Clan Cumming

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Scotland Project > Scottish Clans > Clan Cumming


Welcome to Clan Cumming

Clan Cumming Team
Team Leader TBA
Team Members Malcolm Clyde, Michael Thomas
Clan Chief:Sir Alexander "Alastair" Penrose Cumming-Gordon of Altyre. 7th Baronet. Chief of the Clan Cumming. Succeeded his father in 2002
Motto: The Cumming/Comyn clan motto is "Courage"
Slogan/War Cry: An Cuimeanach! An Cuimeanach!
Region: Roxburghshire, Buchan, Badenoch and Altyre
Historic Seat:
Plant badge: Cumin plant/Common Sallow
Pipe music: Willie Cumming’s Rant
Gaelic name: Cuimean

Clan Team

Team Goals

The focus of this team's work is to identify, improve and maintain profiles associated with the Lairds and Chiefs of Clan Cumming together with members bearing the name Cumming, the related families and those recognised as septs of Clan Cumming.

Team To Do List

This list will be developed by the Team. If you are working on a specific task, please list it here:

  • promoting the entries of those bearing the name Cumming on Wikitree.
  • ensuring entries appearing on Wikitree are as accurate as possible, correcting mistakes once spotted.
  • encouraging interest in and study of Clan Cumming.


Clan History

Origin of Name Placename, Norman

Proverb - Chad’s bhios maide anns a’ choill cha bhi foill an Cuimeanach. (So long as there is a stick in the wood, there will be no treachery in a Cumming.)

Animal Symbol - Lion

Clan Cumming, also known as Clan Comyn, is a Scottish clan from the central Highlands that played a major role in the history of 13th century Scotland and in the Wars of Scottish Independence and were instrumental in defeating the English at the Battle of Roslin in 1303. The Clan Comyn were once the most powerful family in Scotland until they were defeated in civil war by their rival to the Scottish throne, Robert the Bruce.

Like many of the families that came to power under King David I of Scotland, the Comyn clan is of Norman origin. The surname is either a place-name possibly derived from Comines, near Lille, in France, or possibly derived from Bosc-Bénard-Commin, near Rouen in the Duchy of Normandy. Richard Comyn, the nephew of William Comyn, chancellor to King David, is the one that established this family in Scotland. His son was William Comyn, who married Marjory, Countess of Buchan. William's mother was Hextilda, the granddaughter of King Donald III). His son was Walter Comyn, the man who acquired the lordship of Badenoch. The seat of power was Ruthven Castle. Ruthven Castle commanded the northern end of two passes over the Mounth, the Drumochter and Minigaig passes. This lordship then passed to his nephew, the first John Comyn. This John was the first to be known as "the Red" Comyn. He was a descendant of William Comyn, Earl of Buchan, by his first wife, Sarah Fiz Hugh.

The Cummings claim descent from Richard Cumyn, a Norman noble whose descendants migrated into Scotland, from England in the reign of David I, 1124-53. William de Comyn received a grant of land in Roxburgh and in 1133 he was appointed Chancellor of Scotland by David I. A later descendant, William married the heiress , Marjory, Countess of Buchan in 1210 and became Earl of Buchan. His son became Earl of Menteith and acquired the Lordship of Badenoch by grant of Alexander II. His nephew , John known as "Red Comyn" was the father of "Black Comyn" who was one of the six guardians of Scotland during the minority of the Maid of Norway and later became a competitor for the Crown of Scotland. He married Marjory, sister of John Baliol and their son John was also known as "Red Comyn".

John followed Baliol in the struggle against King Robert the Bruce and was killed by the King's followers in the church of the minorities in Dumfries in 1306. From then on the power of the Cummings declined and they never again regained that power. Their estates were forfeited and the main line died out with John, son of John, the "Red Comyn" in 1325. The Comyns of Altyre became the chiefs of the clan and through the 19th century marrying the Gordons of Gordonstoun this name became Gordon-Cumming. When William the Conqueror came to England he had a companion named Robert of Comyn, believed to have been so named from Comines in Flanders, whom he made Earl of Northumberland in 1069. When David I came to Scotland, Robert’s grandson Richard came with him, and was made Chancellor of Scotland in 1133.

The speed with which the Comyns established themselves and their power is notable. They settled in Badenoch where the clan’s chiefs were known as Lords of Badenoch, ruling from the impregnable island castle in Lochindorb.

Richard married Hexstilda of Tynedale, grand-daughter of King Donald Ban. Their son William became Earl of Buchan through marriage, and his son from a previous marriage became Earl of Menteith and Lord of Badenoch.

When King David I’s line ended in 1286, the Comyns were the most powerful family in Scotland, and had claim to the empty throne on two counts. However the crown went to King John in 1292. He was the son of Devorguilla, David’s great-grand-daughter, and John Balliol, founder of Balliol College in Oxford and another of Scotland’s most powerful men.

When King John was deposed the Balliols left Scotland and again the most powerful man in the country was a Comyn. Devorguilla’s grandson was known as ‘The Red Comyn’ and ruled with complete self-interest, sometimes fighting for Scotland and at other times for England.He represented the legitimate royal line and so Robert the Bruce stabbed him to death in the Church of the Minorite Friars at Dumfries in 1306. The following War of Independence saw Bruce become King the next month and the Comyns destroyed and powerless by 1308.

The Red Comyn’s only son John died trying to avenge his father at Bannockburn. In that Dumfries church in 1306, Sir Robert, John’s uncle, was also murdered. He was not descended from Devorguilla and his descendants were not as persecuted as their cousins. This branch acquired Altyre in Moray and, using the spelling Cumming, it has remained the clan’s chief seat to this day.

Other Names Associated with the Clan

Buchan Comyn Cumin Cummin Cumming Cumyn Niven Russell Bad(d)enoch

Boghan Chaney(ay Chesney Cheyne(y) Common(sComyn(s)

Allied Clans

Clan Buchan, Clan Gordon Clan Grant Clan Lamont Clan MacDougall Clan MacDowall

Clan Macnab Clan Macnaghten Clan Sutherland

Rival Clans

Clan Brodie Clan Bruce Chattan Confederation Clan MacKintosh Clan Macpherson

Clan Shaw

Clan Research and Free Space Pages

Clan Name Crest Badge Cumming of

Altyre Arms

Lands Tartan

Dress Ancient

Tartan Hunting


CLAN CUMMING ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??

Source Material

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Categories: Clan Cumming