Comyn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The sea-swept Hebrides islands and the west coast of Scotland, made up the ancient Dalriadan kingdom, the ancestral home of the Comyn family. Their name comes from a Breton personal name. Comyn is a patronymic surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. This surname comes from a Breton personal name, which contained the first component, cam, which means bent or crooked. The name came to England with the Norman settlers after William the Conqueror's success at the Battle of Hastings. It was not long, however, before many members of the Comyn family became dissatisfied with William's rule. In rebellion, many of them fled north, into Scotland, where they were granted lands by King Malcolm Canmore. In Scotland, this family settled in the county of Northumberland, beginning in 1070.

Early Origins of the Comyn family

The surname Comyn was first found in Norfolk, Lincolnshire, and Yorkshire in England, in the 12th and 13th centuries. Robert of Comyn (Comines,) (died 1069) was a noble who accompanied William the Conqueror and was made Earl of Northumberland. "He so commended himself to the king by his military skill that he was chosen at the end of 1068 for the difficult task of reducing the north of England to obedience. William I conferred on him the earldom of Northumberland, vacant by the flight of Gospatric. Comin was the founder of the family of Comyn, many of whom played an important part in the history of Scotland." [1]

John Comyn (d. 1212), was Archbishop of Dublin and was in his early life a trusted official and chaplain of Henry II.

Later, John Comyn (Cumyn) (c. 1215-1275) was Lord of Badenoch in Scotland and justiciar of Galloway in 1258. He founded and started the construction of Blair Castle with a tower in 1269. He was nephew of Alexander Comyn, Earl of Buchan, Constable of Scotland, and of Walter Comyn, Earl of Mentieth.

Alexander Comyn, 2nd Earl of Buchan (d. 1289), was Constable of Scotland, "the son of William Comyn, Earl of Buchan, the founder of Deer Abbey, and of Marjory, his second wife, who brought the title into the Comyn family. " [1]

John Comyn the Elder (d. 1300?), of Badenoch, was 'claimant to the Scottish throne,' and was the second son of John Comyn, Justiciar of Galloway. His lordship of Badenoch came from his uncle, Walter Comyn, Earl of Menteith. [1]

His son, John Comyn the younger (d. 1306), of Badenoch, surnamed The Red, was one of the competitors for the crown of Scotland in 1291. [1]

Early History of the Comyn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Comyn research. Another 456 words (33 lines of text) covering the years 1124, 1153, 1133, 1302, 1296, 1306, 1274, 1300, 1289, 1258, 1289, 1275, 1289, 1263, 1266, 1264, 1266, 1286, 1289, 1150, 1212, 1180, 1212, 1189 and are included under the topic Early Comyn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Comyn Spelling Variations

Many spelling variations of Comyn have been recorded over the years, including These are the result of the medieval practice of spelling according to sound and repeated translation between Gaelic and English. Cumin, Cumins, Cumine, Cummin, Cummins, Cummine, Comings, Comins, Commin and many more.

Early Notables of the Comyn family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was John Comyn (died 1274), was justiciar of Galloway, the son of Richard Comyn and nephew of the powerful Walter Comyn, Earl of Menteith. His son John Comyn the Elder (died 1300), of Badenoch, 'claimant to the Scottish throne,' was the second son of John Comyn, justiciar of Galloway. Alexander Comyn (d. 1289)...
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Comyn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Comyn family to Ireland

Some of the Comyn family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 142 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Comyn migration to the United States +

Many who arrived from Scotland settled along the east coast of North America in communities that would go on to become the backbones of the young nations of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many settlers who remained loyal to England went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Their descendants later began to recover the lost Scottish heritage through events such as the highland games that dot North America in the summer months. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Comyn family emigrate to North America:

Comyn Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Comyn, who settled in Florida in 1769
  • Frederick Duke Comyn, who arrived in Florida in 1778

Contemporary Notables of the name Comyn (post 1700) +

  • William Leslie Comyn (b. 1877), American businessman, shipbuilder and builder of one of the first large concrete ships, direct descendant of Stephen George Comyn
  • Stephen George Comyn (1764-1839), English naval chaplain who served with Lord Nelson at the Battle of the Nile and Battle of Copenhagen, said to be Nelson's favourite chaplain
  • Andrew Daniel "Dan" Comyn (1872-1949), Irish cricketer from County Galway, who played for Ireland 16 times between 1893 and 1904
  • Andrew Comyn (b. 1968), English former professional footballer from Wakefield, England who played from 1989 to 1996
  • Henry Hugh Comyn (1876-1937), English civil servant and sportsman, badminton mixed doubles champion in 1908, 1909 and 1910
  • John Francis Comyn (1742-1793), French aristocrat of French birth guillotined during the French Revolution
  • Nicholas Comyn Gatty (1874-1946), English composer and music critic, a close friend of Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall (1835-1911), British civil servant, literary historian and poet


  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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