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Frederick Hitchin- Kemp.

A general history of the Kemp and Kempe families of Great Britain and her colonies, with arms, pedigrees, portraits, illustrations of seats, foundations, chantries, monuments, documents, old jewels, curios, etc. online

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Online LibraryFrederick Hitchin- KempA general history of the Kemp and Kempe families of Great Britain and her colonies, with arms, pedigrees, portraits, illustrations of seats, foundations, chantries, monuments, documents, old jewels, curios, etc. → online text (page 13 of 48)
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Blakenham. He leaves bequests to amend the bridge at Claydon, to provide candelabra and lamps
for the church and for other charitable objects. He mentions, however, neither wife nor children,
but leaves legacies to his nephew and niece, William and Katherine. These are the only relatives
mentioned, and their surname does not appear. We know of no Kempe named William
as connected with this family at this time.

The earliest monument on record to a Kempe in Suffolk or Norfolk is that of John Kempe
at Woodbridge. It is described in Weaver's "Funeral Monuments," under the Diocese of Norwich,
and the inscription is given as follows : —


The church at Woodbridge was founded by Sir Hugh Rufus and Alice, his wife. It is very
probable that these were closely related to the Kempes, and it may be that their settlement at
Woodbridge was influenced by this as well as the site being a convenient one for communication
with Ipswich. For many generations the Rouse {alias Rufus) and Kempe families were intimate,
and later we know of intermarriages.

The will of this John Kempe, of Woodbridge was proved in the Suffolk Archdeaconry Court,
and also in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. The fact of it having been proved in the second
court probably indicates that the testator had properties in more than one diocese or county. The
various estates are not, however, enumerated in the will, and we are not aware of the existence


i6 History of the Kemp and Kempe Families.

of any Post Mortem Inquisition, The descent of property was so definitely settled by the customs
of manors and other written and unwritten laws that even if the ancestors had not entailed their
freeholds, it was hardly necessary to mention either the lands or the heirs, and thus numerous
wills of considerable landowners only deal with petty bequests and charitable deeds, and give
us no clue as to what estates they owned at their death. A late example of this is the will of
Sir Benjamin Kemp, the seventh Baronet, who in his will of 1777 leaves "all real and personal
estate whatsoever to his sister, Martha Short, of Sevenoaks," and does not mention Gissing,
Florden, Braconash, or other family estates which, of course, duly passed to the next male heir
without any difficulty. Thus John Kempe, of Woodbridge, ordains that Thomas Kempe, his son,
Margaret Kempe, his wife, and Thomas Alnard, his son (in law) should be executors, but gives no
directions for the disposal of his real estate. He mentions the poor of Orford, Rosamond Dalie, of
Clopton, Thomas Panwed, Thomas Stub, John Debcnham, and his son, "Thomas Kempe, of
Woodbridge." The mention of Margaret Kempe as his widow, and the three wives named on
the brass shews that it was not this John who married Alice Duke. The will, however, of
Margaret, alias Alice Kempe, of Ipswich, was proved in the Consistory Court of Norwich, in
February 1480.

The chief point of interest is the fact of the Curzons being mentioned as relatives. The will
commences " Domina Margaiet Kempe, vidua de Ipswich." The original will is, we understand,
not in existence, but in the margin and index of the Probate Register the name of the testatrix is
given as Alice Kempe. She desired to be buried in the Monastery of SS. Peter and Paul, at
Ipswich, to which and to the Priories of Butley and Letheringham she leaves legacies, as also for
repairs to the churches of the Carmelites, Friars Preachers, Friars Minor, and others at Ipswich,
and also to St. Margaret's Chapel, Cretingham. Out of the goods of her " husband, John
Kempe," she gives ^20 for the repair of the highways. She speaks of her sister, Edith Curzon,
also of William and Thomas Curzon. Margaret Alverd, Robert Chapman, Richard Wengfield,
Richard Osberne, who also appear, may be relatives. Thomas Goodwyn she calls her son, and
John Drewry, her nephew. Among others who are mentioned, the following are all styled
"Dominus : — Thomas Drewiy, John Fert, John Reigner, John Bridgewater, Thomas Baker, John
Lacye, William Smith, John Debenham, John Clar, Robert Stowe, Robert Beenlie, and Thomas
Goodwyn. To the last of these, evidently her son, she leaves the residue of her estate after
numerous small bequests. We may further note that the churches of St. Clement's Norwich,
"Mowlesford" and "Waloughby" are to receive small doles, which may show that she was
formerly resident or connected with those places. Persons of the name of Kene and Keme
are also mentioned in this will. We cannot say with certainty that these were Kempes, but it is
known that Kene and Keme were sometimes used as variants of the name.

There cannot be much doubt as to this will being that of the widow of John Kempe, of
Woodbridge, for she mentions her late husband of that name, while Margaret Alverd must be his
daughter " Aluard " or Alnard. WiUiam Curzon died in 1485, for in that year Robert Kempe,
and his wife Margaret, daughter of the said WiUiam Curzon, were made feoffees of his estate, as
appears from Dairy's MSS. before cited.

From this point it would seem the chief branch became again more intimately associated
with Norfolk. With the subsequent representatives of the Gissing line we shall deal in our next
chapter. Here we must follow the issue of the Woodbridge couple.

The first couple whose wills are given above had, besides the daughter who married Alvard,
a son, Thomas Kempe, who in 1459 was of Woodbridge. He evidently remained there till his
death, his will being proved in the Norwich Consistory Court in 1474 (Herbert fo. 54). He

Woodbridge and early Suffolk Kempes. ij

therein desires to be buried in the church of Woodbridge, doubtless beside his father. He leaves
his house at Woodbridge, which was late the tenement of " Wm. Cane '' (another likely variant of
Kempe), to his wife for life, and afterward to his son, Galferd or Geoffrey Kempe, to whom also
all the testator's other lands at Woodbridge were bequeathed. All residue was to be equally
divided between his sons John and Galfred, but a '■''dividend'''' of his houses was reserved for his
daughters Anne and Agnes. Thomas Kempe is also mentioned, but his relationship is not
indicated. Other places are spoken of in the will ; these have not all been identified, as the
spelling is eratic. " Ballings " evidently stands for Dallinghoe, as Debach, the next parish occurs
in the same clause, otherwise this might have been taken to refer to the manor of Ballings, at
Gissing. " Chenlye " might stand for Shenley, in Buckinghamshire, where Kempes flourished,
or for Shenley, in Hertfordshire, but it is as hkely to mean Shelly, in Suffolk, which long after
this was a possession of the Kempes. " Pytyste," doubtless stands for Pettistree by Ballinghoe ;
" Sabyley " is a name with which we are unfamiliar.

Of Galfred we find no further trace, but it is probable that he was the father of a Thomas
Kempe, of Woodbridge, whose will was proved with that of Katherine Kempe of the same place,
in the Suffolk Archdeaconry Court (1518-24). In the same Court about 1477 was proved the
will of John Kempe, of Ipswich. That of Henry Kempe, also of Ipswich, is recorded in the
same register as the last, the date being before 1524. The will of Joan Kempe, of Ipswich, is
registered between 1564 and 1566, and one of Nicholas Kempe, of the same place, occurs between
1647 and 1649, and in 1734 in the same Court was a will of William Kemp, of Ipswich. Buring
the period covered by these Ipswich wills, relatives naturally were settled around, while those
who had settled at Gissing were frequently reconnected by marriage with the town as will be
seen in the following chapters. It cannot, however, be said that Ipswich was ever a centre from
which Kempes multiplied or where any subsequent branch remained for generations. The
Registers of St. Nicholas, Ipswich, have been printed, covering the period from 1539 to 1710 ; during
that long period only three marriages of Kempes are there recorded which are as follows : —
1570 (no day or month given) George Kempe to Helen. . . . (blank).
29th November. 1599. Elias Kempe to Susan Silverside.
8th November, 1677. Robert Jacob and Grace Kempe.

We have said that the early Kempes of Ipswich had property at Ballinghoe. The following
items are taken from the registers of that parish. (" Visitation of Suffolk," J. J. Howard, 1866) :

1568. 8th April. Anthonie Kempe, son of John and Maria, baptized.

1571. 1st May. Marie Kempe, daughter of John, baptized.

1574. 13th December. John Kempe, buried.

1579. 1 6th September. Susan Kempe, son (izc) of Robert Kempe, baptized.

1583. 9th June. Robert Kempe, son of Robert, dwelling in Bynghall, baptized.

1583. I2th February. Robeit Kempe, buried.

1589. 14th July. William Kempe, Son of Robert, baptized. ' :•

1592. nth March. Anne Kempe, daughter of John, baptized.

1603. l6th August. Henry Kempe, son of Robert Kempe, buried.

1618. 14th September. William Thompson and Susan Kempe, daughter of John Kempe the elder, married.

163 1. i8th April. Anne Kempe, wife of John Kempe, buried.

The following wills will add to the information thus given :

IS74-5- John Kempe, of Dallinghoe, proved in the Suffolk Archdeaconry, Ipswich.
1606. Jane Kempe, Dallinghoe, proved in the Norwich Consistory Court.
1638-40. John Kempe, of Dallinghoe, proved in the Suffolk Archdeaconry, Ipswich.
1638-40. Bridget Kempe, of Dallinghoe, proved in the Suffolk Archdeaconry, Ipswich.

Of these wills the only one examined is that of Jane Kempe. She mentions Mary May, a
widow, of Ballinghoe, and Robert, Margaret and James May, sons and daughter of this widow ;

G 2

i8 History of the Kemp and Kempe Families.

also Thomas Gardener and a friend named Elmes and widow London. The only relative is her
brother Robert Kempe, of " F," which may stand for Fakenham, where Anne and William Kempe
lived at this time. Around Dallinghoe, at Parham, Wickham Market and between these places
and Ipswich, some of this line certainly remained down to recent times, and there seems little room
for doubting that the celebrated preacher and author, the Rev. Edward Curtis Kempe, Chaplain to
the late Duke of Cambridge (who came from this part), was a representative of this line; with him
and his distinguished descendants we, however, shall deal later. The three following Wills very
probably refer to his near relatives. They will be found in the Probate Office at Ipswich under
the dates given: Henry Kempe, of Parham, 1769 ; John Kempe, of Woodbridge, 1771-2, and
Amy Kempe (widow), of Felixstow, 1783. The Index to the Administrations at the same office
mentions James Kemp, of Parham, 1716-19, and Mary Kemp, of Wickham Market, 1795.

As early as 1518-24 there is a will of Cicely Kempe, of Parham, which is close to Marlesford,
which appears to be the " Mowlesford " in the testament of Margaret Kempe in 1480 ; thus one
may consider Dallinghoe, with Parham, a nest of a branch of the Kempes, of Woodbridge, from
about 1480 down to late in the nineteenth century. Tuddenham, Westerfield, Sproughton,
Clopton, Claydon and perhaps Henley were early homes of the Kempes around Ipswich ; most, if
not all, of these were of the old Norfolk stock dating from the fourteenth century.

CH(iA'PTE%_ V.


At the end of Chapter III. we suggested that a Geoffrey Kempe, of Woodbridge, whose will
/—\ appears in the Ipswich Calendar between 1444 and 1445, was identical with Geoffrey or
-*- -^ Jeffrey Kempe of Weston. In the last chapter we have shown that Kempes
remained at Woodbridge and around Ipswich for some generations, during which, however,
Weston was continuously held by the family. It is, however, still an open question as to whether
John Kempe, the next on the pedigree (as of Weston), was son or half brother to Geoffrey. It
is remarkable that we can find no will which can be positively identified as this John's, and
the more so since it was in his time that the Gissing lands were settled on his son Robert. Dairy
in his MSS. collections (Brit. Mus., Add. MSS., 19, 138) mentions a deed dated 1473 of Robert
Ke.mpe, co-heir of Buttevelyn, of Gissing, concerning the manors there, and another dated
1485, being a grant by John and Robert Norman to Richard and Edmund Kempe, Gents,
sons of Robert Kempe and "Margaret, daughter of William Curzon." William Curzon was of
" Sturton," otherwise " Stutton," a parish on the Stour just south of Ipswich. It would appear
from this last-mentioned deed that he died in or before 1485 ; he was, we know, living in 1480,
as he is mentioned in the will of Margaret, the widow of John Kempe, of Woodbridge.

Dairy gives us another note concerning this " Robert, son oi John Kempe and Alice Duke,"
stating that in his grant of the Manors of Buttevelyns and Dallings in 14-73 he used a seal bearing
the impression or device of a squirrel sitting and cracking a nut upon his head. Where these

Kempes of Weston and Gissing. 19

deeds now are we have not discovered ; possibly they may be among the large collection of ancient
documents belonging to the present Sir Kenneth H. Kempe. Dairy also states that a Ralph
Kempe was co-feoffee of the Manor of Gissing. He does not give the date, but it was probably
about 1467 or 1473. No Ralph KeiMPE is entered in the various Probate Calendars of Norfolk
and Suffolk. This Ralph evidently settled in Middlesex and was a merchant of London, his will
being proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury in 1477- As he founded a line of his family
in Middlesex the records of his estates and issue will be treated with under that county. Norris
in his MSS., now in possession of Walter Rye, Esq., of the Priory, Norwich, shows a Ralph
Kempe on the Norfolk pedigree as a brother of Robert, and uncle of Geoffrey and John Kempe.
This seems quite compatible with the other facts we have given, but we know of no better
authority for this Ralph being so placed on the pedigree. Norris also informs us that Margaret,
widow of one Drewry, married John Kempe, Gent., and died as widow of the latter in 1483 at
Ipswich. This date would seem to be a mistake for 1480, as the will of Domina Margaret
Kempe, Vidua de Ipswich, given in our last chapter accords with that statement except as to date.
This will, mentioning as it does Will. Curzon, would at least appear to be a close relation to
Robert Kempe, the co-heir to the Duke estates. We suggest that her husband, John Kempe,
was brother to Ralph Kempe.

Dairy states that a Richard was a mercer of London ; he does not say which this Richard
was. But there is little doubt that he was the brother of Edmund, another mercer of London,
both being recipients of the grant mentioned above, dated 1485, as sons of Robert Kempe
and Mary or Margaret Curzon. The Harleian Manuscripts (i 154) contain a sixteenth century
pedigree showing the issue of the last-named couple, placing Robert Kempe as the eldest son,
but curiously stating that Edmund, the second son, was then " heere electe." His issue is also
shown and is continued to 1585 ; but we suppose for the sake of excluding the junior line from
participation in arms and property the line is made to die out with " Pawle " Kempe, son of
James Kempe, of Acton, Middlesex, the eldest son of Edmund Kempe, the Citizen and Mercer
of London, who died in 1542. His line will also be reserved for the Middlesex section of our
work, he being chiefly connected with that county. We will here only say that his daughter
Margaret, as widow of William Dane, an Alderman of London, was a great benefactor to the
City Guilds, and that her portrait still hangs in the Ironmongers' Hall. She left a sum of money
to purchase a necklace for Queen Elizabeth with whom she was on intimate terms.

John, the third son of Robert by Margaret Curzon, is said in the Norris MSS. to have been
living in 1539, married and left issue. There is a will in 1557 of John Kempe of Fundenhall,
Norfolk, which might be his ; if so he appears to be the founder of a family who continued
around Bunwell and Carlton Rode down to last century, and is now represented by a Quaker
family of Kempes at Norwich, Manchester and London {Vide post).

William Kempe, the third son of Robert, and next younger brother to this John, was a
clergyman, of " Sprockton," probably Sproughton, near Ipswich. Perhaps it is his will as of
Cratfield which appears in the Norwich Consistory Court Calendar between 1546 and 1548, John
Kempe of that place appears in the same calendar in 1606, so presumbly he too had issue which
continued in the north-east of Suffolk.

Ralph or " Rarfe " Kempe is shown as the fifth son of Robert, this may be a mistake for
Richard, who does not appear on the pedigree quoted (Harl. 1154). No Kempe appears in the
various Probate Courts of Norfolk, Suffolk, or Essex to correspond with this name, nor do we
trace any Ralph Kempe as living nearer than Middlesex, and the one of the name there was
grandson to that Ralph of London mentioned above. " Raffe " Kempe, however, witnessed the

20 History of the Kemp and Kempe Families.

will of Robert Kempe of Winchcomb, with whom Sir Nicholas Kempe and his heir, Ralph
Kempe, were connected. Thus a west country branch may have been established by this " Rarfe "
Kempe from Weston and Gissing. Such a distant settlement might seem unlikely to many who
have studied the Norfolk families, but as the grandchildren of Edmund Kempe of London are
recorded as intermarrying with families resident in Somerset and Surrey, the distance of
Winchcomb from Gissing cannot be looked upon as too great for these Kempes to cover at one

Alice Kempe (sister to the above Edmund, John, William, and Rarfe) became a nun at the
beautiful Sa.xon Abbey of Barking, the reason for her choosing a convent so distant from her
native home may reasonably be atttributed to her venerating the Saxon founder of that abbey to
whose race she claimed to belong.

Her sister, Ciseley Kempe, married John Moulton, or Melton, of " Sturston," which is
undoubtedly the modern Stuston in the north of Suffolk near to Diss.

A John Moulton at this period had extensive possessions in Gloucestershire, his will, which
describes him as of Toddenham, in that county, was proved in 1563 (P.C.C., g Stevenson). If this
is a relation to Cicely Kempe's husband it may perhaps account for her younger brother Ralph
being in that county. "Cicely Melton" is mentioned as living in 1542 in her brother
Edmund's will.

Before we take leave of this generation we may here note, as we have stated in the Kentish
section, that this last mentioned Edmund Kempe, and some of those enumerated as his relatives
by his will, have by an error been repeatedly attached to the pedigree of the Kentish Kempes.
All the Kempes of Cornwall have also claimed this Edmund Kempe to be their ancestor in order
to link themselves with the family of Archbishop Kempe, a distinction greatly coveted. They
state that his son, Humphrey Kempe, was father of Richard Kempe, who was living a married
man at Levethan, Cornwall, in 1544, whereas Sir John MacLean, in his careful history of that
family in "Trigg Minor," states that even in 1475, when Edmund Kempe was but a boy,
ancestors of the Cornish Kempes were already seated in Cornwall. Then, too, James Kempe, the
eldest son of Edmund Kempe, did not marry until 1544, and Humphrey Kempe, the younger
brother, must have married even later. Perhaps it is but fair to add that this unfortunate error
does not necessarily deprive them from sharing either kinship with both Norfolk and Kentish
stocks, but their pedigree goes back to such remote times that we fear that proofs of the common
origin of the three great families of the same arms will never be forthcoming.

Robert Kempe, on whom the Gissing Manors were settled, thus left behind him by his wife,
Mary or Margaret Curzon, a numerous issue, who, even at his death must have spread out into
half a dozen counties. His newly-augmented estates had permitted him to send his family forth
well portioned, and as time proceeded it is natural to imagine that he found the ancient home at
Weston too confined for his status. Hence he had doubtless arranged before his decease for the
transfer of the chief family seat to Gissing. We do not know for certain the date of his death ;
there is an Inquisition of a Robert Kempe of Norfolk and Suffolk indexed as taken in the eleventh
year of Henry VIIT. (1518), but this seems to be a mistake for the nineteenth year of that reign,
when his son Robert Kempe's estate was the subject of an Inquisition.

Robert Kempe must have married Elizabeth Appleyard, heiress of Margate Hall, Braconash,
before 1470, for as we shall see he had married a second wife before 1474, the first one having left
no son but three daughters. Mary, the eldest child, married Thomas Jernygan, of Cove, Suffolk,
and had by him at least four children living in 1527. Elizabeth Kempe, the second daughter of
the heiress of Braconash, became Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Catherine, and died in 1536.

Kempes of Weston and G is sing. 21

She states in her will * that she was born at Gissing, being daughter of Robert Kempe late of
that place.

The third daughter of Robert Kempe and Elizabeth Appleyard was Anne, who married Sir
Richard Bacon, of Harleston, Norfolk, of whose family were Lord Keeper Sir Nicholas Bacon and
Sir Francis Bacon. It was, doubtless, due to these being in the Royal Court, with other relatives
of the Kempes, that Queen Elizabeth stayed at Margate Hall on one of her state progresses to
Norwich. This occurred on Saturday, i6th August, 1578, and it is duly recorded in the official
records of the Queen's " Progresses " that the Queen and Court were there entertained at dinner,
after which the company proceeded to the city. At this time Lady Style was residing at Mergate
Hall, her sister-in-law, Bridget Style, having married Edmund Kempe of London, son of Robert
Kempe, of Weston. Margaret Kempe, the daughter of this Edmund, had married Sir William
Dane, Lord Mayor of London, and was at the time of this progress a lady of the Royal Court.
She died the following year bequeathing X^oo to the Queen for a necklace.

Robert Kempe's second wife was Anne, daughter of John Clifford, of Holmdale, Kent
(probably related to Richard Clifford, Archdeacon of Canterbury, and afterwards Bishop of
Worcester and London), who died in 142 1. By this wife he had several children, Bartholomew,
the eldest son, being declared to be aged fifty-five at his father's death in 1527 ; thus this second
marriage must have taken place before 1474. He inherited the chief estates as we shall presently
notice. Margaret Kempe, a daughter of Robert, married Robert Blaverhauset, of Princethorpe,
Warwickshire; Florence, another daughter, married Sir Phillip Woodhall, of "Frampton,"t
Suffolk, and was living in 1542 ; Lewis Kempe, a younger son, was to have the remainder of his
father's estate, but we find but little local trace of him except that he joined his elder brother in
a deed relating to some land in which his name is rendered as Ludovicus Kempe, the deed
concerning which is noted by Dairy in the MSS. before quoted. No will of any Kempe of his
name occurs in the calendars of the various Probate Courts of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, or
Lincoln, but " Sir " John Kempe, Vicar of Hungerton, Leicestershire, in a will dated, 153Q speaks
of his brother, "Ludwyke Kempe," and the latter's son, Ludwick. We have not traced the exact
abode of this elder Ludwick Kempe, but his sons and their issue lived at Croxton, and established
a family who have continued in Leicestershire and Lincolnshire to the present day. Other
Kempes of Leicestershire came from Staffordshire and Warwickshire, perhaps these also, although
apparently an earlier branch, may be akin to those of Norfolk stock, and thus account for
Margaret's marriage with Blaverhauset of Warwickshire.

The Blenerhauset marriage is one of much interest, as it opens up many complex relationships
between Kempes of Norfolk and other families of Kempes about the Kingdom. The family had
been long seated at Frenze, Norfolk, in the church of which many brasses and monuments to
their family exist. John Bleverhausett, who died 15 10, married first Jane, daughter of Thomas
Higham, of Higham Green, Suffolk (whose family afterwards intermarried with Kempes of Essex),
and secondly Jane, daughter of Thomas Tyndale, of Norfolk. By these wives he had a numerous
issue, of whom not all are shown in the Heraldic Pedigree as given in the " Norfolk Visitation."
Sir Thomas Bleverhauset, his eldest son, was of Frenze, and had seats in Suffolk and Essex. His

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