Domnonée is the modern French form of Domnonia or
"Devon"; Breton: Domnonea), an historic kingdom in northern Armorica
(Brittany) founded by British immigrants from
Devon) fleeing the
Saxon invasions of Britain
Saxon invasions of Britain in the early Middle
Ages. Headed by the same ruling family, it was variously separate or
united with its motherland and its
Latin name was used for both
indiscriminately. The mainland territory of
Dol-de-Bretagne through to Goélo, and Penthièvre.
At the time of the Roman conquest of Gaul, the rough area of later
Domnonée was held by the pagan Curiosolite Gauls.
Domnonée is said
to have been founded in the 4th century by Christian Briton
immigrants; it greatly expanded in the wake of subsequent waves of
refugees from the Saxon invasions of Britain.
Domnonée retained close
political links between the Brythonic (Celtic) territories in Britain
(Wales, Cornwall, Devon), and the newly created Armorican Britain
(Brittany), and it hosted many kings, princes, clerics and other
leaders who came over from Celtic Britain. The sea was a unifying
rather than divisive factor. In the traditions relating to the
Brittany by the Bretons there are several kingdoms of
this kind. A number of legends and hagiographic lives of Breton
saints contain references to the close political ties between
religious communities in Wales and Brittany. The close proximity
resulted in possessions on both sides of the Channel by some religious
orders. For example, the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Beauport, before Henry
VIII, had parishes on the coast of Goélo and in Devon.
It has been theorised that a single sovereignty over the British and
Breton branches existed for a period. Conomor, who was killed fighting
Clotaire I, king of the Franks, is referred to in stories from both
Britain and Brittany. He would have been a British military leader who
was guarding the Channel from attacks by pirates, perhaps in alliance
with Childebert I, son of Clovis.
In 1034, the term was used to designate the comté of
to be the preserve of Eudes, second son of Geoffrey I, Duke of
Brittany. The name disappeared shortly after.
History of the Principality of
Dumnonia or Domnonée
Situated to the north east of Brittany, the earliest princes are
mentioned in several Lives of the Saints. The three Armorican
principalities were all subservient to the King of Brittany. Until the
reign of Jonas, the rulers of Domnonia were titled princes. After
that, they supply the Kings of the Bretons, and Domnonia itself was
elevated as a result.
Dumnonian Kingdom - Decorated slabs from the Gavrinis passage (replica
in Bougon Museum).
^ Nora Kershaw Chadwic