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Robert the Bruce's Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 1St Edition Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1862320536
ISBN-10: 1862320535
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Tuckwell Press, Ltd.; 1St Edition edition (July 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862320535
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862320536
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Deborah MacGillivray HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 14, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everyone(thanks to Braveheart) has now heard of William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Longshanks. However, there was another big powerbroker in the struggles for Scotland's independence: Clan Comyn. John de Balliol was part of the Clan, and they ruled nearly 2/3s of Scotland during this period. When the choice for a King of Scotland was made after the death of Alexander and the Maid of Norway, it came down to two contenders: Robert the Competitor (Bruce's grandfather) and John de Balliol...both descendants from David Earl of Huntington,one from Clan Bruce and one from Clan Comyn. The Comyns were the powerbrokers of Balliol's short reign and were the largest impediment to Bruce's rising. And in the end, it took the murder of John Comyn in Greyfriars Abbey in 1314 to finally put Bruce in control of the country he would have to fight to rule.
But little focus is really paid to this very powerful Clan that influenced not only Scotland, but England during this period. Alan Young finally brings Clan Comyn out of the shadows and places there in their rightful position as the most powerful family in Scotland in the 13th Century.
Young covers the rising of Bruce and Wallace and how it was impacted or changed by Clan Comyn; follows through to the Comyns roles as the later Guardians of Scotland; their role in John de Balliols Kingship; up through the murder of John Comyn by Bruce or his supports and the fallout.
Maybe a little more history than the casual read would enjoy, but for someone interested in ALL the history and understanding what happened then, this is a MUST!!
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Format: Paperback
History is written by the victors and the Comyns were anything but by 1314, and this shows particularly with John, The Red, Comyn, Lord of Badenoch is murdered by Robert the Bruce for his "Treachery" which led to Bruce claiming the throne and freeing Scotland from English rule. Well maybe.... Mr. Alan's Book gives a more balanced view of that event and the role the Comyn's have played in Scottish history. We learn that the Comyn's came north with David the First. William Comin became his Chancellor of Scotland. His nephew Richard married Hextilda, Granddaughter of King Donald Ban of Scotland and became Justicular of Lothian. Then his son William became the first Norman descent Earl in Scotland when he married the heiress of the Earl of Buchan. From him descends the two main branches of the Buchan Comyns and Badenoch Comyns (from his first marriage). Walter Comyn, Earl of Mentieth had a huge impact on Scottish history and was a guardian of the Realm for Alexander III. Then we see the impacts of the further Lords of Badenoch and Earls of Buchan which leads up to the competition for the crown and ultimate murder of the Red John. We see that the Comyns were very patriotic and protective of their clan. More so it seems than the Bruce family. Both the Red John and Bruce were back and forth with Edward I and the English. Robert the Bruce gained the throne by removing the Red John. History may have been very different had the Red John lived. We may never know. Ultimately the Comyns were all but eradicated from Scotland by the Bruce and the heirs to the great branches of the Comyn met thier end at the battle of Bannockburn. They were with the English not because there love of Edward but because of their hatred of the Bruce. Comyns supported Scotland and helped make it great through the Generations and today's Clan Cumming (Comyns) should be proud of that past. A fantastic book which presents a lot of fact hidden by myth and distorted by history and the writers.
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Format: Paperback
At the outset, I'll admit that I am of Cumings stock, so I had alterior motives for reading this book. Although I enjoyed the book as insight to old clan history, I was also pleasantly surprised by the book in terms of its fresh perspective on medieval history. I am a recent history graduate, and as such I enjoyed Young's book as a unique view of history.

The medieval era is predominantly evaluated in terms of royalty, though the reality of powerful families (such as the later Medicis of the Ren.) are often ignored. Such powerful networks were often more influential than kings, but because the "historians" of the age often worked in royal courts, there is little mention of powerful families.

For both Comyn descendants and medieval enthusiasts who want a more thorough understanding of the period, I would recommend this book. The only qualification I'll add is that Young writes in a very academic style that is going to be a bit dry for most readers.
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I bought this book to understand the history leading up to Robert the Bruce's murder of his rival, John Comyn, in Greyfriars' Church in Dumfries, Scotland in February 1306. No one knows why Robert Bruce called Comyn to a meeting or what set off the argument that ended when Bruce stabbed Comyn with a dagger. All they know, is that less than six weeks later, Bruce managed to get himself declared king and set about destroying the Comyns, who where the most powerful family in Scotland during the thirteenth century and in the fourteen century before Bruce squashed them. I was hoping this book would tell me about the personalities, what led to the rivalry, and why Bruce ultimately prevailed against a much stronger opponent.

Well -- it's kind of in there, although you have to pick it out of long list of names, dates and places -- which Comyn family members and allys held what offices when. We're talking chapers of this stuff. Young is very interested in presenting not a balanced or neutral point of view, but the Comyn point of view. He considers this a balance to fifteenth & sixteen century propoganda that favored the Bruces. And while the counterpoint is nice, I would have preferred less information about the Comyn "party," and really would have preferred that after a while he stop referring to a Comyn "party" or at least take the word out of parentheses. I managed to finish the book, but it was a slog, and honestly, I was able to find just about as much as I needed on the internet. The Comyns deserve a book about them, but one done by a writer, not just a researcher.

So, in short... great book if you are a Comyn (or Cummin or Cummings, or the other variations) so you can learn a bit about your family, it's allies, enemies and the battles that shaped your fate, but for everyone else, it's worthwhile just because there aren't any other readily available books on the subject. But then there's something to be said for that.
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