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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



GEOFFREY DE BRETAGNE was the eldest son and heir of Conan le Tort (the Crooked), sovereign Duke of Brittany, and Ermengarde of the House of Anjou.

His father was killed in 992 fighting his uncle Fulk Nerra (the Black).

12-year-old Geoffrey inherited his father’s title as Duke of Brittany.

Since he was still a minor, his mother Ermengarde acted as Regent. As an Angevin (of Anjou), she had a greater sympathy with her brother Fulk’s allies than with those of Geoffrey’s father.

At the age of 16, Geoffrey was married to Hawise, sister of Richard II, Duke of Normandy. By now, the Normans were the greatest power in Northern France. Soon after, his sister Judith was married to Duke Richard “the Good” himself. She was thus the grandmother of William the Conqueror.

The marriage ensured the safety of Brittany from Norman conquest.


HAWISE DE NORMANDIE. Hawise or Hedwig was born around 978 to Duke Richard I of Normandy and his wife, and former mistress, Gunnor. She was sister to Duke Richard II “the Good”, and also to Robert, Count of Evereux and Archbishop of Rouen.

She was the second of three sisters given in strategic marriages. Her sister Emma married two English kings, Aethelred the Unready and Cnut the Great, while Maud married Odo II, Count of Blois.

The marriage of Hawise and Geoffrey [1]
Her brother Richard, Duke of Normandy, holds her arm.


Hawise and Geoffrey had three sons and one daughter:

Alain de Bretagne, 997.
Evenus de Bretagne, 997/8.
Eudes de Bretagne.
Adela de Bretagne. Adela became Abbess of Saint-Georges in Rennes.


In 1008, Geoffrey made a pilgrimage to Rome. He died on 20 Nov 1008, probably at Nantes, on his return journey to Rennes. Some sources say simply that he died, others, including a charter of 1026, that he was killed.


Just as Geoffrey had succeeded to the dukedom of Brittany while still a minor, so too his son Alain inherited his father’s title while probably around 11.

It was now Hawise’s turn to act as Regent for her son. She was aided in this by her brother Duke Richard, who took the opportunity, not only to protect his nephews, but to play a major part in ruling Brittany.

Her regency came under threat in 1010  with a peasants’ revolt that had spread from Normandy. The Norman peasants had staged a major revolt in 996, while Duke Richard was himself still a minor. The peasants wanted relief from the barons demands for extra services, but principally demanded the return of hunting and fishing rights. It was also a protest against the rise of serfdom in Normandy.

That revolt was savagely suppressed by the regent Rodulf d’Ivry. Peasant leaders who brought complaints had their hands and feet cut off. Others were blinded, impaled, or burnt alive, land owners forfeited their land.

Now it was the turn of Brittany to feel this resentment. Young Alain, encouraged by his mother, led the nobles to suppress the rebellion. We do not know what punishments were meted out.

In 1026 Alain came of age and assumed full power as Alain III, Duke of Brittany. Hawise was no longer regent.


Hawise died on 21 Feb 1034, in her fifties.


[1] Gallica / Bibliothèque nationale de France : Grandes chroniques de France, enluminure attribuée au Maître de Marguerite d’Orléans, 1460, Paris . Bretagne Culture Diversité. http://bcd.bzh/becedia/sites/default/files/dossiers-thematiques/banniere_dt_1.jpeg




Sampson Tree