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Domnonée is the modern French form of Domnonia or Dumnonia (Latin for "Devon"; Breton: Domnonea), a minor kingdom in northern Armorica (Brittany) founded by British immigrants from Dumnonia (Sub-Roman Devon) fleeing the 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 Devon included Trégor, Dol-de-Bretagne through to Goélo, and Penthièvre. Its early rulers are sometimes considered "princes" but seem to have successfully united Brittany and become high kings under Saint Judicaël in the mid-7th century.[1]


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 settlement of Brittany by the Bretons there are several kingdoms of this kind.[2] 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.

Reliable information about the history of Domnonée is limited. A list of Princes includes Riothamus, who led a British force against the king of the Goths.[1] In 530 the principality became the centre of the Breton kingdom.[1]

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 Penthièvre said 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.

  • Gerenton (Gereint)
  • Catou (Cadwy)
  • Urbien (Erbin) ap Gereint
  • Mistakenly named Erbin ap Custennin Corneu, of Dumnonia
Dumnonian Kingdom - Decorated slabs from the Gavrinis passage (replica in Bougon Museum).

Princes of Dumnonia or Domnonée

  • c.380 - Witol or Guitol / Gwidol ap Gradlon, son of the King of the Bretons.
  • c.420 - Deroch I Son of
  • c.460 - Riotham, Son.
  • c.500 - 520 - Riwal Deroc/Ferox, Son. Nicknamed 'the Obstinate/Arrogant'.
  • 520 - 530 - Deroc II, Son.
  • 530 - With the reign of Jonas (Ionas ap Deroch), the principality is raised to a kingdom.
  • 530 - 540 - Jonas (Ionas/Wiomarch/Widimacl) Son. Killed by Conomor. m dau of Budig II King of the Bretons.
  • 540 - c.550 - Judual (Iudwal ap Ionas) Son (born c.530). Imprisoned.
  • bef 550 - 560 - Conomor (Cunomorus) Killed in battle against Clotair, king of the Franks.
  • 560 - 585 - Judual Restored.
  • 585 - 607 - Judhael (Judual (Iudhael ap Iudwal) Son (born c.560))
  • 607 - c. 615/635 - Haeloc (Haelog ap Iudhael)
  • 635 - 657 - Saint Judicaël: Under Judicaël's reign, Bro Erech is merged with Domnonée. Judicaël was descended on his great grandmother's side from Waroch II of Bro Erech.
    Note: As it seems, based on the historical records of Brittany, it is highly probable that Judicaël King of Domnonée was also Iudicael, King of the Bretons, Domnonée's kings probably continue as high kings of Brittany, and Domnonia effectively becomes the chief state of the colony, their kings listed as Kings of the Bretons.
  • 657 - 675 - Judoc, the brother of Judicaël - sought to evade his accession by fleeing to Ponthieu to take up a life as a cleric before eventually moving to Caer-Runic
  • 657(?) - 690 - Alain II Hir, the son of Judicaël rules as High King.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Princes of Domnonée
  2. Nora Kershaw Chadwick, Celtic Kingdoms

External links

de:Dumnonia es:Domnonia fr:Domnonée it:Dumnonia