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Comyn, John

Comyn, John (d. 1306), known as the ‘Red Comyn’. Son and heir of John Comyn, he was a leading Scottish patriot, despite appearances to the contrary—not least his murder by Robert Bruce, the future king. A devoted supporter of his uncle King John Balliol, he remained steadfastly loyal after Balliol's enforced abdication, and served from 1298 as a guardian or regent of Scotland in Balliol's name. Though he had established himself as the most powerful political figure in Scotland, he was unable to halt Edward I's massive campaign against the Scots in 1304, when he and other Scottish leaders had to submit. John's murder by Bruce and his companions in the Franciscan church, Dumfries, has been variously interpreted. Most likely, it was provoked by his refusal to desert Balliol and support Bruce's bid for the throne.

Keith J. Stringer

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Comyn, John

Comyn, John (d. 1303), known as the ‘Red Comyn’. A guardian (regent) of Scotland during the effective interregnum between Alexander III's death (1286) and John Balliol's accession (1292). Sometimes wrongly called the ‘Black Comyn’ by historians, he was in fact known to contemporaries as the ‘Red Comyn’, a title usually taken by the head of his family, the most influential baronial dynasty in 13th-cent. Scotland. He held the great Highland lordships of Badenoch and Lochaber, and estates in many other parts of Scotland. He helped to negotiate the treaty of Birgham and subsequently supported Balliol, his brother-in-law, as king of Scots. He submitted to Edward I in 1296, but had joined William Wallace by December 1297.

Keith J. Stringer

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Comyn, John ( (Red Comyn), d. 1306, Scottish nobleman)

John Comyn, d. 1306, Scottish nobleman. He was called the Red Comyn, to distinguish him from his father, the Black Comyn. Aiding his uncle, John de Baliol, in the struggle against Edward I, he was for a time held hostage by the English. After the rout of the Scottish troops at Falkirk (1298), he was appointed one of the guardians of the realm. He renewed the struggle with Edward, but surrendered in 1304 on condition that he could retain his lands. He was murdered at Dumfries by Robert the Bruce (later Robert I), probably because Robert feared him as a rival claimant to the throne. The name also appears as Cumming.

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Comyn, John ( (Black Comyn), d. c.1300, Scottish nobleman)

John Comyn (kŭm´Ĭn), d. c.1300, Scottish nobleman, known as the Black Comyn. In 1286 he became one of the six regents for Margaret Maid of Norway and, as such, agreed to the treaty of 1290, by which Margaret was to marry the eldest son of Edward I of England. After her death, he was at first a claimant for the vacant throne but then supported the claim of his brother-in-law, John de Baliol, who was awarded the crown by Edward I of England in 1292. Comyn joined Baliol in his revolt against Edward but submitted to the English king in 1296. The name also appears as Cumming.

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