First War of Scottish Independence

Bruce murders John Comyn
The killing of John Comyn in the Greyfriars church in Dumfries ©Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux
1306 Feb 6

Bruce murders John Comyn

Dumfries, UK

Bruce arrived in Dumfries and found Comyn there. At a private meeting with Comyn on 6 February 1306 at the Greyfriars Church, Bruce reproached Comyn for his treachery, which Comyn denied. Furious, Bruce drew his dagger and stabbed, though not mortally, his betrayer. As Bruce ran from the church, his attendants, Kirkpatrick and Lindsay, entered and, finding Comyn still alive, killed him. Bruce and his followers then forced the local English judges to surrender their castle. Bruce realised that the die had been cast and that he had no alternative except to become either a king or a fugitive. The murder of Comyn was an act of sacrilege, and he faced a future as an excommunicate and an outlaw. However his pact with Lamberton and the support of the Scottish church, who were prepared to take his side in defiance of Rome, proved to be of great importance at this key moment when Bruce asserted his claim to the Scottish throne.

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