The Earldom of Richmond

Author : Michel Brand'Honneur / July 2023

Alan the Red was the son of Eudes, the Earl of Brittany, as well as the nephew and very loyal supporter of William the Conqueror. In 1071-72, the latter placed him at the head of a large territory which defended the English border against the Scottish kingdom. His younger brother, the Earl Etienne, became a prince as powerful as the Duke of Brittany by managing to unite this territory, named Richmond, with his Breton territories centered on Guingamp and Lamballe.

By means of a legacy alliance, the Dukes of Brittany took possession of Richmond in 1146. However, they reaped very little benefit from this territory since English Kings used it as a pressure tactic to influence Breton politics. This was the case from 1148 to 1398, the date which marks the definitive removal of Richmond from the duchy of Brittany. This domain was therefore under the partial or full ownership of the Dukes for merely 125 years.

In the 11th century, this ensemble of territories belonged to a seigneurial manor, which, circa 1120-1135, seems to have been converted into an Earldom with a County Seat called Richmond (hence the denomination the Earldom of Richmond) by the Earl Etienne. This formation was concurrent to that of the Earldoms of Lambelle and Guingamp. These three territories began as seigneurial manors held by an Earl, which differentiates them from the Earldoms of Rennes and Nantes which both had an ancient Gallo-Roman city as a foundation and served as County Seats for Earls or Bishops.


Author : Michel Brand'Honneur, « The Earldom of Richmond », Bécédia [en ligne], ISSN 2968-2576, mis en ligne le 31/07/2023.


Contributed by : Bretagne Culture Diversité