The Clan Comyn (Cumming)

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The name Comyn (or Cumming) is of Norman origin, derived from Comines near Lisle on the French/Belgian border. Robert de Comyn came to England with William the Conquerer in 1066 and was given lands in Northumberland. His grandson was later given land in Roxburghshire by King David I. His nephew, Richard de Comyn, married a grand-daughter of King Duncan I.Through carefull alliances and beneficial marriages the Comyn held three earldoms by the 13th century; Monteith, Mentieth and Atholl and Buchan.

When Alexander III died there were 2 Comyns on the council of six Gurdians of Scotland; Alexander Comyn, Earl of Buchan and "Black" John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch. After the death of the "Maid of Norway" there were six claimants to the Scottish throne including the 2 Comyns and John Balliol, brother-in law to the Black Comyn. Edward I, King of England was asked to choose a successor and chose John Balliol. This of course started the Wars of Independence with claimants changing alliances to each other and to Scotland and England on a regular basis.

In 1306, Robert the Bruce, grandson of an original claimant to the throne, invited his enemy, the Red Comyn (son of the Black Comyn) to the church of the Grey Friars in Dumfries to negotiate an alliance between them. A quarrel erupted and in the melee the Bruce stabbed and killed the Red Comyn for which Bruce was later excommunicated.

The Red Comyn's son was later killed at Bannockburn fighting for the English. The lands of the Comyns of Badenoch were forfeited after Bannockburn and distributed to allies of Bruce, the Hays, Keiths and Douglasses.

The Cummings (as the name came to be spelt) of Altyre were recognised as the chiefly line. Sir Alexander Cumming of Altyre was created a baronet in 1802. The present chief, the 22nd, Sir William Gordon Cumming, lives at Blairs House, Altyre, Forres in Morayshire.


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