My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Monday, July 16, 2012

Richard Comyn 1115-1179

I have always been far more entertained by American History and American Literature, than World History or World Literature, probably, I imagine, because they were subjects that were easier for me to relate to than anything further back or farther in distance from what I know. I suppose that may suggest a lack of creativity or perhaps an absence of wanderlust, although, neither is really true. The deeper I get in my genealogical studies, the more interested I have become in things beyond my normal scope. 

This is how I came to find myself immersed in Scottish history, through our ancestors the Comyn family. I have tried to pare it down to one interesting character and a few interesting facts but research begets research and this may be too much for a Monday. I just thought it would be more interesting than telling you that my back still hurts and I still haven't gotten a confirmation about employment and all the same old/same old things that I seem to be listing week after week. 

So here... 28 generations of reasons to love Mondays and a little information on my ancestor, Richard Comyn. 

There were Comyns in eastern England in the 12th and 13th centuries and Wilhelmus Comyn, Bishop of Durham came north to Scotland with King David I in 1124 and was appointed Chancellor of Scotland. He established his nephew Richard in Tynedale and Roxburghshire and Richard also rose to be Chancellor of Scotland. It is from him that the titled line was descended. 

Richard Comyn was the son of William Comyn and Maud Bassett.

Richard was probably born between 1115 and 1123. 
In 1144, his father, William Comyn gave him Northallerton Castle, which he had built a few years earlier. 
The following year, Richard was married to Hextilda, the daughter of Uchtred, Lord of Tynedale, and his wife Bethoc ingen Domnaill Bain, the daughter of King Donald III of Scotland.

In Scotland, he acquired the position of Justiciar of Lothian: 

The Justiciar of Lothian (in Norman-Latin, Justiciarus Laudonie) was an important legal office in the High Medieval Kingdom of Scotland.
The Justiciars of Lothian were responsible for the administration of royal justice in the province of Lothian, a much larger area than the modern Lothian, covering Scotland south of the Forth and Clyde, outwith Galloway, which had its own Justiciar of Galloway. The institution may date to the reign of King David I (died 1153), whose godson David Olifard was the first attested Justiciar. The Justiciars of Lothian, although not magnates of the stature of the typical Justiciar of Scotia, were significant landowners and not creatures of the kings.

He witnessed 6 charters for King Malcolm IV and 33 for King William I. 
He was captured with King William in 1174 and was a hostage for him in the Treaty of Falaise. 

The Treaty of Falaise was an agreement made in December 1174 between the captive William IKing of Scots, and the English King Henry II.
Having been captured at the Battle of Alnwick during an invasion of Northumbria, William was being held in Falaise in Normandy while Henry sent an army north and took severalScottish castles, including Berwick and Edinburgh. Since he had no heir, William was forced to bargain for release to prevent the end of the Scottish line of kings.
The Treaty required William to swear that Scotland would thereafter be subordinate to the English crown. English soldiers were also to occupy several key Scottish castles, and Scotland would be heavily taxed to pay for their upkeep.[1] During the next 15 years, William was forced to observe Henry's overlordship, and to obtain permission from the English crown before putting down local uprisings.[2]
The treaty was cancelled in 1189 when Richard the Lionheart, Henry's heir, effectively sold southern Scotland back to the Scottish king to help fund Richard's Crusade in the Holy Land[3]

He gave, with Hextida's consent, lands to the monks at Hexham, Kelso and Holyrood. 
He died between 1179 and 1182. 


Richard had four sons by Hextilda:

* John, dead between 1152 and 1159, and buried at Kelso Abbey.
* William, jure uxoris Earl of Buchan.
* Odinel (also called Odo), a priest, witness to Richard's charters to religious houses in 1162 and 1166.
* Simon, mentioned in the 1166 charter to the Augustinians in Holyrood.

and three daughters:

* Idonea
* Ada
* Christien

His daughters were witnesses to a donation made by Máel Coluim, Earl of Atholl and their mother Hextilda to the Church of St Cuthbert in Durham.

Richard's son, William, then married the heiress of the last Celtic Earl of Buchan, inheriting the earldom. The family rose to be one of the most powerful in Scotland, with land in Buchan and Speyside.


* Young, Alan, Robert the Bruce's Rivals: The Comyns, 1213-1314, (East Linton, 1997), pp15-19.
* Family Genealogies website
* CP I:504.
* Surtees Society 2: 84-5.
* Morton Cartulary.
* Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700 by Frederick Lewis Weis, Line 121A-25.

To trace the lineage to me... 
Richard Comyn was the father of
William Comyn, who was the father of
Jean Comyn, who was the mother of
William DeRoss, who was the father of
Hugh DeRoss, who was the father of
Sir Jean DeRoss, who was the father of
Lady Ena DeRoss, who was the mother of
Sir Knight Norman Cooke, who was the father of
Robert Thomas Cooke, the Lord Mayor of London, who was the father of
Sir Thomas Cooke, who was the father of 
Robert Cooke, who was the father of
John Cooke, who was the father of
Robert Cooke, who was the father of
Thomas Cooke, who was the father of another
Thomas Cooke, who was the father of yet another
Thomas Cooke, who moved the family to Rhode Island and who was the father of
John Cooke, who was the father of
Anna Amey Cooke, who was the mother of 
David Clayton, who was the father of another
David Clayton, who was the father of 
Cornelius Clayton, who was the father of
John Clayton, who was the father of
Deborah Ann Clayton, who was the mother of
Elias M. Gant, who was the father of 
Theodore S. Gant, who was the father of
Bruce B. Gant, Sr, who was the father of
my father

This makes Richard Comyn my 25x great grandfather.