Registered: Mar 2004
Local time: 10:24 AM
Location: The Historic City of Portsmouth, England
I'm not sure how many of you know of John 'the Red' Comyn because he isn't that famous and he was the victim of a slur campaign by the Scottish King Robert the Bruce.
John 'the Red' Comyn was a Scottish nobleman, head of the most powerful Scottish clan of the early 1300's. He was the son of John 'the Black' Comyn who was one of the six regent of Margaret, Maid of Norway. He was also a decendand of King Donald Ban/Donald III, he was nephew of King John Balliol and his wife was the daughter of Edward 1st f Englands cousin.
Before the Scottish Wars of independance the Comyns were a dominant family that held a large amount of land in the north and south and had a great deal of political and family influence with the crown.
The Comyn's were supporters of their Kinsman John Balliol for the position of King of Scots but the Bruces never accepted Balliol as king and so were the Comyn's chief enemy.
At the begining of the war John 'the Red' and his father John 'the Black' and his cousin John Comyn Earl of Buchan, crossed the borer and attacked Carlise, a city defended by Robert Bruce Earl of Carrick for Edward 1st. The Comyn's were forced to retreat and the Scots lost at Dunbar and John 'the Red' was capture by the English and locked away in the Tower of London.
John 'the Red' remained in the Tower for a few month until the War with Scotland was seeminly over and he was freleased on the condition that he served Edward in Flanders.
When he learned of the Wars against the English led by William Wallace he deserted the English force and went to King Philip IV of France to ask for help against the English. The only help Philip gave he and his fellow Scot deserters was a boat back to Scotland.
He has been vilianised at the Battle of Falkirk as a man who hated Wallace and only appeared at the battlefield to betray him. However this version is seriously in doubt as the information comes from John Fordun who wrote his version of the event decades later an praise Robert the Bruce at every moment and criticised John 'the Red' at every moment.
Soon after Wallace was defeated at Flakirk John 'the Red' became Guardion of Scotland so it is hardly likely that he betrayed the Scots at Falkirk if he gained more political power.
'The Red' term as Guradion was charactorised by his constant bickering with fellow Guardion Robert the Bruce and the later third Guardion William Lamberton, Bishop of St Andrews.
John 'the Red' Comyn and Sir Simon Frazer joined forced and crushed and English force at the battle of Roslin however with Philip of France entering his peace with Edward of England. When Edward attacked the Scots Comyn was left with no alternative but to surrender however he was clear of the terms that there with be no reprisals or disinheritance, however Edward 1st demanded that Comyn agree to hand William Wallace over to him. Comyn agreed but made no attempt to furfil that promise.
On February 10th 1306 Robert the Bruce met with John 'the Red' Comyn at Greyfriars Church, Dumfries. The reason for this meeting is unknown and whether or not the Burce intended to do what he did that day from the very beginning is unknown.
Robert the Bruce saw John 'the Red' as a large problem. John Comyn not only have a stronger claim to the throne than him, he has also defied the English longer than the Bruce and had more political pull than the Bruce. So John 'the Red' Comyn was in Robert the Bruces way, if Comyn was left alive the Bruce could never have become king.
Later Scottish sorces have tried to justify the crime by attacking the character of John 'the Red' and denouncing his earlier sucesses. However to the English sources Bruce is clearly in the wrong, having lured John Comyn to a chruch, taken as a guarantee of saftey, with the intention of committing premeditated murder.
The murder of John Comyn took Edward of England by complete surprise. It was to be some thirteen days after the event that a garbled version of the facts reached his court at Winchester, where the murder was reported as "the work of some people who are doing their utmost to trouble the peace and quiet of the realm of Scotland."
Once the picture became clear Edward reacted in fury, authorising Aymer de Valence, Comyn's brother-in-law, to take extraordinary action against Bruce, who had since been crowned king. He also emphasised his blood relationship with the Comyns by ordering his cousin, Joan, to send John's young son and namesake to England, where he was placed in the care of Sir John Weston, guardian of the royal children.
John Comyn the younger grew to manhood in England, not returning to Scotland until 1314, when he was killed at the Battle of Bannockburn. The death of his father plunged Scotland into a brief but bloody civil war, largely concluded by 1308, but with political reverbations that were to last for decades.