36. (C) RENNES-BRETAGNE

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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

 BERENGER DE RENNES and ? DE BRETAGNE (36)

 

BERENGER DE RENNES. Berenger’s parentage cannot be verified. Many researchers believe him to be an undocumented son of Henry, Duke of Franconia and Margrave (Marquis) of Saxony. This is because Berenger gave one of his daughters the unusual name of Poppa. The name Poppo was so popular in Henry’s family that they were known as the Popponids.[1]

It is thought that he may have been named Berenger after Berenger I of Neustria, who, if the supposition about his father is correct, may be his maternal grandfather.

Franconia was a Frankish speaking area in Bavaria. Saxony is in the east of modern Germany, bordering on Bavaria, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Henry’s vast lordship extended from the Breton March in the west to Saxony in the east. Berenger was Count of Bayeux and Rennes and Margrave of the Breton March. As with the Marcher Lords controlling the border between England and Wales, so the Breton March was the borderland between Brittany and the rest of modern France.

Henry had at least two wives. Ingeltrude of Friuli bore him three sons and two daughters. Baba of Spoleta had one known son. If Henry’s is indeed Berenger’s father, then Baba is most likely to be his mother, since she was the daughter of Berenger I of Neustria. Neustria consisted of land in Northern France, excluding Brittany.

Berenger died in 896, giving him a likely birth date in the mid-9th century.

 

We do not know the name of Berengar’s wife, but she is believed to be the daughter of Gurwent/Gurvand, Duke of Brittany. Berenger gained the countship of Rennes through this marriage.

 

The couple had one known son, Judicael or Juhael. They are also often credited with a daughter Poppa.

 

This was a momentous time for Northern France. The Vikings were invading and consolidating their power in Normandy, named after them. In 874 King Salomon of Brittany was murdered by a rival. The Vikings took advantage of this power vacuum to launch a surge of attacks. The situation was only saved by a hasty alliance between the Frankish Berenger of Rennes and the Breton Alan the Great of Vannes.

Berenger was rewarded with more lands for holding his ground against their attacks. He was Count of Bayeux and Rennes and Margrave of the Breton March from 886 until his death a decade later.

Berenger and Alan had driven out the Vikings’ Loire fleet, but in 889-90 they were again under attack, this time from the Seine Vikings. Berenger and Alan again joined forces and led the Breton armies into the field. Finding their retreat down the Marne blocked, the Vikings hauled their ships overland to the Vire and besieged Saint-Lo. There the Bretons virtually annihilated their fleet.

Berenger’s daughter married Rollo, the first Viking ruler of Normandy. He was born in either Denmark or Norway. He emerged as an outstanding warrior among the Vikings now settling on Frankish soil. According to two accounts, he raided Bayeux, carried off Berenger’s beautiful daughter Poppa and married her “in the Danish manner”.[2] Others hold that this was a strategic marriage to secure peace between the Vikings and the Franks.

An alternative version has Poppa as the daughter of Guy Count of Senlis.

 

Fontaine de Poppa de Bayeux
Bayeux[3]

 

Berenger died in 896. We have no information about his wife’s death. He was succeeded by his son Judicael.

Berenger’s family became the first bilingual Breton and Gallo-speaking lords holding residence within Brittany. They were centred on Rennes and Penthièvre, to the north of the Quiberon peninsula.

 

 

[1] Most information is from the website Connected Bloodlines. http://www.connectedbloodlines.com/getperson.php?personID=I12631&tree=lowell
[2] Guillaume de Jumièges and Orderic Vitalis
[3] https://statues.vanderkrogt.net/Foto/fr/frbn047.jpg

 

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