MALE Juhel [alias] Bérenger

Count of Rennes, before 944-965×979.

Juhel Bérenger, who would perhaps more correctly be called Juhel alias Bérenger, used the Breton name Juhel (Judhaël) and the Frankish name Bérenger on various occasions, but he is usually described in modern accounts by the double name Juhel Bérenger (and variants). The first certain appearance of [Juhel] Bérenger in the contemporary sources is in the year 944, when the Bretons were plagued by dissensions among their leaders Bérenger and Alan during the Norman invasions [Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 944, 94; van Houts (2000), 48-9; see the Commentary section below for some supposed earlier appearances]. Under his Breton name, we find count Judhaël as a prominent witness to two charters from the cartulary of Landevenec [Cart. Landevenec 156-8, 164; also in Morice (1742) 1: 345-6, but with errors (see Cart. Landevenec 201-2, 204-5)], one late in the reign of duke Alain Barbetorte (d. 952), perhaps about 950, and the other about the same time or a little later. Not long after Alain Barbetorte's death, count Thibaut le Tricheur of Blois and Chartres and count Foulques le Bon of Anjou (who had married Alain's widow, Thibaut's sister) divided Brittany into spheres of influence, with Thibaut taking the area ruled by count [Juhel] Bérenger of Rennes and archbishop Wicohen of Dol [Chr. Nantes 108, naming the count as Berangarius, Juhael Berengarii (sic), or Juhael Bérenger in various witnesses to the chronicle], probably before 958, when count Berengerius was present at an assembly of bishops and lords at Anjou in 958 which included Thibaut, Foulques, and some of the same Breton leaders who had witnessed the two earlier charters [Morice (1742) 1: 346-7]. According to a late source, count Bérenger came under the domination of archbishop Wicohen of Dol, and Bérenger's son Conan released his father and mother from the hands of the archbishop [Chronicon Briocense, Morice (1742), 1: 33]. A papal letter of John XIII (965-972), perhaps about 970, names two of the Breton leaders as Berengarius and his son Conatus [PL 135: 990; the other two named are Hoel and his brother Guerech]. He was almost certainly deceased by 16 August 979, when his son Conan was at the court of count Eudes of Chartres [Cart. S.-Père de Chartres, 1: 66]. For a discussion of the evidence that all of these appearances of a count Judhaël and a count Bérenger refer to the same individual, see the Commentary section.

Date of Birth: Unknown.
Place of Birth: Unknown.

Date of Death: Still living 965×972, probably deceased by 979.
Place of Death: Unknown.

Possible father: Pascweten, fl. 895×903, son of Alain le Grand.
[Poupardin (1900), 206.] See the Commentary section below for a detailed discussion of the parentage of Juhel Bérenger.

Mother: Unknown.
See the Commentary section.

Spouse: Unknown.
See the Commentary section.


MALE Conan I, d. 27 June 992, count of Brittany.
Called a son of Bérenger in a letter of pope John XIII [PL 135, 990], and a son of Juhel Bérenger in Chronicum S. Michaelis [RHF 10:175] and numerous Breton sources, occasionally called son of Judicaël Bérenger [e.g., Chronicum Kemperlegiensi RHF 10:294, which however, refers to Conan's son Geoffroy as "filius Conani filii Juhaëli Berengarii"].

MALEFEMALE additional unnamed sons and daughters.
The existence of additional sons and daughters is suggested by the wording of a donation of Conan I to Mont Saint-Michel in 990, mentioning the souls of, among others, his brothers or sisters (both in the plural), but offering no details ["... Conan Britannorum Princeps, pro Deo & pro vita æterna adquirenda animæ senioris sui & suæ animæ atque conjugis animæ & patris matrisque animæ & fratrum sororumque nec non cæerorum ..." Morice (1742) 1: 350]

See the Commentary section for the supposed identity of one additional son.


The evidence for count(s) named Juhel/Judhaël and Bérenger is obscured not only by the scarcity of records, but also by the apparent use of two names by the same individual, and the very different ways in which the evidence has been interpreted. The main scenarios seen in the secondary literature are listed here for convenience, of which the first three can often be found on amateur genealogical websites.

Scenario 1. A single tenth century count Juhel Bérenger (father of Conan) who was a son of a ninth century count also named Bérenger [Le Baud (2nd redaction), Merlet], with Merlet identifying the latter with the count Bérenger briefly mentioned in Frankish sources, and with the count of that name who was said by Dudo to be the father-in-law of Rollo of Normandy. Le Baud's first redaction has Juhael surnamed Beranger, with no parentage suggested, and no earlier Berenger mentioned.

Scenario 2. A single tenth century count Juhel Bérenger (father of Conan) who was a son of the Breton ruler Judicaël [Lobineau (1707), Morice (1742), in the genealogical tables at the beginnings of their histories of Brittany].

Scenario 3. A single tenth century count Juhel Bérenger (father of Conan) who was a son of Pascweten (son of Alain le Grand) by a daughter of the ninth century count Bérenger. [Winkhaus (1950), 49, with no sources cited, but evidently based, perhaps indirectly, on an attempt reconcile Scenario 1 with the eleventh century Angevin genealogies in Poupardin (1900); Winkhaus was followed later by Moriarty, 13-4, and many others].

Scenario 4. Separate tenth century counts Bérenger and his son Juhel, the latter being father of Conan [Guillotel (1979, 1980, 1984)]. In this scenario, Bérenger is of uncertain descent, but possibly related to the ninth century Frankish count Bérenger, with the same Breton and Norman identifications given by Merlet. This scenario is apparently also implied by Byrne [Byrne (1976), 490-1], who referred to Conan as a grandson of Bérenger (in turn called a grandson of Gurvand, the ninth century Breton co-ruler), who was cited by Guillotel as one of his sources [Guillotel (1980)].

For comparison, the scenario argued here will be:

Scenario 5. A single tenth century count known as both Juhel and Bérenger (father of Conan), of uncertain descent, but possibly a son of Pascweten, son of Alain le Grand. Here, the existence of a ninth century Breton count Bérenger, or the supposed Breton connection of the ninth century Frankish count Bérenger (often called "of Neustria" in modern secondary sources) is set side as having no good evidence.

Thus, in addition to the usual genealogical questions about how various individuals were related, there are two very important questions of identification here, which are heavily intertwined with the genealogical questions:

1. Do the references to tenth century Breton counts named Juhel and Bérenger refer to a single individual, or to two diferent individuals?

2. Is there any evidence for the existence of a ninth century Breton count named Bérenger, or any evidence that the known ninth century Frankish count Bérenger had Breton connections?

The first of these questions is the obvious starting point for further discussion. The second question, while also of interest here, is discussed in more detail on the page for the Frankish count Bérenger. Leaving certain sources that contain mainly genealogical information for later, let us outline references (or claimed references) to ninth or tenth century Breton counts named Juhel or Bérenger which describe events that can either be dated or can be placed in a historical context.

Appearances of ninth and tenth Breton leaders named Juhel/Juthaël or Bérenger in the sources

ca. 870: The cartulary of Redon, in a [supposed] charter [mis]dated 804, states that "Juhel Berenger, consul" [with "Berenger" correcting an original "Beregen"] gave the island of Enesmur to St. Salvator of Redon [Cart. Redon 257-8]. The editor of the cartulary (de Courson) corrects the date to ca. 931, without supplying a reason. However, neither of these two dates can be correct, because one of the witnesses is lited as abbot Ritcandus (said to have accepted the donation), and according to Arthur de la Borderie's study of the chronology of the cartulary of Redon, every charter in which Ricand appears as abbot must be dated no earlier than February 867, and no later than 5 January 871 [de la Borderie (1890), 617-8]. In a list of abbots published with the Redon cartulary, we have the statement that count Juhael of Rennes granted the island of Enesmur in 870 ["Ritcando quoque faverunt alii nobiles, maxime Juhael Redonum comes, anno 870, Enesmur insulam concedens", Cart. Redon, 424], and in a late list of donors also published there, we have a statement which would, taken literally, make this count Juhel a son of a Bérenger ["Juhael, Berengarii filius, redonensis comes, Enesmur insulam, ubi monachilis obedientia staret, anno 870, concessit.", Cart. Redon, 444]. Thus, even if the charter has a genuine basis, it is not relevant here, as it would concern a count Juhel living about the year 870. with the connection to Juhel Bérenger being an apparent error made by later copyists.

ca. 890: The Breton historian Pierre Le Baud (d. 1505), in the second rescension of his history, mentions a [vis]count Bérenger of Rennes in relation to events taking place supposedly about 890. "[... mais après] s'assemblèrent partie desdits Bretons sous le viscomte Bérenger de Rennes [, fils du comte Salomon neveu & filleul du roy Salomon dessus nomme, fils de sa soeur & de Moderand comte de Rennes. Lequel Berenger & Allain comte de Dol qui deffendoient la région par devers Neustrie, se joignirent ensemble] & firent bataille près le fleuve Coynon contre une multitude desdits Normans qu'ils occirent. Et Allain le Grand, avec l'autre partie qu'il cueillit assailit une autre partie desdits Normans au territoire Nantois assez près du fleuve de Loire dont il occist la pluspart et les autres s'enfuirent; & ainsi chassèrent les Bretons lesdits Normands de leur région." [Le Baud 3: 204; de la Borderie (1890), 585, quotes another edition of Le Baud, Hist. de Bret., p. 127, with only "..." for the part in brackets (plus calling Bérenger "comte" instead of viscomte" and a few other relatively minor differences); (Translation: "...but afterward part of the said Bretons gathered under [vis]count Bérenger of Rennes, son of count Salomon, nephew and godson of king Salomon named above, son of his sister and of Moderand, count of Rennes. That Bérenger and Alain, count of Dol, who defended the region near Neustria, joined together and made battle near the Coynon river against a multitude of the said Normans, whom they killed. And Alain le Grand, with another part which he gathered, attacked another part of the said Normans in Nantois territory rather close to the river Loire, of whom he killed the greates part, and the others fled, and thus the Bretons chased the said Normans from the region.")]. As indicated in more detail on the page of count Bérenger [of Maine?], there is no good reason to accept this late source, nor is there any reason to give Breton connections to the ninth century count Bérenger.

922×3: Guillotel would push back the first appearance of Bérenger, alleged father of Juhel, to the year 922×923, based on Translatio sancti Maglorii [edited by Merlet (1895), 243-8], which [p. 248] states that a count Berengarius asked the king of France (named as Robert "fili[us] ducis" in some manuscripts) to restore the body of St. Magloire to the church of Saint-Magloire in Léhon. This is in turn based on a fragmentary history of France from the twelfth century [Ex alio fragmento historiæ Francæ, RHF 10:214], which had used a now lost account of the monastery of Saint-Magloire as a source [see Merlet (1895), 238-241], and which, although it did not explicitly name the king of France, implied that the king intended was Robert II. Although the interpretation involving Robert II also has its problems (see below), it seems clear that Guillotel's alternate interpretation naming Robert I is incorrect, since Robert I ruled before the body of St. Magloire was translated from Léhon to Paris.

931: Pierre Le Baud, in the second rescension of his history [Le Baud 207-8], places "Juhael le comte de Rennes fils de Berenger" in events leading to the death of the Norse leader "Flestan", who is evidently the Felecan of Flodoard's annals in the year 931, placing the events in that year. No contemporary source connects Juhel Bérenger to this event.

before 933: Dudo, in his history of the Normans, states that counts Bérenger and Alain, along with other Breton leaders, submitted themselves to William Longsword, leader of the Vikings at Rouen, during the lifetime of William's father Rollo (d. 928×933) [Dudo iii, 38 (p. 60)], Dudo is not a reliable source for this period, and there is no good reason to believe that the Vikings of Rouen held sway over Brittany at such an early period. It appears that here, as elsewhere in his work (e.g., the other two citations from Dudo given below), Dudo is embellishing the power of the early Norman leaders, by making it appear that the Vikings of Rouen were in control of other groups of Normans who were probably still independent of Rouen at that time. The names of the Breton leaders were possibly taken by Dudo from Flodoard's annals for 944.

933×940: Dudo states that the Breton leaders revolted against William Longsword, with Bérenger asking for and receiving mercy, and Alain being driven out of Brittany, taking refuge with Æthelstan (d. 940), king of England [Dudo iii, 41 (p. 63)].

939: According to the second rescension of Le Baud [Le Baud, 3: 208], the count of Rennes (not named in the passage, but evidently intended to be the Juhael Berenger mentioned earlier) participated in a battle on 1 August against the Normans, assisted by count Alain of Nantes and count Hugues of Maine.

ca. 943: Dudo lists Bérenger and Alain among those who submitted to Richard I after the murder of William [Dudo iv, 69 (p. 99)].

944: Flodoard states that the Bretons were plagued by dissentions among their leaders Bérenger and Alan during the Norman invasions [Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 944, 94; van Houts (2000): 48-9 (English translation)]. This is the earliest clearly contemporary reference to Bérenger.

ca. 950?: Count Iudhæel was a witness to an undated charter of Alain Barbetorte, probably not long before Alain's death in 952, signing immediately after Alain. The charter was confirmed after Alain's death by counts Thibaut [of Blois/Chartres] and Foulques [of Anjou]. ["Hi sunt testes qui audierunt et videunt hæc omnia: Alan dux, Iudhæel comes, Iuthoen archiepiscopus, Hedrenn episcopus, Blenliuett episcopus, Houuel comes, Vuerec, Nuuenoæ, Saluator episcopus, Iestin vicecomes, Diles vicecomes, Pritient, Uuethenoc, Amalgod, Amhedr, Chenmarchoc, Nut, Huon, Moysen, et alii plurimi fideles, ..." Cart. Landevenec 156-8]

950's?: Count Judhael confirmed a donation of a descendant of the royal line named Moysen ("stemate regalium ortus, nomine Moysen") to the abbey of Landevenec, around the same time as the previous charter (judging from the witnesses which the two charters have in common), but perhaps after the death of Alain Barbetorte (since he does not appear as a witness). [Cart. Landevenec 164: "Hoc peractum est coram multis testibus in Namnetica civitate, sicut supra diximus, Deo opitulante, eodemque Judhael affirmante. N. signum Numinoæ comitis. Signum Hedren episcopi. Signum Jestin vicecomitis. Signum Filii. Signum Uuethenoc. Signum Rotberth. Signum Clemens."]

ca. 953?: Not long after Alain Barbetorte's death, count Thibaut le Tricheur of Blois and Chartres and count Foulques le Bon of Anjou (who had married Alain's widow, Thibaut's sister) divided Brittany into spheres of influence, with Thibaut taking the area ruled by count [Juhel] Bérenger of Rennes and archbishop Wicohen of Dol [Chr. Nantes 107-108, naming the count as Berangarius, Juhael Berengarii (sic), or Juhael Bérenger in various witnesses to the chronicle: "... Namque Theobaldus, comes Blesensis, Fulconi, comiti Andegavensi, tradens sororem suam, relictam Alani Barbetortae ducis, in uxorem, ei dimisit, quandiu Drogo infans, nepos ejus, adultus esset, mediatatem urbis Namneticae et territorii ejus et telonei et omnium consuetudinum, unde teleoneum exigi poterat, ac etaim totius Britanniae mediatatem; et residuam partem Britanniae, quam Juhael Berengarii comes et Wicohenus archiepiscopus Dolensis, de illo receperunt, in sua potestate retinuit. Et de expletis, quae inde habuit, Carnoti turrem et Blesii et Caimonis perfecit." (Translation: "For Theobald, count of Blois, giving his sister, the widow of duke Alan Barbetorte, in marriage to Fulco, count of Anjou, allowed to him, until the infant Dorgo, his nephew, should become an adult, half of the city of Nantes and territories and port tribute and all customs, whence he would be able to exact tribute, and half of all Brittany; and the remaining part of Brittany, which count Juhael Berengar and archbishop Wicohen of Dol had received from the former, he retained in his own power. And he built the castles of Chartres, Blois, and Chinon from the revenue which he had from this."]

958: Count Berengerius was present at an assembly of bishops and lords at Anjou in September 958, which included Thibaut, Foulques, and some of the same Breton leaders who had witnessed the two earlier charters [Morice (1742) 1:346-7: "In quo conensu factores extiterunt clarissimi Britonum Antistites videicet Namnetensium Hesdren nomine, item venerabilis Vicecomes Gestinus cum aliis innumeris ejusdem nobilibus, quorum nomina subter assignata videntur. S. Theobaldi Comitis. S. Fulconis Comitis qui hanc concriptionem fieri rogaverunt. S. Hesdreni Episcopi. S. Salomonis episcopi, S. Gestini Vicecomitis. S. Berengerii Comitis, S. Nemenoci Comitis. S. Hoiellaguni Comitis. Daniel, David & aliorum."].

960: Death of Juhael Beranger/Berengier, count of Rennes, and succession of his son Conan, according to first redaction of Le Baud [3: 159]. This is obviously false, since Conan's father was still living during the time of Pope John XIII (965-972).

960's?: According to the late Chronicle of Saint Brieuc, count Bérenger came under the domination of archbishop Wicohen of Dol, and Bérenger's son Conan released his father and mother from the hands of the archbishop [Chronicon Briocense, Morice (1742), 1:33: "Guerech vero ab hac luce mortuo, idem Conanus Berengarii Comes Rhedonensis possessionem totius regni Lethaviæ seu Armoricani adeptus est, & illud in sua gubernatione & sasina, quandiu vixit, tenuit. Hic vero Conanus primo patrem suum & matrem cum exigua familiola eorum à mensa & tutela Wicoheni Dolensis Archiepiscopi retraxit. Deinde patrimonia eorum & sua sibi viriliter vindicans, & eundem Archiepiscopum ad sedem propriam remisit." (Translation: "With Guerech having died from this life, the same Conan, [son] of Bérenger, acquired possession of the whole kingdom of Brittany or Armorica, and held it in his own government and possession so long as he lived. Indeed, this Conan withdrew his father and mother with their small little family [household?] from the table and keeping of Wicohen, archbishop of Dol. Then, he manfully laid claim to their and his patrimony for himself, and sent the archbishop back to his own place.") This translation assumes that the word "filius" was accidently dropped between "Conanus" (nominative) and "Berengarii" (genetive), since we already have other sources making Conan the son of a Bérenger, and inserting the word "filius" there is the easiest way to make sense of the sentence. However, see below for the alternate interpretation as a "surname" for Conan.]. Merlet, in his introduction to the Chronicle of Nantes, dates this event to about 965 [Chr. Nantes, xliv]. If the report is accurate, it almost certainly took place well before Guerech's death in the late 980's. It probably belongs to a time when both Bérenger and his son Conan were regarded as Breton leaders, as in the next item.

965×972: A papal letter of Pope John XIII (965-972), perhaps about 970, names two of the Breton leaders as "Berengarius" and his son "Conatus" [PL 135, 990; the other two named are Hoel and his brother Guerech "... maxime nobiliores, nominatum Berengarius, et filius suus Conatus et Hoel cum fratre suo Guerech, cum ceteris majoribus, ..."].

The identification of Juhel Bérenger

The three references above to a count Bérenger which are clearly contemporary, i.e., those of 944, 958, and 965×972, present a consistent picture of a Breton count Bérenger, the latest of which identifies him as the father of Conan. This parentage is independently verified by an eleventh century Angevin collection of genealogies [Poupardin (1900)], which make Conanus a son of Beringerius. From about the same time, an account of the life and translation of St. Gildas written in the middle of the eleventh century tells us that Conan's father was a count of Rennes named Juchael, also known as Berengar, thus giving early confirmation of the use of two different names by this count [Lot (1907), 462: "Eo tempore erat Comes in Redonensi civitate Juchael, qui et Berengarius dicebatur. Hic habuit filium nomine Conanum, illustrem et bellicosum virum, ex quo ortus est Gaufredus, vir et ipse in armis strenuus, qui totius Britanniae Monarchiam tenuit." (see also RHF 10:377) Translation: "At that time the count in the city of Rennes was Juchael, who was also called Berengar. He had a son, Conan by name, an illustrious and bellicose man, from whom was born Gaufred, a man also himself vigorous in arms, who held the monarchy of all Brittany."]. In addition, there are the numerous sources which give the name of Conan's father as Juhel Bérenger or, less often, Judicaël Bérenger [e.g., Cart. Morbihan 110; Chronicum S. Michaelis, RHF 10:175; Chronicum Kemperlegiensi RHF 10:294; Chron. Nantes 113].

When Pierre Le Baud wrote the first redaction of his history about 1480, "Juhael Beranger" ("... noble juvenceau comte de Rennes appellé Juhael & seurnommé Beranger ..." at his first mention [Le Baud 3: 149]) is considered as a single person, with no indication of parentage, and no indication of an earlier count Bérenger. By the time of his second redaction, this count is called Juhael son of Berenger [Le Baud 207-10, but called Juhael Berenger on pp. 208, 210], with this previous count Berenger given as a contemporary of Alain le Grand. This seems to be the first appearance of a ninth century Breton count named Bérenger. The elaborate theory in which Bérenger was a surname used by counts Juhel, Conan, and Geoffrey was developed by de la Borderie and Merlet [de la Borderie (1891); Merlet (1895)], and is discussed below.

A completely different scenario is offered in various recent works by Hubert Guillotel, who has made the count Bérenger who appears in contemporary records in 944 and 958 into a distinct invidual from the count Bérenger of the papal letter of 965×972, the latter of whom is identified as Juhel, son of Bérenger, and father of Conan. Guillotel identifies the count Judhae:l who appears in the two Landevenec charter mentioned above as Juhel, witnessing charters during the lifetime of his father [Guillotel (1979), 75-6]. Bérenger is decribed by Guillotel as probably springing from the Carolingian aristocracy [Guillotel (1979), 65], or more cautiously as a man of unknown heritage whose name allows that possibility [Guillotel (1980)]. The reasons for this interpretation are not explicitly spelled out, but are perhaps based at least partly on chronological considerations, since Guillotel would have Bérenger appearing as count of Rennes as early as 923 (see above).

While the case for a ninth century Breton count named Bérenger (or for Breton connections of a known ninth century Frankish count of that name) is weak, that matter is more suitably discussed on the page for the Frankish count Bérenger. More important for the immediate purpose is the question of whether or not the references to a count Bérenger in 944, 958, and 965×972 refer to the same man. The perfectly plausible length of the active period suggested by these contemporary records would not be seriously compromised if some of the earlier appearances of Bérenger already mentioned above are correct, since Bérenger's son Conan and Conan's son Geoffroy both had short reigns, and the 923 appearance suggested as possible by Guillotel is open to serious question. The eleventh century statement of Gildae Vita et Translatio, mentioning a count of Rennes named Juchael, also called Bérenger [Lot (1907), 462], fits quite well with the contemporary evidence, in which the count is referred to by the Frankish name of Bérenger in non-Breton sources, and as Judhaël (i.e., Juhel) in two native charters from Landevenec. These two charters, almost certainly both between 944 and 958, are both signed in the prominent position in which Bérenger would have been expected to sign. There is even an obvious conjecture for the reason for a double name, for this count must have grown up during a period when many Breton leaders were in exile from Brittany, a setting where a Frankish pseudonym might have proved useful.

In contrast, the theory of Guillotel, which claims two successive tenth century counts respectively named Bérenger and Juhel, requires that the count Bérenger of the papal letter of 965×972 (which identifies Conan as his son) be identified with Juhel, while the earlier references refer to a count Bérenger who was the father of Juhel. While it is not clear why the count Bérenger of 958 is to be regarded as the same as the Bérenger appearing 14 years earlier, but different from a Bérenger appearing 14 or fewer years later, the problems with this interpretation go beyond this lack of a good explanation. While the supposed appearance of Juhel as a witness in charters during his father's lifetime, appearing prominently with the title of count, could probably be explained away, as could the appearance of count Juhel under the name Bérenger in the papal letter, that is hardly satisfactory in the absence of direct supporting evidence for the scenario, especially when simply accepting the tenth and eleventh century evidence as it stands provides us with a much simpler solution. In addition, there is the question of why the existence of a Juhel son of Bérenger (as opposed to Juhel alias Bérenger) should even be accepted in the first place. There appears to be no early sources supporting the existence of a Juhel son of Bérenger. When a Juhel son of Bérenger finally does appear in Le Baud's second redaction about 1500, this Juhel appears in 931 and is made to be the son of a ninth century Bérenger, and this is how Merlet had it in 1925 [Merlet (1925), prominently cited as a source by Guillotel], with still further distortion required to get Guillotel's scenario. Given the late appearance of this interpretation, the simplest explanation is that an alias has been misinterpreted as a patronymic.

Given that the tenth and eleventh century evidence strongly supports the scenario in which there is a single count Juhel alias Bérenger during this period, there does not appear to be any good reason to doubt that the appearances in 944, 958, and 965×972 of a count Bérenger all refer to the same man, the father of Conan I.

On the supposed use of the name Bérenger as a "surname" by Conan and Geoffroy

Although the appearance of Juhel Bérenger under the double name is quite common in the later records, it has been argued that his son Conan and grandson Geoffroy also used the name Bérenger as a sort of surname [de la Borderie (1891), 114-5], and de la Borderie has been followed in this by others [e.g., Merlet (1895), 270; Halphen (1906), 51; Merlet (1925); Bachrach (1985), 11; Bachrach (1994), 14]. Two pieces of evidence are advanced by de la Borderie in his claim about Conan and Geoffroy. First, the Chronicle of Saint-Brieuc, on a single occasion, refers to Conan as "Conanus Berengarii comes Rhedonensis". However, it is in the very next sentence where we have the statement that Conan retrieved his father and mother (neither named in this sentence) from the hands of archbiship Wicohen of Dol [Chronicon Briocense, in Morice (1742) 1:33 (quoted above)]. Thus, it is very likely that the word "filius" is missing here, and that "Conanus [filius] Berengarii comes Rhedonensis" is what was intended, i.e., stating that Conan was a son of Bérenger, as he is called elsewhere. The other piece of evidence given by de la Borderie for this hypothesis was the statement that a count Bérenger had requested the return of the body of St. Magloire from a king who was evidently Robert II (but see above for Guillotel's theory that it was Robert I). Since Juhel Bérenger and Robert II were not contemporaries, this statement was interpreted by de la Borderie as referring to Juhel Bérenger's grandson Geoffroy I of Brittany, using an alternate name. This is not very plausible, given that Translatio sancti Maglorii as we now have it is a late source which is only indirectly based on the original version (as mentioned above), and some sort of error in the story as we now have it is more likely. Perhaps the story is a careless conflation of the removal of St. Magloire's body to Paris (which did occur during Juhel Bérenger's time) and its later return under Robert II. Given that these two weak pieces of evidence were the only pieces of evidence offered by de la Borderie, the use of the name Bérenger as a surname for Conan and Geoffroy must be regarded as doubtful. [Note that the statement of Merlet (1895), 270 n. 1, claiming that Geoffroy was called "Gaufridus Berengarii" by the Chronicle of Saint-Brieuc is an evident error, confusing the reference of "Conanus Berengarii" mentioned above.]

The origin of Juhel Bérenger

Prossible father: Pascweten, fl. 895×903, son of Alain le Grand.
The evidence for this is an eleventh century collection of Angevin genealogies which includes genealogies of dynasties related to the Angevins, including the rulers of Brittany [Poupardin (1900), 206]. The Breton table makes Conanus (obviously the ruler who died in 992) a son of Beringerius, who is made a son of Pascuithen, in turn a son of Alanus "major" (Alain le Grand). A separate genealogy shows Conan's wife Ermengarda as a daughter of count Gosfridus (i.e., count Geoffroy Grisegonelle of Anjou). Although the Breton table has a few claims (such as the parentage of Beringerius) which are not confirmed by other evidence, the only part of that chart that can be shown incorrect from other good evidence involves some errors in the children and grandchildren of Alain Barbetorte, in a branch descended from a daughter of Alain le Grand. The chart correctly makes Alain le Grand a brother of the Breton ruler (the elder) Pascweten (which is verified by contemporary annals), and the existence of Alain le Grand's son (the younger) Pascweten is confirmed by charter evidence. The chart is evidently the only primary source which provides a name for the father of the elder Pascweten and Alain (Ridoredh, a perfectly good Breton name), and appears to be the only known source making the elder Pascweten legitimate and his brother Alain a bastard. Such details, many confirmed by other evidence, along with the fact that the only errors in the chart appear on a branch more distantly related to the Angevins, suggest that the table, which was composed only about a century after Juhel Bérenger, should be accepted on this point. Merlet (1925), 549-550 tries to dismiss the account as a fabrication, but grossly misrepresents the statement of the chart ("Suivant une généalogie, composée à Angers vers l'année 1070, Bérenger aurait été fils de Pascweten et petit-fils par les femmes du roi de Bretagne Salomon.", citing Poupardin, where "Bérenger" is not Juhel Bérenger, who has not yet been mentioned, but a ninth century count Bérenger), which does not state any relationships for Salomon (he is on the chart, but without any lines indicating relations). In addition, his claim of deliberate fabrication to connect with the old rulers of Brittany overlooks that this is an Angevin document, and that the Angevins would have had no clear motive to glorify the ancestry of a competing dynasty. One cautious note which should be observed is that the two sons of Alanus major named in the Angevin source are Wareth and Pacuithen, and it the same two sons (Vuereche, Pascuiten) who are known from a charter from the cathedral at Angers [Cart. Angers, 29-32].

Supposed father: A man named Bérenger (variously identified)
Le Baud [204, 210-1] states that a certain Moderand, count of Rennes (otherwise unknown, possibly a corruption of the ninth century Breton ruler Gurvand) had, by a sister [p. 204] or daughter [p. 210] of king Salomon, a son Salomon, count of Rennes (otherwise unknown), father of Bérenger, count of Rennes, father of Juhael, count of Rennes, father of Conan, claiming that the last three are mentioned by the author of the "Hoistoire de la translation sainct Gildas", evidently referring to Vita S. Gildæ Abbatis Ruyensis, which makes Juhel and Bérenger the same person, as already mentioned. Given the lack of any early evidence making Juhel a son of Bérenger, there is no good reason to treat this late statement as anything other than a confusion.

The other reason for accepting a Bérenger somewhere in Juhel Bérenger's family background (but not necessarily as his father) would be the obvious onomastic argument: Bérenger is a Frankish name which stands out among the typically Breton names used by most of the Breton nobility at that time. However, it should be noted that Juhel Bérenger first appears (as Bérenger) in the contemporary records at a time soon after a period when most of the Breton nobility had been forced into exile, so that it is difficult to narrow down the list of families with which Juhel Bérenger might have been connected.

Falsely attributed father (chronologically unlikely):
Bérenger, fl. 892×5, count [of Maine?].
Although possible as a maternal ancestor (see below), the claim of Merlet (1925) that Juhel Bérenger was probably a son of the ninth century Frankish count stretches the chonology to unlikely lengths. Merlet's reconstruction is based mainly on the unsupported statements of Le Baud that Juhel was the son of a contemporary of Alain le Grand named Bérenger (of dubious historicity), added to Merlet's identification of Le Baud's Bérenger with a known Frankish count of that name (and with the Bérenger who is given by Dudo as the father-in-law of Rollo of Normandy). See the page of count
Bérenger for more details.

Falsely attributed father (did not exist as a separate individual from Juhel Bérenger):
Bérenger, supposedly fl. 822×3-858, count of Rennes. [Guillotel (1984), 393-4]
As has already been discussed in detail above, no clear evidence has been advanced for separating Juhel Bérenger into a father Bérenger and a son Juhel.

Falsely attributed father (chronologically improbable):
, d. 1 August×8 November 888, join ruler of Brittany, 877-888.

For the chronology of Judicaël, who was a maternal grandson of the Breton ruler Erispoë, see de la Borderie (1864), 400ff. Both Lobineau (1707) and Morice (1750), in the genealogical tables introducing the first volumes of their respective works, make Juhel Bérenger a son of Judicaël (with Lobineau adding grandson as an alternative), who ruled Brittany jointly (or in contention) with Alain le Grand after the deaths of the joint rulers Pascweten (Alain's brother) and Gurvant. This chronologically improbable claim has not been backed up by any reasonable evidence, although the existence of Judicaël's maternal uncle Conan (son of Erispoë), along with the alternate name "Judicaël Bérenger" given in some sources, provides an onomastic reason for the desire to link Juhel Bérenger with Judicaël.

Suggested maternal ancestor (evidence weak):
Bérenger, fl. 892×5, count [of Maine?].
[Guillotel (1984), 393-5, following similar arguments of Merlet (1925)] The suggestion is based mainly on the obvious onomastic argument, on the assumption that Dudo is correct in making William Longsword's mother Poppa a daughter of the ninth century Bérenger, and on Dudo's statements about William treating Bérenger more favorably than Alain Barbetorte, with Guillotel adding the complication which splits Juhel Bérenger into two individuals. While Juhel Bérenger's name itself suggests the possibily of relationship to an earlier Bérenger, there does not seem to be any convincing reason why it must be this particular
Bérenger (see his page for more). Note that the above hypothesis that Juhel Bérenger was a probably son of Pascweten (fl. 895×903) is not necessarily incompatible with the suggestion that count Bérenger (fl. 892×5) was a maternal ancestor of Juhel Bérenger

Supposed wife (probably falsely attributed): Gerberge, sister of a certain countess Hildegarde.
This Hildegarde was evidently wife of a viscount of Châteaudun, and Gerberge was married first, to a certain Bérenger, and second, to Gilduin de Saumur [Lobineau (1707) 1:91, citing a charter in the 25th year of king Lothair]. Hildegarde and Gerberge are mentioned in several modern studies [e.g., Keats-Rohan (1997), Saint-Phalle (2000), Settipani (1997), Settipani (2000)], none of which attempt to identify Gerberge's first husband with Juhel Bérenger. In the absence of any clear evidence identifying her first husband with Juhel Bérenger of Rennes, the supposed link should be set aside as improbable.

Supposed son (probably falsely attributed): Main I, lord of Fougères.
It is sometimes stated that Main, ancestor of the house of Fougères, was a younger son of Juhel Bérenger [See, e.g., Latrie (1889), 1605]. However, there does not seem to be any early authority for this statement, which is likely to be a later invention designed to give illustrious ancestry to the lords of Fougères. Also worth noting is that a charter at Mont-Saint-Michel by Conan I (990) refers to a certain Main as nephew of "archbishop" Main, immediately after referring to unnamed brothers and sisters [Lobineau (1707) 2:94-5; Morice (1742) 1:350]. If, as seems likely, this is Main de Fougères, it would be unusual to refer to hin as nepos archiepiscopi if he were really a brother of Conan.

Supposed brother (probably falsely attributed): Wicohen, fl. middle of 10th century, bishop or archbishop of Dol.
In the tables appearing at the front of his history of Brittany, Morice makes (arch)bishop Wicohen (already mentioned above) a son of Judicaël and brother of Juhel Bérenger [Morice (1750), 1: xvij]. As mentioned above, the area of Brittany dominated by Wicohen fell under the sway of count Thibaut of Chartres shortly after the death of Alain Barbetorte. This was apparently sufficient for Lobineau to state (without any qualifying words) that Wicohen was a close relative of Bérenger [Lobineau (1707) 1: 81], which Morice then expanded to close relative or brother [Morice (1750) 1: 62]. There does not appear to be any reasonable justification for this statement, which appears to be no more than a conjecture. An obscure individual, Wicohen is said to have been the father of Gautier I, bishop of Nantes about the year 960 [Chr. Nantes 104; Gall. Christ. 14: 808]. For the suggestion that archbishop Iuthoen, a witness to the charter (ca. 950) of Alain Barbetorte already mentioned above, was in fact an error for Wicohen, due to careless copying of the name (e.g., "uic" might easily be miscopied as "iut"), and for a similar conjecture regarding the name of Gisloen, a Breton bishop found as a witness to charters in 967 and 969, see the account of Wicohen in Gallia Christiana [14: 1044; these identifications have been followed in Guillotel (1979), without mentioning the spelling differences].


Bachrach (1985) = B. Bachrach, "Geoffrey Greymantle, count of the Angevins, 960-987: a study in French politics", Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History 17 (n.s. 7, 1985): 3-65.

Bachrach (1993) = B. Bachrach, Fulk Nerra, the Neo-Roman Consul, 987-1040 (University of California Press, 1993).

Le Baud = Charles de la Lande de Calan, ed., Cronicques & Ystoires des Bretons par Pierre le Baud, 4 vols. (Société des Bibliophiles Bretons et de l'Histoire de Bretagne, Rennes, 1910-2). This was taken from Le Baud's previously unpublished first redaction (1480), with selections from the second redaction given in volume 3, pages 172-213. Pierre Le Baud died on 19 September 1505. [Note: I now have access to the entire second redaction, published in Paris in 1638, but I have not yet updated the bibliographic citations to include this version.]

de la Borderie (1864, 1890) = Arthur de la Borderie, "Examen chronologique des chartes du cartulaire de Redon antérieur du XIe siècle", Bibliothèque de l'École des Chartes 25 (1864): 259-282, 393-434 [reprinted in Annales de Bretagne 5 (1889-90): 535-630]. Page numbers given are from the latter work.

de la Borderie (1891) = Arthur de la Borderie, Miracles de S. Magloire et fondation du monastère de Lehon (Rennes, 1891).

Byrne (1976) = Francis John Byrne (and Theodor Schieffer, German version), "Die keltischen Völker (5.-11. Jahrhundert)", in Theodor Schieder, ed., Handbuch der europäischen Geschichte 1 (Stuttgart, 1976): 448-493.

Cart. Landevenec = Arthur de la Borderie, ed., Cartulaire de l'abbaye de Landevenec (Rennes, 1888).

Cart. S.-Georges de Rennes = Paul de la Bigne Villeneuve, Cartulaire de l'Abbaye de Saint Georges de Rennes, Bulletin et Mémoires de la Société Archéologique du département d'Ille-et-Villaine 9 (1875):127-312, 10 (1876), 1-327.

Cart. Angers = C. Urseau, Cartulaire Noir de la Cathédrale d'Angers (Paris & Angers, 1908).

Cart. Morbihan = Louis Rosenzweig, Cartulaire General du Morbihan (Vannes, 1895).

Cart. Redon = M. Aurélien de Courson, Cartulaire de l'Abbaye de Redon (Collection de documents inédites sur l'histoire de France, Paris, 1863).

Cart. S.-Père de Chartres = M Guérard, Cartulaire de l'Abbaye de Saint-Père de Chartres, 2 vols. (Paris, 1840).

Chr. Nantes = René Merlet, ed., La Chronique de Nantes (Paris, 1895). [Pages numbers alone are citations to the text, page numbers with footnotes indicate comments by Merlet.]

Dudo = Eric Christiansen, ed. & trans., Dudo of St. Quentin, History of the Normans (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1998). Citation is by book and chapter of Dudo's work, with the page number in parentheses.

Flodoard, Annales = Ph. Lauer, ed., Les Annales de Flodoard (Paris, 1905) [also van Houts (2000), 42-51 (English translation of excerpts relating to the Normans)].

Gall. Christ. = Gallia Christiana.

Guillotel (1979) = Hubert Guillotel, "Le premier siècle du pouvoir ducal breton (936-1040)", in Actes du 103e Congrès National des Sociétés Savantes, Nancy-Metz, 1978, Section de philologie et d'histoire jusqu'à 1610 (Paris, 1979), 62-84.

Guillotel (1980) = Hubert Guillotel, article on "Berengar, Gf. v. Rennes", in Lexicon des Mittelalters.

Guillotel (1982) = Hubert Guillotel, article on "Bretagne" (Hochmittelalter), in Lexicon des Mittelalters.

Guillotel (1984) = André Chédeville & Hubert Guillotel, La Bretagne des saints et des rois Ve-Xe siècle (Rennes, 1984). (All pages cited on this webpage are from the part of the book by Guillotel.)

Guillotel (2000) = Hubert Guillotel, "Une autre marche de Neustrie", in Keats-Rohan & Settipani, eds., Onomastique et Parenté dans l'Occident médiéval (Oxford, 2000).

Halphen (1906) = Louis Halphen, Le comté d'Anjou au XIe siècle (1906).

Keats-Rohan (1997) = K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, "'Un vassal sans histoire'?: Count Hugh II (c. 940/955 - 992) and the origins of Angevin overlordship in Maine", in K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, ed., Family Trees and the Roots of Politics (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1997): 189-210.

Latrie (1889) = L. de Mas Latrie, Trésor de Chronologie d'Histoire et de Geographie (Paris, 1889).

Lobineau (1707) = Gui Alexis Lobineau, Histoire de Bretagne, 2 vols., (Paris, 1707).

Lot (1907) = Ferdinand Lot, Mélanges d'histoire bretonne (VIe-XIe) siècle) (Paris, 1907).

Merlet (1895) = René Merlet, "Les origines du monastère de Saint-Magloire de Paris", Bibliothèque de l'École des Chartes 56 (1895):237-273.

Merlet (1925) = René Merlet, "La Famille des Bérenger comtes de Rennes et ducs de Bretagne", in Mélanges d'histoire du Moyen Age offerts à M. Ferdinand Lot par ses amis et ses élèves (Paris, 1925), 549-561.

Moriarty = George Andrews Moriarty, The Plantagenet Ancestry, MS (available on film number 441438 at the Family History Library). These notes of the author were not intended for publication, but are often cited as if they were.

Morice (1742) = Hyacinthe Morice, Memoires pour servir de preuves à l'histoire ecclésiastique et civile de Bretagne, 3 vols. (Paris, 1742).

Morice (1750) = Dom Hyacinthe Morice, Histoire ecclésiastique et civile de Bretagne, 3 vols, (Paris, 1750).

PL = P. Migne, Patrologiae Cursus Completus, series Latina, 221 vols. (Paris, 1844-1859).

Poupardin (1900) = René Poupardin, "Généalogies angevines du XIe siècle", Mélanges d'Archéologie et d'Histoire (Paris, Rome) 20 (1900):199-208.

RHF = Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France.

Saint-Phalle (2000) = Edouard de Saint-Phalle, "Les comtes de Gâtinais aux Xe et XIe siècles", in Keats-Rohan & Settipani, eds., Onomastique et Parenté dans l'Occident médiéval (Oxford, 2000), 230-246.

Settipani (1997) = Christian Settipani, "Les comtes d'Anjou et leur alliances aux Xe et XIe siècles", in K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, ed., Family Trees and the Roots of Politics (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1997): 211-267.

Settipani (2000) = Christian Settipani, "Les vicomtes de Châteaudun et leur alliés", in Keats-Rohan & Settipani, eds., Onomastique et Parenté dans l'Occident médiéval (Oxford, 2000), 247-261.

van Houts (2000) = Elisabeth van Houts, ed. & trans., The Normans in Europe (Manchester & New York, 2000) [gives English translations of many of the primary sources relevant to early Norman history]

Vita Gildae = "Gidae Vita et Translatio", in Lot (1907), 433-473. For extracts from the relevant part of the same work (as "Vita S. Gildæ Abbatis Ruyensis"), see RHF 10:377-8.

Winkhaus (1950) = Eberhard Winkhaus, Ahnen zu Karl dem Grossen und Widukind (Ennepetal-Altenvoerde (Westfalen), 1950).

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin
This page is based on several discussions involving Juhel Bérenger and his family which appeared in the internet newsgroup soc.genealogy.medieval in 2004 and 2005. In particular, I would like to thank Todd Farmerie and Peter Stewart for their comments in those discussions, and James Hansen, FASG, for providing me with copies of some of the articles cited.

First uploaded December 2005

Minor revision uploaded 25 November 2007 (mostly correcting the many typos and other minor errors in the first version)

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