John I Comyn, Lord of Badenoch

John Comyn (Cumyn) (c. 1215 c. 1275) was Lord of Badenoch in Scotland. He was justiciar of Galloway in 1258.[1][2] He held lands in Nithsdale[3] (Dalswinton, a Comyn stronghold,[4][5] and Duncow[6]) and Tynedale.[3]


The Comyn family were in effective power in Scotland from 1249 to 1255, when Alexander III of Scotland was a minor; John was one of those with court influence.[3] The Comyns were ousted, by Alan Durward, but returned to power in 1257-8, before provoking a strong English reaction.[3][7]

He fought for Henry III of England at the Battle of Lewes (1265), with John Baliol the elder and Robert Bruce the elder,[8] and was captured.[9] In 1267 he was given licence to crenellate Tarset Castle in Tynedale (by present-day Lanehead, near Hexham), by Henry III;[10] Tarset had previously been held by Walter Comyn.[11]

He started castle construction at Blair Castle with a tower built in 1269.[12] The place was soon taken back by David, Earl of Atholl.[13]


John was the son of a Richard Comyn and was the grandson (through Richard) of William Comyn, jure uxoris Earl of Buchan.

According to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica he died in 1274, and was nephew of Alexander Comyn, Earl of Buchan, Constable of Scotland, and of Walter Comyn, Earl of Mentieth.[14] His date of death is also given as 1277.[15]

He succeeded his uncle Walter, in 1258, as Lord of Badenoch, and was succeeded by his son John II, the "Black Comyn". John I was known as the "Red Comyn", the nickname more commonly applied to his grandson.[16]

His second wife was named Alice and referred to in one document after his death as Lady Alice de Roos (Ros),.[17] Scots Peerage has however suggested she might be a de Lindsay of Lamberton, because she and her husband possessed Ulesby, and also because John Comyn was once guardian to a related Lindsay.[15][18] His first wife was called Eva, and appears to have been the mother of at least his oldest children.[19]

His children, at least four sons and four daughters, included:


  1. G. W. S. Barrow, The Kingdom of the Scots: Government, Church and Society from the Eleventh to the Fourteenth Century (2003), p. 86.
  2. Michael Brown, The Wars of Scotland (2004), p. 53.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Tout 1887.
  4. Overview of Dalswinton
  6. Historical perspective for Nithsdale
  7. Michael Prestwich, Plantagenet England 1225-1360 (2005), p. 230.
  8. Battle of Lewes, May 14, 1264
  9. Battlefield Report (PDF), p. 5.
  10. Tarset Castle Licence to Crenellate
  11. Tarset Castle
  13. A Guide To Blair Castle, Perth and Kinross, From TourUK
  14. John Comyn - LoveToKnow 1911
  15. 1 2 3 Cawley, Charles, Scottish Nobility, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy,
  16. Clan Comyn
  17. Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families (2005), p. 210; gives his death as in 1273-8. Also see newer work Royal Ancestry (2013) Vol.II p.207.
  18. Scots Peerage p.5
  19. Richardson, Royal Ancestry (2013) Vol.II p.207.
  20. Clan Galbraith Association Galbraiths of the Lennox
  21. Medieval English genealogy: Which John de Mowbray was the Brother of Christiana de Plumpton? Part 2
  22. Balfour Paul J., Scots Peerage voll i, p. 506


 Tout, Thomas Frederick (1887). "Comyn, John (d.1274)". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 11. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 458–459. 

External links

Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
Lord of Badenoch
Succeeded by
John II
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