Murder of Comyn - the legend

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The life of Robert the Bruce has attracted many legends, not least his taking of the throne, and in particular events at Dumfries in 1306. There were two strong claimants to an independent Scottish throne after the abdication of John Balliol in 1296: Bruce and Sir John Comyn of Badenoch. The two rivals met at Greyfriars Church at Dumfries, accompanied by retinues - but entering the church alone to discuss matters. There was bad blood between the two already - Comyn and Bruce had already had a violent confrontation in 1299. So it is not entirely surprising that the private meeting between the two (or three-a-side) should end in violence - although it appears incontrovertible that Bruce stabbed Comyn before the high altar.

It is said - but unsubstantiated, and unprovable - that when Bruce came out of the church, alone and with a b;oody dagger, he said "I doubt I've killed the Comyn", using the verb doubt in its Scots sense (meaning 'I think I have killed him', rather than the more modern Standard Rnglish 'I think I have not killed him'). At this, his follower, Roger de Kirkpatrick, cried "Doubt, sire? I'se [=I'll] mak' sicker [=sure] and, accompanied by James Lindsay, killed Comyn. The Kirkpatrick clan still carry the motto "I mak sikker" in their arms.

See Tales of a Grandfather, first series, chapter VIII for the embellished story.