Eleanor of Brittany (abbess)

Eleanor of Brittany (1275 – 16 May 1342) was the sixteenth abbess of Fontevrault.

Detail from the Gradual of Eleanor of Brittany, showing the Nativity

She was born in England to John II, Duke of Brittany and Beatrice of England, and in 1281 at the age of seven entered Amesbury Abbey, a priory of the Fontevrault order (her first cousin, twice removed, Eleanor, Fair Maid of Brittany is buried there).

In 1290 she moved to Fontevrault Abbey in the Loire region of France, the parent abbey of the order, where she took her vows and became a nun. The richly illuminated Fontevraud Gradual was presented to her upon her induction. In 1304 she became abbess. Upon her death in 1342 she bequeathed the gradual to the abbey. It survives to this day and is held by the public library of Limoges.


  • Berenice M. Kerr, Religious life for women, c.1100-c.1350 : Fontevraud in England. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • Célestin Port, Dictionnaire historique, géographique et biographique de Maine-et-Loire et de l'ancienne province d'Anjou : A-C, t. 1, Angers, H. Siraudeau et Cie, 1965, 2nd edition.