Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 11.djvu/469

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Buchan acted with his namesake as envoy to Edward, and was defeated by that monarch in battle (An. Ed. I in Rishanger, pp. 440-1). In 1303 he was sent by the guardians on a mission to France, and strongly exhorted the government to resist England if it refused to join the French truce. Such disobedience to Edward resulted in his English lands being forfeited, and granted to Henry de Percy, in March 1304. But in May his lands were again restored to him (Palgrave, p. 288), he was made a member of the council of the new English governor, John of Brittany (ib. p. 293), and in September 1305 he was one of the Scottish commissioners who appeared at the union parliament at Westminster to accept Edward's great ordinance for the government of Scotland. Next year came the decisive breach between Bruce and the house of Comyn. The tragedy of Dumfries made Bruce king over Scotland, but Buchan took arms to avenge his cousin's murder and champion the cause of Edward. His wife, however, strongly adhered to the patriotic side. This lady was Isabella, daughter of Duncan, earl of Fife. The house of Macduff had long claimed the right of crowning the Scottish kings as an hereditary privilege; but her brother, the then Earl of Fife, was absent in England. Her husband was Bruce's bitter enemy; but she stole away from him secretly and hurried with the best horses in his stables to Scone, where she arrived just in time to place the crown on King Robert's head, as the nearest available representative of her house. Within a year she was captured by the English, and was kept closely confined in a latticed cage within a turret of Berwick Castle (Fœdera, i. 995, gives little countenance to the sensational details in Rishanger, p. 229). Her husband was as signally unlucky in his diametrically opposite policy. Beaten in 1307 at Slaines, he suffered a crushing defeat at Inverury on the Don in the succeeding year. Bruce, who had risen from a sick bed to fight the battle, was restored to health through excitement and pleasure. The heirship or harrying of Buchan, the earl's own patrimony, followed his discomfiture (Fordun, i. 343; {sc|Barbour}}, Bruce, bk. ix. lines 294-300). Comyn fled to England and lost his Scottish estates. He died about 1313, leaving no issue.

His wife, who was released from her cage in 1310 for a milder custody in a religious house in Berwick, was soon after his death set free altogether (Rotuli Scotiæ, i. 85 b; Fœdera, ii. 209). The Scottish estates of the house were seized by King Robert. In the days of Robert II they were granted along wi th Badenoch to the new line of earls of Buchan of the house of Stewart. Even in England Buchan's estates were taken possession of by Edward II, as his heiresses, daughters of his brother, Alexander Comyn, who had died before him, were under age. But Alice the elder's husband, Henry de Beaumont, received a grant of Whitwick in 1327. Down to his death Beaumont styled himself earl of Buchan (Cal. Inq. post Mortem, ii. 93), but he never won back any of the Scottish estates that had once belonged to the fallen house of Comyn.

[The Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland, vol. ii. gives an abstract of the chief documentary authorities. Many of the more important papers are printed in extenso in Kymer's Fcedera, Eecord edition, vols. i. and ii.; Stevenson's Documents illustrative of the History of Scotland, 1286-1306, and Palgrave's Documents and Records relating to Scotland; Fordun's Scotichronicon, ed. Skene; Wyntoun's Chronykil, ed. Laing; Barbour's Bruce; Rishanger, Rolls Series; Rotuli Scotiae, vol. i.; Acts of Parl. of Scotland, vol. i.; Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, i. 263-4; the earlier edition of Douglas is very confused.]

T. F. T.

COMYN, Sir ROBERT BUCKLEY (1792–1853), judge, third son of the Rev. Thomas Comyn, vicar of Tottenham, Middlesex, by his wife Harriet Charlotte Stables, was born there on 26 Oct. 1792. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, and became a commoner of St. John's College, Oxford, in 1809, where he graduated B.A. on 10 April 1813, and M.A. on 27 May 1815. He decided to adopt the profession of his grandfather, Mr. Stephen Comyn, and was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn on 24 Nov. 1814. After some years of practice he was in January 1825 appointed a puisne judge of the supreme court of Calcutta, and knighted on 9 Feb., and in December 1835 was appointed chief justice of Madras. In 1842 he resigned and returned to England, and on 8 June 1842 received the degree of D.C.L. at Oxford, and was in 1844 elected a bencher of the Middle Temple. He died at his house in New Street, Spring Gardens, on 23 May 1853. He was the author of three works: a 'Treatise on Usury' in 1817, a 'Treatise on the Law of Landlord and Tenant' in 1830, and a ' History of Western Europe from Charlemagne to Charles V,' composed in India and published in 1841.

[Gent. Mag. new ser. xl. 91; Ann. Reg. 1853; Robinson's Merchant Taylors' School Register, ii. 183.]

J. A. H.

COMYN, WALTER, Earl of Menteith (d. 1258), was the second son by his first marriage of William Comyn, earl of Buchan, and half-brother of Alexander Comyn, earl of Buchan [q. v.] In 1221 he was at York