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Fay Sampson’s Family History

This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines, and some go back 30 generations. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from my own as (1)

Sampson  Tree



EUDES DE BRETAGNE is also known as Odo I Comte de Penthievre and  as Eozen Penteur.[1]

He was a younger son of Geoffrey I, Duke of Brittany, and Hawise de Normandie, daughter of Duke Richard I of Normandy. Theirs was a strategic marriage, to link Brittany more securely under the wing of Normandy, and strengthen protection for both.

He was born towards the close of the century. He was only a boy in 1008 when his father died on the way back from a pilgrimage to Rome. His elder brother Alain became the ruling Duke of Brittany, though, since he was a minor, their mother Hawise acted as Regent. She was aided in this by her powerful brother, Duke Richard II of Normandy.

When they came to their majority, though Alain was the eldest, with the title of Duke of Brittany, Eudes seems to have taken an active share in the government of the duchy until the death of their mother in 1034.

.Hawise with her sons Alain and Eudes.[2]

Their joint rule, however, was not without disputes. Eventually, their uncle Judicael, Bishop of Vannes, arbitrated. The brothers agree to divide the territories. Eudes took the dioceses of Dol, Saint Malo, Saint Brieuc and Treguier. These lie along the northern coast of Brittany, from the base of the Cherbourg Peninsula halfway to Finisterre. In addition, he had the counties and baronies of Penthièvre, Goëlo, Avaugour and Lamballe. Eudes placed his capital at Lamballe, between St Malo and St Brieuc, where he began issuing coins in his own name

Eudes married Orguen de Cornouaïlle.


ORGUEN (AGNES) DE CORNOUAÏLLE was the daughter of Alain Canhiart, Comte de Cournaïlle, and Judith of Nantes. Cornouaïlle is the far west of Brittany.

Orguen’s father took part in the revolt against Eudes’s brother Alain in 1010. Some of his territory was seized as a punishment, but most was later returned in gratitude for his helping the young Duke to marry Berthe of Blois.


Eudes and Orguen had eight sons and at least one daughter:
Adèle (born c. 1035)
Geoffroy “Boterel” de Bretagne.
Brien de Bretagne.
Alain “Rufus” de Bretagne.
Alain “Niger” de Bretagne.
Guillaume de Bretagne.
Robert d’Ivry.
Richard de Bretagne.
Etienne, Comte de Ponthievre

In addition, Eudes had five sons and a daughter by a mistress whose name we do not know. The sons were Derrien, Seigneur de la Roche-Derrien, Bodin, Bardulf, Acarias, Ribald and Arnald. Their daughter’s name is unknown.


The agreement to share the rule of Brittany was apparently not enough for Eudes. Alain died in 1040, said to have been poisoned on a visit to Normandy. The dukedom should have passed to his eldest son Conan, who was still a minor, but Eudes seized control, holding Conan in custody. He ruled “freely without acknowledging any lord for 15 years”.

Conan was freed by his supporters in 1047.

The power of Normandy was always a concern for Brittany and for the rest of France. In 1054 Geoffrey, Viscount of Mayenne in Maine, was affronted by William of Normandy’s new fortifications at Ambrières. He appealed to Geoffrey, Count of Anjou, who, in turn, called to his assistance Guy-William of Aquitaine and Count Eudo of Brittany.

In a charter dated to 1056/1060, Eudes granted land in Beauvais, Picardy, to the Abbey of Angers Saint-Aubin. Witnesses included his wife Orguen and their sons Geoffrey, Alan Rufus, William, Robert and Richard.

Conan reached his majority in 1054, but Eudes refused to relinquish control of the Duchy. Finally, his nephew retaliated. By 1056 he had gained the upper hand in Brittany. In 1057 he captured his uncle Eudes and imprisoned him in chains, confirming himself as the rightful Duke. Eudes’s’s eldest son Geoffrey Boterel continued to fight.

In 1062, peace was concluded between Conan and Geoffrey. Eudes, who was now free, continued the fight alone.

In 1064, Eudes’s liegeman Rivallon I of Dol invited Duke William of Normandy to join him against Conan, thus initiating the Breton-Norman War of 1064-1065. In this, Normandy, Anjou, Dol de Bretagne and the captive Harold Godwinson, later to become King Harold of England, combined against Conan II, as depicted in three panels of the Bayeux Tapestry. Historians differ on whether William or Conan should be considered the victor in this conflict.

Matters were accelerating towards the Norman Conquest of Britain in 1066. Eudes provided, trained and equipped 5000 Breton soldiers for William the Conqueror’s army. Of these, 4000 were professionals, comprising light cavalry, heavy cavalry, archers, crossbowmen and axemen; he also trained 1000 levied (conscripted) spearmen. Eudes put these troops on 100 ships under the command of his sons Count Alan Rufus and Count Brian. They sailed from Brittany to join the Norman forces gathering at Barfleur, then on to William’s staging point at Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, in readiness to cross the Channel.

Alan Rufus and Brian were duly rewarded with English lands and titles.

Eudes was now in his seventies. Nevertheless, he was involved in the failed 1075/1076 rebellion against Hoel II, Duke of Brittany, by Geoffrey Grenonat of Rennes and Ralph de Gael. Hoel II was supported by William the Conqueror, thus briefly placing Eudes and William on opposing sides once again. The situation was soon resolved when, to William’s disappointment, Hoel came to terms with the rebels.

On 7 January 1079, at about 80 years of age, Eudes died in Cesson-Sévigné, an eastern suburb of Rennes. He was named as Dux Britanniae”. He was buried in Saint-Brieuc Cathedral.


By now, the Norman Conquest was a fait accompli. Members of Eudes’s family who had supported William the Conqueror were rewarded with English land. His second son, Count Alan Rufus, donated property to Swavesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire, for the soul of “patris sui Eudonis comitis” (his father Count Eudes).
Eudes and Orguen’s eldest son Geoffrey “Boterel” succeeded his father as Count of Penthièvre and Tréguier. After the death of his father he rebelled against Duke Conan, but was forced to flee. He was killed in a battle at Dol in 1091-3.

Brian de Bretagne took part in the Norman Conquest. He is said to have commanded a band of Bretons with his brother Alain Rufus at the Battle of Hastings and to have defeated the sons of the English King Harold near the River Taw in Devon in June 1069. William the Conqueror appointed him Lieutenant in south-west England and he became Earl of Cornwall. He may have been deposed after the rebellion of Ralph de Gaël in 1075. He lived the remainder of his life as a semi-invalid in Brittany.

Alain Rufus. The Breton form of his name means “Red Deer”. He took part in the Norman Conquest. He is said to have commanded the Breton contingent at the Battle of Hastings with his brother Alain Niger. The majority of manors he was given as a reward were mainly in East Anglia. He promoted trade at Boston, Lincolnshire, but also built St Mary’s Abbey, York, Richmond Castle and the first castle at Middleham. He was effectively the first Earl of Richmond in Yorkshire. He commanded the king’s garrison in Normandy at the time of the siege of the castle of Sainte-Suzanne in 1083/85. In the uprising of 1088, against William II, Alan Rufus was the first of the great magnates to support the Norman king against Odo, Earl of Kent and Bishop of Bayeux (who commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry), and his allies.

Alain abducted Gunhild, illegitimate daughter of Harold King of England and his common law wife Eadgyth Swanneshals (Edith Swan-neck) from Wilton Abbey and lived with her as his mistress. He died childless and was buried at Bury St Edmunds on 4 Aug 1089.

Alain Niger inherited the Earldom of Richmond from his brother Alain Rufus. His Breton name means “Black Deer”. He also seems to have inherited his brother’s mistress Gunhild. Like Alain Rufus, he died childless.

Stephen (Etienne), Count of Tréguier, married Havise of Guingamp. He succeeded Alain Rufus and Alain Niger as de facto Earl of Richmond. He also inherited his brother Geoffrey’s title as Count of Penthièvre and his other lands in Brittany.

Robert took part in the Norman Conquest before becoming a monk.

Richard was a canon of Bayeux.

Guillaume or William went to Switzerland and entered the service of the Holy Roman Emperor. He suppressed the revolt of Agaunum (today Saint-Maurice-en-Valais), and received a castle as his reward.

An unnamed daughter married Enisandus Musardus de Pleveno who was the Lord of Cheveley in Cambridgeshire (under Alan Rufus as tenant-in-chief) and first Constable of Richmond Castle. He was lord of some twenty manors in Richmondshire.

Eudes’s illegitimate son Ribald received the Lordship of Middleham from Alan Rufus.

Bardolf moved to England. where he held the lordship of Ravensworth and became the ancestor of the Fitzhugh family.
Bodin, brother of Bardolf, became Lord of Bedale.

Derrien, another possible son, became Lord of La Roche-Derrien in Brittany.

Eudes and Orguen’s descendants formed the junior branch of the Breton ducal family. This branch gained control of the duchy in 1156 under Conan IV of Brittany.


[1] Sources include Connected Bloodlines, Eudes, Duke of Brittany, https://www.connectedbloodlines.com/getperson.php?personID=I10611&tree=lowell, and Wikipedia, Odo, Count of Penthièvre,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odo,_Count_of_Penthi%C3%A8vre
[2] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e7/Haviza_syni.jpg




Sampson Tree