In the Wigton
charter-chest there is a charter of the lands of Lenzie and Cumbernauld,
granted to William Comyn by Alexander II. in 1216, and the same family
seem to have held them till the reign of Robert the Bruce.
John Comyn, called “the
Red Comyn,” acted a conspicuous part in the minority of King Alexander
III. He died about 1274.
William, his eldest son,
married the heiress of Menteith, but had no issue. He died, 1291.
John, the second son of
“the Red Comyn,” known as “the Black Comyn,” became Lord of Badenoch,
and in 1286, on the decease of Alexander III., was chosen one of six
guardians, or regents, during the minority of the Maid of Norway, then
heiress to the throne. When she died, the Black Comyn became one of the
original candidates for the Crown, but withdrew his claim in favour of
Baliol, after whose election to the throne he retired from public life.
He married Marjory, sister of King John Baliol.
Their son John, also
styled “the Red Comyn,” was considered heir to the throne after Baliol.
He adhered to the English interest till Edward’s insulting conduct drove
the Scots to arms. After the battle of Stirling Bridge, nth September,
1297, he joined the patriot army under Sir William Wallace, and along
with Sir Simon Fraser; but the disastrous battle of Falkirk, 22nd July,
1298, rendered them unable to maintain their ground against the English,
and they were obliged to retire amongst the wilds and fastnesses of the
country, living as they best could. Langton, the English historian, thus
writes of them—
“The Lord of Badenoch,
Freselle, and Walais,
Lived at thieves law, ever robbing alle ways.”