Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 1995-07 > 0806657969

From: "Todd A. Farmerie" <>
Subject: Re: Red Cumyn/Cummin
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 1995 07:39:29 GMT

In a previous article, () says:

>I don't have exact dates handy, but here is the general history that I have:
>The Cumyns were a wealthy Norman family brought to Scotland by David I.
>They married into the Earl of Buchan clan, thus acquiring much land and
>power. At
>one time they controlled the earldoms of Buchan, Angus, Monteith, Badenoch
>and were one of the most powerful clans in Scotland. Devorgilla
(Derbhforgaill in
>Gaelic) was the grandmother of the Red Comyn. She was married to John de
>Balliol who founded Balliol College at Oxford. Their son John (the Black)
>Comyn was King of Scotland and abdicated when asked to pay homage to England
>by Edward.

This is completely wrong, conflating cousins. The King of Scotland was
John Balliol, who was supported by Edward of England (and in fact, was
selected by him to be king). The Black Comyn was more distantly descended
from the royal family, being a descendant of the daughter of Donalban,
brother of Malcolm III.

>His son John (the Red) Comyn stood to be crowned King of Scotland, but a

It was Edward Balliol that stood to succeed his father, but was not
accepted by the Scots.

>bitter battle for power between the Comyn & Bruce clans (I believe that
>John Comyn and Robert Bruce were cousins, through maternal grandmothers who
>were daughters of David, Earl of Huntingdon. Devorgilla's mother was
>Margaret and Robert Bruce has a great grandmother who was Isobel the 2nd
>daughter of David, Earl of Huntingdon)

Robert Bruce and John Balliol were descended from two daughters of David of
Huntingdon, in turn great-grandson of Malcolm III, whose brother was
ancestor of Comyn.

>After John the Black Comyn stepped down, the

As above, the Black Comyn was never King.

>Red Comyn and Robert the Bruce were appointed Guardians of Scotland, with
>William Lamberton of Angus appointed as joint guardian as Comyn and Bruce
>could not work together. By 1301 all three Guardians had resigned. On
>February 10, 1306, Bruce murdered Comyn in the Greyfriars Monastery (founded
>by Devorgilla and her husband John de Balliol) at Dumfries. Bruce had
>himself crowned King of Scotland. My history says that the coronation was
>badly attended as Bruce had to be crowned King before he was
>excommunicated by
>the Pope for the murder of Comyn. The feud between Comyn and Bruce
>continued, and one branch of the family changed their name to Raitt (with
>the Raitt castle still standing today). The clan name today is
>Cumming, with the septs being Comyn, Cumin, Cummings, Farquar, Farquarson,
>Niven, Cheyne, Commons. The direct line to the Red Comyn died with his
>son. My Cumming history tells the family a little differently - Bruce
>murdered the Red Comyn as he knelt to pray (!), but I think this history
>is quite accurate. The Buchan connection, I believe, is from around the
>year 1000, with the marriage of the Comyns into the Buchan clan, which
>I have read was one of the oldest Celtic clans in Scotland.

The marriage of a Comyn to the heiress of Buchan dates from a bit more
recently than that, but the Red and Black Comyns did not descend from the
marriage. As to them marrying into the Buchan clan, I think you need to be
a little careful describing the marriage as such.


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