1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Comyn, John

COMYN, JOHN (d. c. 1300), Scottish baron, was a son of John Comyn (d. 1274), justiciar of Galloway, who was a nephew of the constable of Scotland, Alexander Comyn, earl of Buchan (d. 1289), and of the powerful and wealthy Walter Comyn, earl of Mentieth (d. 1258). With his uncle the earl of Buchan, the elder Comyn took a prominent part in the affairs of Scotland during the latter part of the 13th century, and he had interests and estates in England as well as in his native land. He fought for Henry III. at Northampton and at Lewes, and was afterwards imprisoned for a short time in London. The younger Comyn, who had inherited the lordship of Badenoch from his great-uncle the earl of Mentieth, was appointed one of the guardians of Scotland in 1286, and shared in the negotiations between Edward I. and the Scots in 1289 and 1290. When Margaret, the Maid of Norway, died in 1290, Comyn was one of the claimants for the Scottish throne, but he did not press his candidature, and like the other Comyns urged the claim of John de Baliol. After supporting Baliol in his rising against Edward I., Comyn submitted to the English king in 1296; he was sent to reside in England, but returned to Scotland shortly before his death.

Comyn’s son, John Comyn (d. 1306), called the “red Comyn,” is more famous. Like his father he assisted Baliol in his rising against Edward I., and he was for some time a hostage in England. Having been made guardian of Scotland after the battle of Falkirk in 1298 he led the resistance to the English king for about five years, and then early in 1304 made an honourable surrender. Comyn is chiefly known for his memorable quarrel with Robert the Bruce. The origin of the dispute is uncertain. Doubtless the two regarded each other as rivals; Comyn may have refused to join in the insurrection planned by Bruce. At all events the pair met at Dumfries in January 1306; during a heated altercation charges of treachery were made, and Comyn was stabbed to death either by Bruce or by his followers.

Another member of the Comyn family who took an active part in Scottish affairs during these troubled times is John Comyn, earl of Buchan (d. c. 1313). This earl, a son of Earl Alexander, was constable of Scotland, and was first an ally and then an enemy of Robert the Bruce.