Harvey VII, Lord of Léon

Harvey VII of Léon (died 1344) was a Breton lord, son of Harvey VI, Lord of Léon and his wife Joanna of Montmorency. He succeeded his father as Lord of Léon in 1337. He was also Lord of Noyon-sur-Andelle. The Lords of Léon were a junior branch of the Viscounts of Léon which was founded by Harvey I, second son of Guihomar IV, Viscount of Léon. Harvey VII won fame during the War of the Breton Succession.

Léon.svg Harvey VII, Lord of Léon
BornArmoiries Bretagne - Arms of Brittany.svg Duchy of Brittany
Angers (?)
AllegianceBlason France moderne.svg Kingdom of France then
Armoiries Jean de Montfort.svg House of Montfort then
Blason Blois-Châtillon.svg House of Blois
Hundred Years' War
War of the Breton Succession
Battles/warsSiege of Vannes (1342)
Spouse(s)Margaret of Retz
Margaret of Avaugour
ChildrenHarvey VIII


Harvey VII of Léon was the son of Harvey VI, Lord of Léon, and Joanna of Montmorency (born c. 1287), the eldest daughter of Erard of Montmorency, Lord of Conflans, and Joanna, Lady of Longueval. In 1323 or 1326, Harvey married firstly Margaret of Retz, daughter of Girard III Chabot, Lord of Retz, and Mary of Parthenay. His wife died in 1333 or 1334 without issue.

Harvey VII of Léon succeeded his father as Lord of Léon in 1337. His fief was the castle of La Roche-Maurice. After his first wife's death, he married Margaret of Avaugour, daughter of Henry IV of Avaugour, Lord of Goëllo and Mayenne, and Joan of Harcourt. Margaret was the aunt of Joan of Penthièvre, the daughter of Guy of Penthièvre and Joan of Avaugour, and niece of Duke John III. Harvey VII made several agreements concerning the share of Margaret's inheritance, his wife being her father's main heir. The rich heiress also claims part of the inheritance of her grandfather Henry III as well as her aunt Blanche in Normandy, Mayenne and Goëlo. The inheritance of the House of Avaugour brought about many trials and disputes that will last until the late 14th century. Procedures pitting Harvey VII and his wife against important figures such as the Bishops of Saint-Malo and Cornouaille, the seneschal of Quimper and Harvey IV, Lord of Pont-l'Abbé.

Harvey VII of Léon owned a house in Paris, the "Maison d'Ardoise", located in the rue Saint-Denis. It was part of the goods belonging to his wife Margaret d'Avaugour, who sold it in 1343 or 1344 to the Confrérie Saint-Jacques for pilgrims, for the modest sum of 620 livres "for the liberation of the said lord Harvey of Léon, who was, as they said, a prisoner of the English king in the town of London"[1] (see next paragraph).

Hundred Years' War and War of the Breton SuccessionEdit

John of Montfort and Philip VI of France.

The estates held by Harvey VII in France and Normandy forced him to serve under the French king's banner. He took part to the Hundred Years' War in Flanders from the summer of 1340. At the beginning of the War of the Breton Succession and although he was related to Joan of Penthièvre, Harvey VII fought on the side of John of Montfort, who summoned an assembly of great Breton lords in May 1341 in order to assert his rights to the throne of Brittany after Duke John III the Good died without an heir.

Harvey VII is said to have accompanied John of Montfort during his legendary ride in June and July 1341 and to have submitted a large number of Breton strongholds. In September, the French King Philip VI of France acknowledged Charles of Blois Duke of Brittany in the right of his wife Joan of Penthièvre. In November, the king supported Charles of Blois and besieged Nantes, then held by John of Montfort. Harvey VII, who defended the city of Nantes, became the target of John of Montfort's reproaches after a disastrous sortie that resulted in the death of many Breton knights. The town of Nantes was taken on 21 November 1341 after a three-week siege. John of Montfort was taken prisoner and imprisoned in the Louvre in Paris. His wife Joanna carried on the struggle.

The reproaches made by John of Montfort to Harvey VII ended in his shift of allegiance and he sided with Charles of Blois; he besieged the towns of Hennebont and Carhaix. As he was in the episcopal manor of Trégarantec, Harvey VII was taken prisoner by Walter Manny and Tanguy du Châtel and sent to England. He was exchanged with the Earl of Salisbury and took part to the siege of Vannes. He taken prisoner once more, sent back to England and was released only after a ransom of 100,000 écus.[2] Chronicler Jean Froissart mentions hisfeats against the Spanish Moors and the Prussian pagans. He died “while going back to his country in the town of Angiers” probably in late 1344.

Marriages and issueEdit

Harvey VII married firstly Margaret of Retz. They had no issue.

Harvey VII married secondly Margaret of Avaugour (1302 – 20 June 1375). They had four children:

In 1349, Jeanne de Léon married John I of Rohan, who inherited the lordship of Léon and Noyon in 1363. Noyon had belonged to a junior branch of the Lords of Léon. Joanna of Rohan[3] married firstly Robert of Alençon[4] in 1374, and secondly Peter II of Amboise.

  • Mary of Léon, who married John of Kergorlay in 1362. She was widowed and married secondly John Mallet, Lord of Graville before 1369.
  • Catherine de Léon, who married Henry of Plédran, a knight and councillor of Duke Charles and Duchess Joan. She married secondly a distant cousin, William of Léon, lord of Hacqueville, grandson of William of Léon, the brother of Harvey VI of Léon.

Harvey VII of Léon is said to have had a fourth daughter, Margaret, who married Yvon of Trogoff, but this daughter is never mentioned in the division charters.


  1. ^ Bohic
  2. ^ Bohic
  3. ^ Daughter of John I of Rohan and Joanna of Léon.
  4. ^ Count of Perche, belonging to the House of Valois.


  • Chaillou, Léa. The House of Léon: Genealogy and Origins. Foundations: The Journal of the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, volume 11, 2019, pp. 19–48 ISSN 1479-5078
  • Arthur de La Borderie Histoire de Bretagne réédition Joseph Floch Imprimeur Éditeur à Mayenne (1975) « Tome Troisième (995-1364) » p. 425,426 n°1,428,437-438,444,455,459-460,464,469 n°3,474.
  • Patrick Kernévez, Frédéric Morvan, Généalogie des Hervé de Léon (vers 1180 – 1363) in Bulletin de la Société archéologique du Finistère, Tome CXXXI, 2002, p. 279-312.