99 Lemesle does not interpret Hamelin’s actions as stemming from aristocratic disdain either for Stephen (as a curialis) or the comital court; rather, he interprets Hamelin’s intransigence as proof of a conservative lack of trust in a new phenomenon, namely the notion that a delegate (the seneschal) could judge him in the place of his lord (Lemesle 2003, 142). These two poles of interpretation do not seem mutually opposed, however.

100 Laurain ed. 1911-1945, I, 63-4.

101 Barthélemy 1997.

102 Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 580. For another example, see Id., no 730.

103 Pagan de Rochefort at Saumur, Marchegay ed. 1875, no 40. William des Roches at Tours, Boussard 1938, p.j. no 9; and at Angers, Boussard 1938, p.j. no 10. Robert de Thornham’s men at Loches, Paris, BN, n. Latin 2301, no 2.

104 For instance, Chédeville ed. 1968, no 53, 57, 62, 65, 67, 119, and 73. The growth of ecclesiastical courts in Maine and Anjou is a topic worthy of further study.

105 AN L 974, no 851; AN L 967, no 100. See also BN, ms latin 17125, f. 48r and f. 49r.

106 Vivoin: Denis ed. 1894, no 57. Champagne: BN, ms latin 17125, f. 11v and f. 34r.

107 Chédeville ed. 1968, no 85.

108 BN, ms latin 17125, f. 25r, 52r. Jordan possessed his own seal: AD de la Sarthe, H 754, no 330.

109 Bénédictins de Solesmes eds. 1881, no 152.

110 Id., no 246. The murder probably occurred around 1208, although the exact date is not clear.

111 Id., 82.

112 For a similar case from Normandy, see Delisle & Berger eds. 1916-1927, no 162 and 194.

113 Chédeville ed. 1968, no 352.

Auteur

University of North Carolina, Greensboro

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