Count Alain of Brittany, Earl of Richmond - Alan the Red, Alan de Ponthievre

Richmond Castle
Richmond Castle, Yorkshire
Photo © Jonathan Oakley, March 2006

Count Alain of Brittany surnamed Fergant was the son of Hoel V Compte de Bretagne, by his wife Havise, sister of Conan II, Compte de Bretagne. Alain married Constance, daughter of William the Conqueror in 1086.

“Alain Felgan” (Fergant) joined the Duke at St. Valery, and brought with him many barons from among the Bretons, and previous to the battle he was appointed, in conjunction with Aimeri de Thouars, to lead the wing of the army which was composed of the Poitevins, the Bretons, and the barons of Maine. He subsequently tells us that Alain Fergant, Count of Brittany, had a great company of Bretons, and fought himself like a noble and valiant knight.

For his services he was rewarded with one hundred and sixty manors in Yorkshire, this being all the lands of Earl Edwin. Eight lordships subsequently became the county of Richmond. Alain Fergant was succeeded in the honour of Richmond by his brother Alain Le Noir (the Black) who also went to the Battle of Hastings and for his services received one hundred and twenty manors in Norfolk and Suffolk. Fergant’s elder brother Brian of Brittany helped William Fitz-Osbern suppress the uprising in Devonshire after the Conquest. He is also said to have defeated the sons of Harold on their return in 1069. Alain Fergant built the Castle of Richmond and dying unmarried in 1089 was buried at the Abbey of Bury St. Edmonds in Suffolk.

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