Page:The Normans in European History.djvu/174

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led to friction and often to armed contests with bishop, baron, or king. In Normandy, significantly, we find none of those communal revolts which meet us throughout the north of France and even as near as LeMans; the towns are always subject to the ultimate authority of the duke, whose domanial rights were considerable even in the episcopal cities and who favored those forms of urban development which strengthened the military resources of the duchy. The early history of the Norman towns is one of the most obscure chapters in Norman history, but it indicates a variety of influences which do not fit into any one of the many theories of municipal origins which have been the subject of so much learned controversy. Some towns were originally fortified places, like the baronial stronghold of Breteuil or Henry I's fortresses of Verneuil, Nonancourt, and Pontorson on the southern border. Some took advantage of the protection of a monastery, as in the case of Fécamp or the bourgs of the abbot and abbess of Caen. The great ports, like Barfleur and Dieppe, obviously owed their importance to trade, and it was trade which created the prosperity of the chief towns of the duchy, Rouen and Caen. However developed, the Norman municipal type exerted no small influence upon urban organization: the laws of Breteuil became the model for Norman foundations on the Welsh border and in Ireland; the Établissements of Rouen were copied in the principal towns of western France,—Tours and Poitiers, Angoulême and