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Alan IV, Duke of Brittany

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Title: Alan IV, Duke of Brittany  
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Subject: List of rulers of Brittany, Conan III, Duke of Brittany, 1119 deaths, Dukes of Brittany, Alan
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Alan IV, Duke of Brittany

Alan IV
Alan IV's seal
Duke of Brittany
Reign 1072/84–1112
Predecessor Hoel II & Hawise
Successor Conan III
Regent Hoel II
Born before 1060 or 1063x1066
Died 13 October 1119
Redon Abbey
Burial Redon Abbey
Spouse Constance of Normandy
Ermengarde of Anjou
Issue Conan III
Hawise, Countess of Flanders
House House of Cornouaille
Father Hoel II
Mother Hawise
Religion Roman Catholicism

Alan IV (born circa 1063; died 13 October 1119) was Duke of Brittany from 1084 until his abdication in 1112. He was also Count of Nantes and Count of Rennes. His parents were Hawise, Duchess of Brittany and Hoel II. He is also known as Alan Fergant. ("Fer gant" in French means "Iron glove".) Through his father, he was of the Breton House of Cornouaille dynasty (Breton: Kerne dynasty). He was the last Duke of Brittany to speak the Breton language.[1]


  • Norman Conflict 1
  • Crusader 2
  • Family 3
  • Succession 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Bibliography 7
  • External links 8

Norman Conflict

A traditional rivalry between Brittany and Normandy continued at the close of the 11th century. The Breton-Norman war of 1064–1065 was the result of William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy (later to become known as William the Conqueror) support of rebels in Brittany against Alan's maternal uncle, Conan II.

Conan II died in late 1066 during a campaign in Anjou, and was succeeded by Alan's parents, Conan's sister Hawise as Duchess and her husband Hoel II as Consort. Hoel ruled as Regent of Brittany from Duchess Hawise's death in 1072 until Alan reached his majority in 1084.[2]

Arthur Collins[3] described either Alan IV or Alan Rufus (the two of whom he confuses) as follows: "In his youth he was not a little famous for his valour, insomuch as he feared not William, then Duke of Normandy". To prevent further hostilities during his invasion of England, William I married his daughter Constance to the new duke Alan in 1087.[4] The marriage ceremonies may have taken place in Bayeux in Normandy. William of Malmesbury wrote that Constance was unpopular at the Breton court because of her "severe and conservative" manner.[4] William of Malmesbury also alleged that Alan IV had Constance poisoned to death, but this remained unverified[4] However, Orderic Vitalis wrote that as duchess Constance did all she could to further the welfare of the Bretons, who grieved deeply at her death in 1090.[4]

In 1092 Alan IV donated property to the abbey of Redon by charter, and by 1093 married Ermengarde of Anjou, as a political alliance with Fulk IV of Anjou to counter Anglo-Norman influence.[4]

Redon Abbey, Final resting place of Alan IV

Duke Alan IV's cousin Geoffrey I Boterel (eldest brother of Alan Rufus) died on 24 August 1093 in battle at Dol while in rebellion against the Duke.

Alan IV abdicated as Duke in 1112. The former Duke retired to the monastery of Redon, where he died in 1119.


In 1098 Alan went on the First Crusade, leaving Ermengarde as his regent, and returned in 1101.


Alan IV married Constance in 1087. Constance died in 1090. She had no issue.

Alan's second marriage was to Ermengarde of Anjou in 1093. With Ermengarde he had three children:[4]

  • Geoffrey - died young;
  • Conan - his successor as Duke of Brittany; and
  • Hawise - she married Count Baldwin VII of Flanders, also known as Hawise Fergant. They divorced and had no issue. It is not known if Hawise remarried or had issue aside from this marriage.

Alan and Ermengarde were separated upon his abdication as Duke in 1112.

His illegitimate son was Brian Fitzcount.


Alan IV died in 1119 at the monastery of Redon, where he had retired after his abdication in 1112, and separation from his wife Ermengarde. His only surviving son, Conan III succeeded him.

See also


  1. ^ Gwenno Piette, A concise History of Brittany (University of Wales Press, Cardiff, 2008), p. 36
  2. ^ Following medieval examples given in Bailey et al., Alan may have been twenty-one years of age at that time.
  3. ^ "The peerage of England: or, an historical and genealogical account of all the flourishing families of this kingdom ..." By Arthur COLLINS (Genealogist), page 294.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Cawley, Charles, Brittany Genealogy extracted Feb 1, 2008, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, retrieved August 2012 ,


  • B. Gregory Bailey, Meaghan E. Bernard, Gregory Carrier, Cherise L. Elliott, John Langdon, Natalie Leishman, Michal Mlynarz, Oksana Mykhed and Lindsay C. Sidders (January 2008). "Coming of Age and the Family in Medieval England". Journal of Family History 33 (1). pp. 41–60.  

External links

Alan IV, Duke of Brittany
House of Cornouaille
Died: 13 October 1119
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Hawise and Hoel II
Duke of Brittany
Succeeded by
Conan III
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