Devotion to St Ives spread first among his countrymen.  Bretons were under much pressure in the centuries following Ives' death, as they became embroiled in the Breton War of Succession (1341 to 1364), with the two sides backed by the English and the French.  Then came the Hundred Years War, the wider conflict between England and France, from the 1340s to the 1450s.  Ives was invoked by Bretons in war cries, which seems either startling or entirely appropriate, depending on whether one recalls his peace making or more martial side.  In one incident in 1449, "Sainct Yves et Bretaigne!" was even shouted in a sortie by Frenchmen who were only pretending to be Breton.  Ives also appears in one of the Chansons de Geste, the epic poems of the Middle Ages, though this time more in the form of an oath:  "By St Ives, he will return him to me" cries the great Breton soldier Bertrand du Guesclin, as he seeks to rescue his brother from a truce breaking English knight.

Froissard also attests to the popularity of St Ives in his account of French efforts to quell a revolt by soldiers from Gantes.  The High Constable of France exclaims "Ha, saint Yves!  Ha, saint George!  Ha, Our Lady!  What do I see there?"  There was even a story that in 1392 Ives had appeared to Charles VI in the forest of Mans, where the French King was encamped, preparing to invade Brittany, and caused him to turn back.

St Ives continued to be popular among the Dukes of Brittany, especially Jean V, who, while being held prisoner by a rival in 1420, vowed to beautify St Ives' tomb if he would aid his escape.  He kept his promise, donating his weight in gold to pay for a magnificent mausoleum in the early 1400s, staying frequently in Treguier, and also choosing to be buried in the mausoleum himself.  However, Ives' most famous royal piligrim was Anne of Brittany, who visited the tomb in state as Queen of France.  Anne's dowry was so valuable that she married not one but two kings of France, Charles VIII and Louis XII.

Upon Anne's death in 1514 the duchy of Brittany lost its long struggle for independence, and became part of the kingdom of France.  However, Ives remains a patron saint, with St Anne, of Brittany, and his feast day a day of celebration for the region as a whole, a kind of "national" day as well as a religious holiday. 

Ives also had a special place in the hearts of Breton sailors - the canonization inquiry counted more than 100 boat shaped votive offerings hanging above his tomb in 1330, and sailors continued to spread devotion over the following centuries, as their families formed communities in the ports of France and its colonies.  There are few parish churches dedicated to St Ives in Brittany - the region has such a long Christian history that the parishes were "already taken" by other saints.  However, Breton migrants and missionaries have founded chapels and churches in his name in many places further afield - most recently in Dassari, northern Benin, where African parishioners persuaded their Breton priest to choose St Ives rather than his original choice, St Anne.

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