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but they had shown such a disposition to resist her authority as to cause her great uneasiness, and probably to disquiet Henry himself in his warfare with the Welsh. Previous to this time, however, the dissensions which had at one period kept Britanny in a continual state of agitation and alarm, had been renewed by the rëassertion of the claims of Eudes, Viscount of Porhoet, although his only title to the Duchy had been totally extinguished by the death of his wife Bertha. He nevertheless formed for himself a considerable party in Britanny, and that party he contrived to increase by marrying the daughter of Guiomarck of Leon, a distinguished leader, who, with his father, now attached himself to the faction of Eudes, although he was bound by strong ties of gratitude to Conan the legitimate Duke.
One occasion on which Conan, by rendering a vast service to the house of Leon, might imagine that he had gained that family for ever to his cause, must be mentioned here, not simply to show their ingratitude only, because that was and is too common a vice to require any remark, but in order to display the barbarous state of the Duchy of Britanny at that time. The nobles of that province maintained, in its full force, the ancient feudal right of private warfare, which existed, indeed, with various restrictions, throughout the greater part of France for many years after this period, but had been nearly extinguished in England and Normandy.
Every petty Lord, as opportunity served or passion dictated, declared war against his neighbour, ravaged his lands, slew his serfs, and attacked his castle; and a feud of this kind existing between the Lords of Leon and Fou, the latter laid an ambush for Hervé Viscount de Leon and his son Guiomarck, into which they both fell, and were taken.
The Bishop of Saint Paul, son of the one and brother of the other, instantly raised the vassals and retainers of the family, and marching to attack a castle in which they were confined, called Chateaulin, despatched at the same time a messenger to the Duke, informing him of the condition of his relations, and beseeching some reinforcements. Conan without a moment's delay put himself at the head of his forces, marched to the attack of Chateaulin, took it with great bravery, and delivering the Viscount de Leon and his son Guiomarck, made prisoners the Viscount du Fou, his brother, and his son. These three were immediately shut up in the Castle of Daoulas, where they were left to perish with hunger and with thirst, offering to the barbarians of a later epoch an example of cruelty, which was followed almost to the letter. This event took place in 1163; and early in the following year, we find that the Viscount de Leon and Guio. marck, whose daughter was by this time married to Eudes, were arrayed in favour of that Prince against their benefactor and deliverer. At the
same time, and acting on the same side, appears Raoul de Fougeres, who had previously shown himself one of the firmest friends of Conan.
Thus deserted by some of his most powerful supporters, Conan had no resource but to seek some foreign aid; and in 1164 he applied to Henry, to whom indeed he had a right to appeal for assistance as to his feudal superior. Henry, then embarrassed by the disputes with Becket, and by the insurrection in Wales, could do no more than order one of his officers in Normandy, named Richard of Humieres, to raise some forces in the duchy, and march to support the. Duke of Britanny. This was done with some success, and the towns of Combour and Dol were taken from the enemy in the autumn of 1164.
The nobles of Britanny, however, were by no means subdued; and accustomed to resist all authority, they were probably but the more inclined to cast off the yoke of Conan, from his having called upon the King of England for aid. This disposition of the barons of Britanny was encouraged by the promises of Louis; and the revolt of Maine would appear to have been planned between the discontented lords of that province itself, the King of France, and the insurgents of Britanny. According to the usually received rules of policy, Louis was undoubtedly better advised in this instance, than in any of the steps he had taken since the death of Suger; for Henry was by far too powerful in France; and to give occupation to his activity in his own territories, if it could be done without actually calling his arms into French territory, was the best course that the sovereign of that country could pursue.
Henry, however, warned of what was going on, and eagerly entreated by the Duke of Britanny to put down the rebellion, returned to France early in the year 1166, and directed his first efforts against the malcontents of Maine, who were soon reduced to obedience, and were punished by the loss of their strongholds, and in many instances by the imprisonment of their persons. He next marched into Britanny at the head of a large force, and instead of wasting his vigour in desultory efforts against the inferior insurgents, he turned his arms at once against Fougeres, which was at that time a place of very great strength. This town was in fact the key of the duchy; and, built upon a hill, with the two small rivers Nanson and Cæsnon wandering through the plains at the foot, it commanded the whole country round, and was at all times extremely difficult of attack. Into it the lord of Fougeres had thrown himself, having had time to collect a large force, to strengthen the place as far as possible, and to cut down the green corn, and all the forage for many leagues around. Thus, at the approach of Henry in the end of June 1166, that monarch found the fortress filled with troops commanded by an able general, amply supplied with provisions am
munition and every implement of war, the country round it completely desolated, the roads blocked up with stockades and thorn-bushes, and the plains and fields, in which his cavalry might have acted, pierced with innumerable pitfalls, which rendered every movement dangerous.
His honour, however, and reputation, were now completely at stake, and he felt that he must not only capture Fougeres, but must do so in a brilliant and a notable manner. After having overcome the first difficulties, which impeded his near approach to the town, he determined rather to hazard much to gain much, than to wait the slow progress of a lengthened siege, during which the King of France might rouse himself into activity, and attack some other part of his territories in order to withdraw him from Britanny, or else the other insurgents in the duchy itself might be encouraged by the slowness of his progress, and assemble sufficient force to raise the siege of Fougeres. He determined, therefore, upon the bold, perhaps the rash measure, of attempting to take a town so situated by storm. The assault, however, succeeded completely; the English and Normans poured in sword in hand, and the insurgents within were forced to throw down their arms, after a gallant but ineffectual resistance. I do not find that any cruelty was committed. The chiefs remained prisoners of war, and the castle was pillaged and rased to the ground.
It would appear that before the capture of Fou