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Brian of Brittany (c. 1042 – 14 February, perhaps bef. 1086) was a
Breton Breton most often refers to: *anything associated with Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo language, Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula and cultural region in the west of France, covering the western part ...
nobleman who fought in the service of
William I of England William I (c. 1028Bates ''William the Conqueror'' p. 33 – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identi ...

William I of England
. A powerful magnate in south-western England, he was the first post-
Conquest Conquest is the act of military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, g ...
earl of Cornwall The title of Earl of Cornwall was created several times in the Peerage of England The Peerage of England comprises all peerage A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary title Hereditary titles, in a general ...
. Brian was born in about 1042, a son of Odo, Count of Penthièvre. Brian joined in the
Norman Conquest of England The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to ...
, along with his brothers
Alan the Black Alan the Black ( la, Alanus Niger, french: Alain le Noir; died 1098) was the second lord of the Honour of Richmond from 1093 until his death. He was a younger son of Odo, Count of Penthièvre. He succeeded his elder brother, Alan Rufus Alan Rufus ...
(Alain le Noir), and
Alan the Red
Alan the Red
. Godwine and
Edmund Edmund is a masculine given name or surname In some cultures, a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of one's personal name that indicates their family, tribe or community. Practices vary by culture. The family name may be pl ...
, sons of
Harold Godwinson Harold Godwinson ( – 14 October 1066), also called Harold II, was the last crowned Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a person's identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences ...
, escaped after the Battle of Hastings to Leinster, where they were guests of
Diarmait Diarmuid Ua Duibhne (Irish pronunciation: ) or Diarmid O'Dyna, also known as Diarmuid of the Love Spot, was a demigod, son of Donn and one of the Fianna in the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology (traditionally set in the 2nd to 4th century). He is ...
. In 1068 and 1069 Diarmait lent them the fleet of Dublin for attempted invasions of England. At midsummer (perhaps 26th June) in 1069 Brian and Alan led a force that defeated Harold's sons at the Battle of Northam in Devon. Later in the same year Brian and William fitz Osbern were sent to relieve sieges at Shrewsbury and Exeter by English forces rebelling against Norman lordship. They were too late to save the former but a sally by the defenders of Exeter drove the English into the path of Brian and William who "punished their audacity with great slaughter". After defeating Harold's sons, Brian's forces went north to counter the rebellion by Eadric the Wild, while William the Conqueror's army travelled west; the two armies joined and won the Battle of Stafford. Brian received grants of land in Suffolk and Cornwall, although the first mention of him as Earl of Cornwall was not made until 1140, by his nephew Alan, 1st Earl of Richmond who had been given the same title by King Stephen of England, King Stephen and may have been trying to improve the legitimacy of his new rank. Brian's name is often associated with the construction of Launceston Castle. Brian may have left England soon after the battles of 1069, or perhaps following the rebellion of Ralph de Gael, Ralph de Gaël in 1075. In any case, his estates became part of the grants made by King William to Robert of Mortain. Brian may have lived the rest of his life as a semi-invalid in and near Brittany, staying with his wife. Edward Augustus Freeman, E. A. Freeman however has him holding Kastoria in Thessaly for Bohemond I of Antioch until 1083, identifying him with the 'Bryennius' of Books V and VI of Anna Komnene's 'The Alexiad'. In 1084 he witnessed a charter of his eldest brother Geoffrey Boterel in Brittany and another donating property to the abbey of Saint-Florent, Saumur in Anjou in that year. He may have died before 1086. It is not clear whether Brian had descendants.


Notes


Anna Komnene, References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Brian Of Brittany 1040s births 1085 deaths 1084 deaths 11th-century English nobility Earls of Cornwall (1068) People from Brittany Anglo-Normans Norman warriors