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 1 of 48)
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Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center


3 1833 01811 5912





John Kempe, Cardinal, AKCHBisHor of Canterbury.
Lord Chancellor of England.




Kemp and Kem pe

i ^=


Of Qreat (Britain and Her Colonies

Arms, Pedigrees, Portraits, Illustrations of Seats, Foundations,
Chantries, Monuments, Documents, Old Jewels, Curios, ^c.


Fred. Hitchin- Kemp


Daniel Wm. Kemp, J.P., Edinburgh (Author of works on Sutherland, <&c.),


John Tabor Kemp, M.A.,


Sir Kenneth Hagar Kemp, Twelfth Baronet of Gissing ; George Kemp, Esq., M.P., Rochdale ;

J. A. Kempe, Esq., C.B., Deputy Chairman of H.M. Customs ;

Rev. Prebendary Kempe, M.A., Chaplain in Ordinary to the late Queen Victoria ;

Charles N. Kempe, late of the Admiralty ;

Alfred Bray Kempe, Esq., F.R.S., Chancellor of the Dioceses of St. Albans, Newcastle and Southwell


Miss Lucy E. Kemp -Welch




New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 153-157, Fifth Avenue.

The Leadenhall Press, Ltd:

50, leadenhall street, london, e.c.

T 4,753.



I HE question has so constantly been asked, with whom did the idea of
compiling a history of the Kemps originate ? that it seems fitting to
preface the work with a brief account of its inception and achievement. In
order to simplify matters the chief writer will, with the reader's leave, speak in
the first person singular.

I was on a visit to an elderly cousin, living near Ashford, in 1896, when,
finding that the topics of modern conversation failed to interest him, I sought
something to read in an old library adjacent, of which my relative was trustee.
My first inspection of the shelves inclined me to think that the ancient volumes
with which they were loaded would afford me no. entertainment, for I was
neither an antiquarian nor interested in historv or genealogy. I came, however,
to a copy of Hasted's " History of Kent," which I took down with some
curiositv as to what it might say about the places of interest around my cousin's
home, and finding that I had thus dropped upon an account of a great man of
my own name — Archbishop Kemp — I read page after page concerning him and
his relations. This exhausted I turned to the index for the name of Kemp in
order to discover more information concerning my namesakes. , ■ •-

During the next few days I frequently returned to the library and found
that the name of Kemp appeared prominently in numerous volumes, while the
crest and arms closely resembled those granted to my father on accession to
certain Kemp estates. What connexion, I naturally asked, was there between
this Kentish familv and those of Hendon, Middlesex, from whom we were
descended ?

ii. Preface.

On my return to town, after visiting Wye College, Chilham Castle, and
other places connected with the Kemps, my desire to determine this question
took definite shape, and I made enquiries at the Heralds' College. The officials
could not give a ready reply, as the pedigree of my people was not recorded
when the present arms were granted. I then sought admission to the British
Museum Library intent upon a search which might solve the problem. I did
not anticipate that this would be a very difficult matter, for " The History of
Hendon " (by E. T. Evans, 1890) mentioned our Kempes as being at Hendon
in 1 6 10, the very year in which Ollantigh and other Kentish property was
distributed among the four daughters of the last Sir Thomas Kempe of Wye.
This Kentish Knight had no sons, but as he had brothers and uncles, I reasoned
might not one of these have founded the family at Hendon ? .

Genealogists will smile at this, for the longer one studies pedigrees the more
one realises how difficult it is to adduce conclusive evidence in proof of descent
from a family, or individual, living at a remote period. They will not wonder
that 1 soon collected a mass of information pertaining to various Kemps and
Kempes which in no way threw light on my family's connexion with Wye. This
collection must, however, relate to various living representatives of the name, I
thought ! Why not offer it to them ? So I took the libeiLy of addressing Sir
Kenneth Kemp, Baronet, and one or two others, saying that I had a collection
of notes relating to the Kemp and Kempe families which I thought might be
printed privately for those whom it might interest.

Lady Kemp favoured me with an interview in London the following year
(1897), and shortly after this I was delighted with an invitation to Mergate Hall,
near Norwich, to have a look at the deeds and records relating to the long
pedigree and large estates of the Kemp Baronets. Sir Kenneth most kindly
gave me access to his great chests full of Manorial Rolls and documents ranging
from the reign of King John to the present time. It need hardly be said that
these records contain the most valuable genealogical evidence, but to examine
them fully would require close attention for quite a year, and I was unable to
do much more than note each series and the dates, except where a definite query
suggested a closer investigation. With the assistance of Sir Kenneth I have

Preface. iii.

reproduced in this history a few of the documents which are of the chief general
interest to Kemps.

After this first visit to Mergate and Gissing Halls, George Kemp, Esq., M.P.
for the Heywood Division of Lancashire, helped the project of publishing the
result of my researches by handing me a cheque which covered the cost of
addressing circulars to Kemps and Kempes throughout England. In response
to the first issue of about one hundred some twenty-five replies were received
warmly supporting the scheme. The chief result, however, of this circular was
the very unexpected news to me that Mr. Daniel W. Kemp, of Edinburgh, had
issued a somewhat similar circular a year or two previously, saying that having
collected Kemp items for some tw^enty-five years he proposed to issue in periodical
form " Notes on Kemps of Great Britain." To this circular he had had many
replies, but having other literary work in hand, as well as numerous municipal
and business engagements, he had postponed the publication indefinitely. He
therefore offered to hand over to me the whole of his collection for me to deal
with. This very generous offer was gladly accepted, and a visit to Scotland in
the interests of the Scottish Kemps followed. By this time the work assumed
large proportions, and I felt it necessary to obtain the services of some gentle-
man who had both the time and the means to render me assistance in the great
work of arranging, selecting and editing the matter. I deem myself fortunate
in having found Mr. John Tabor Kemp, M.A. (Camb.), willing to devote a great
deal of his time to this honorary work.

The second circular was addressed in 1899 to Kemps in India, Australia,
United States and elsewhere, and advertisements calling for information
concerning Kemp(e)s abroad were inserted in the Times and several American
and Colonial papers. The letters received were so numerous, and requests
for special researches so many, that the whole of my time for more than two
years was devoted to the necessary correspondence and to researches at
Somerset House, the Record Office, British Museum, Provincial District
Probate Courts, ancient libraries and other store-houses of historical and
genealogical facts. The notes personally collected from these sources fill
forty-eight octavo manuscript books, each of over one hundred pages, while the

iv. Preface.

annotations and indexes relating to these fill another twenty-five books, half of
which are quarto, and amount to an aggregate of 1,500 pages of manuscript.
In addition to this bulk of matter requiring sorting and arrangement, the
collection of manuscript and books, by and concerning Kemps, sent by Daniel
William Kemp, J. P., weighs about one hundredweight. Mr. John Tabor Kemp
has also gathered a valuable amount of useful information, but the work for
which Kemps and Kempes in general must be indebted to him is his editorial
share of the work, for while it has fallen upon myself to write the matter, space
at our disposal has made it necessary for him to cut down to the lowest
consistent form the histories of the numerous distinct families of the names of
Kemp and Kempe.

Subscribers will, I trust, find, that where possible, some details of their
family are included, and I hope will realise that we have treated their family
traditions with respect, even where evidence was against them. History,
however, is valueless if not true, and we have in a few cases to show that errors
have been found in some ancient as well as modern pedigrees, while others
lack documentary evidence.

To all subscribers and others (Kemps, Kempes, Kempts, and even Camps
and Campes) I may here say that the mass of information in our hands is far
greater than space permits us to print in full. Those interested in making
further research concerning their family historv should communicate with me,
and I will place other details at their disposal. I may add, also, that where any
statement in this work is found to be in error, I shall welcome correction or
addition in view of a possible reprint of the work.

In conclusion I may be permitted to say the cost of research has fallen
almost entirely upon the joint compilers. Mr. Daniel W. Kemp, two years ago,
found that he had expended / 100 in research, collecting and circulars. Mr.
John Tabor Kemp has travelled extensively in quest of records, the cost of all
fares and hotel, as well as other incidental fees, being borne bv himself. My
own time devoted to the work represents five years of close studv and journevs
all over England, and a visit to the Record House, Edinburgh. In most cases
the illustrations in this work are from photographs taken personally, but I am



also greatly indebted to Miss Lucy Kemp-Welch for giving her valuable time to
reproduce (in black and white) some portraits and the tomb of Archbishop

To many gentlemen who have considerable collection of Kemp(e) notes I
also owe my thanks, but their names being many I omit the list here, as in most
cases their loans are mentioned in the text.

Fred. Hit chin- Kemp,

6, Beechfield Road, Catford,
London, S.E.
June, IQ02.

Willirim Kempe, Shakespeare's Comedian, the celebrated Morris Dancer who
danced from London to Norwich in nine days.

History of the Kemp and Kempe Families.



THE name Kemp or Kempe is widely distributed among the population of the British
Islands. Nevertheless, except in certain regions, it cannot be considered a very common
surname. It abounds chiefly in the eastern and southern counties of England, notably
in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, Middlesex and Sussex, to which may be added Surrey and
Hampshire. It is also tolerably frequent in the adjacent counties. In these parts families bearing the
name, or recognised variants thereof, have dwelt since the period of the earliest existing records.
For a thousand years, it is safe to assert, the stock of the modern Kemps * has occupied an
important place among the people of East Anglia. Although no contemporary documents as
old as this are extant, the earliest references to the name (dating from a period soon after the
Norman Conquest) testify its representatives as being above the class of villeins. The popular
etymology of Kemp, countenanced by the high authority of Prof. Skeat, regards it as the Anglo-
Saxon word Cempa, a champion, in modern spelling. Reasons for doubting whether this is the
true explanation are set forth in the chapter on the origin of the name (Chapter II.) One point,
however, in favour of the accepted derivation, is the early period at which Kemps came to the
fore in the social life of the nation. If champions they were, the qualities, to wit, strength of limb
united with force of character, which gave them that position naturally fitted them to be leaders
in other affairs than war.

But the name is not by any means confined to East Anglia, either in early or modern times.
In the south it extends to Wales and Cornwall. It is sparsely disseminated throughout the
midland and northern counties, and even reaches the Highlands of Scotland. The Scottish
Kemps, though few in numbers, have been far from undistinguished. Some of these scattered
families, no doubt, migrated from, the south-east of England at various periods. In very
many cases, however, there is no evidence, apart from their name, to connect them with the
Kemps of the south. We may not designate them, after Jewish analogy, as " the Kemps of
the Dispersion " on the assumption that they are descendants of one original stock. In all,,
probability the name has arisen independently in different localities. It may also have had more?
than one derivation.

Among the vast English-speaking populations beyond the seas, in the United States of
America, in South Africa and Australia, the name of Kemp is well known. References to the
career of the more distinguished bearers of the name outside the British Islands will be found in

* In order to avoid needless repetition of the phrase '• Kemps and Kempes," and the like, it will be convenient to state once for all that, except
where the contrary is indicated by the conte.xt, the term Kemps includes the Kempes.

2 History of the Kemp and Kempe Families.

other parts of the present work. Some of the Colonial and American Kemps are, however, not of
English origin at all, but are the descendants of emigrants from the Low Countries. This
meeting and commingling of English and Dutch Kemps is no new event, for the ancestors of many
of the Kemp families of the old country are known to have come over from Flanders at various
periods. A noteworthy man was John Kemp, the weaver, who settled at Carlisle about 1335.
The name is frequent among weavers in many parts of Great Britain till quite recent times. The
entries in the Scottish Registers relating to the Kemps often specify the occupation as that of a
weaver. It is a somewhat curious coincidence that " kemp '' is a technical term in connexion with
weaving, denoting a bristly hair often found among wool. "Kemb" is an old spelling of comb.
Referring to the English and Dutch Kemps, it may here be noted that they have fought against
one another in the present war.

Families vary enormously in the proportion of distinguished individuals which they have
produced to the total number of bearers of the name. It is customary to speak of those families
whose members were persons of importance centuries ago as "old" families. "Historic" would
be the more correct term, since it is equally certain that the obscurest of the poor at the present
day are descended from individuals who lived a thousand years ago, as that the representatives of
the noblest houses are so descended. Their "simple annals" have not been recorded except in
very fragmentary form in the parish registers of the land or the tenant rolls of estates, and now
and again in the records of crime. More rarely have the memories of their simple goodness
been handed down in such stories as "The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain" and the "Dairyman's
Daughter." Some families are distinguished by many illustrious names. Others, like the
Shakespeares and the Bunyans, have flashed forth in glory once and for all ; the posterity, if any,
of their one famous name is hardly more noted than was his ancestry. The Kemps do not fall
exactly under any of these categories. Their families are unquestionably " historic," for their
records reach back unbroken for at least five hundred years. They are by no means lacking in
famous names as the following pages amply testify. Yet they have produced no celebrity of the
first rank — no name which stands for an epoch in the annals of his own vocation, like Milton,
Newton, Darwin, Wellington or Nelson. Not a few of them have received marks of honour from
their Sovereign for their services to the State. Though they do not stand foremost among the
truly great families of the land — families that are great on account of the noble deeds of their
members, and not because the creatures of some early king — they do claim rightly that they have
enriched the nation's life. And herein lies the justification for the publication of the present
history. Every man or woman who takes any delight in the records of worthy actions, or who
cares to know anything of the personality of the authors of inspiring utterances, must feel a special
pleasure in becoming acquainted with such memorials when connected with their own ancestors or
namesakes. " I hope for light," expresses the feeling with which many readers will open the
present work, light which will reveal to them fragments of history in which they may justly feel
a peculiar pride. " Lucem spero," again, may voice the hope that something herein recorded
may in some way be helpful in their own lives, if only by directing their attention to forgotten

The rest of this chapter will be devoted to brief references to some of the more notable Kemps
in various walks in life. The connexion of Kemps with the Courts of the English Kings and
Queens is noticed /;/ limine, because earliest in date, while the names of some deservedly famous
individuals can be introduced here who do not come under any of the subsequent categories.

Kemps appear in close association with royalty almost from the first known appearance of
the name to the present day. One, Stephen Kempe, was fined for leaving the Court in 11 27.

Introductory. 3

Archbishop Kempe, of Canterbury, in virtue of his office, was necessarily much in touch with the
king, as was also Thomas Kempe, his nephew, the Bishop of London. The Archbishop was
frequently sent abroad by the king on important missions. For many years he held the office of
Lord Chancellor. Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Kempe of Gissing, was Lady of the Bedchamber
to Elizabeth of York, the Consort of Henry VIL Sir Thomas, Sir William and Lady Kempe of
Wye, attended the Court of Henry VHL in various capacities, and were present at the Field of the
Cloth of Gold. A Lady Kempe was prominent at the Court of Queen Mary. During the long
reign of Elizabeth, at least a dozen Kempes, both of Norfolk and Kent were active. A Robert
Kempe of Gissing was gentleman of the Bedchamber to Charles L, who first knighted him and
afterwards raised him to the dignity of a baronet. He raised arms for the King at the outbreak
of the Cromwellian troubles, sacrificing much of his property in so doing. John Kemp, of Boldre,
a representative of the Kentish stock was a prominent Roundhead. Various Kemps of minor note
from time to time appear at Court under the Georges. At the present time two Kempes are
Chaplains to the King. Some of the living branches of the Kemps possess royal blood. Pedigrees
of their descent will be found in other chapters.

The Kemp families have given some very high dignitaries to the church, including the
Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London above mentioned. The second Bishop of
Maryland was James Kemp, a native of Scotland. Various Kemps have held canonries and
prebends. But while Kemps have risen to fame in the church none of them can be claimed
as great divines in the restricted sense of the word as applied to Hooker or Pearson. They make
up, however, for any lack of distinction in scientific theology by the fervent piety and practical
philanthropy which many of them have exhibited. One of the earliest productions of the printing
press, issued by Wynkyn de Worde, was "A Short Treatyse of Contemplacyon taught by the
Lorde Jhesu Cryste, taken out of the Boke of Margerie Kempe of Lyn." Her writings resemble
those of the Ouietists and Quakers. Grover Kemp was a leading member of the Society of
Friends. Among the victims of the Boxer massacres in China was Mrs. T. W. Pigott, ne'e Kemp,
murdered Avith her husband and son at Tai-Yuen-Fu.

Kempt is a well ascertained variant of the name Kemp as will appear in the pages of this
history. It is specially frequent in Scotland, but is known elsewhere. This being the case it is
legitimate to name here Sir James Kempt, G.C.B., Governor-General of Canada from 1828 to
1830. He served under the Duke of Wellington in the war against Napoleon, when he
distinguished himself on many occasions, including the Battle of Waterloo, and was frequently
mentioned in despatches. He was of Scottish parentage.

The most eminent Kempe who ever served in the Navy was Admiral Arthur Kempe
of the Cornish stock. A Kempe sailed with Captain Cook in his celebrated voyages of discovery.
Another individual of the same family was granted by royal patent the privilege of catching
whales. The late Mr. Dixon Kemp, the celebrated yachtsman and writer on ship building, may
be mentioned here. He was yachting editor to the Field newspaper.

Art, science, and literature claim a considerable number of Kemps. A lady of the name still
living is the only woman artist, any of whose paintings have been purchased by the Chantrey
Trustees for the National Gallery. As a connoisseur in the fine arts John Kemp, who died in
1717, was renowned. The contents of his collection of antiquities was described in a volume
written in Latin and published after his death entitled, " Monumenta Vetustatis Kempiana."
Alfred John Kempe, who died in 1846, was the author of many articles in the Gentleman'' s
Magazine on antiquarian subjects. As an architect John Meikle Kemp, designer of the Scott
Monument at Edinburgh, occupies a distinguished place. The most noted musician bearing the

B 2

4 History of the Kemp and Keuipe Families.

name is Joseph Kemp, some time organist of Bristol Cathedral. His brother, James, was a minor
poet. One, Andrew Kemp, who has left a setting of the Te Deum, was master of the Song
School at St. Andrew's in 1575. A William Kemp, contemporary with Shakespeare, achieved
fame as a comic actor and dancer.

John Kemp, F.R.S., Edin., a native of Aberdeenshire, was a noted mathematician. Other
Kemps have also distinguished themselves in the same study. Medical science has been advanced
by several Kemps who have written upon different subjects in connexion therewith. Two
brothers named Kemp taught chemistry at Edinburgh University during the first half of the
nineteenth century. Both were cut off under forty years of age after careers of great promise.

To conclude this review it may be added that a valuable dictionary of the Maori language
was compiled bv a Kemp, who abandoned civilised society and took up his residence among the
natives of New Zealand, who recognised him as a chief, using his portrait on their tribal banner.

Kemps have taken their full share in mercantile pursuits. Many noted business houses bear
their name. For several generations they have likewise been connected with banking. Of late
the name has become famous in connexion with sport. References to living Kemps who have
in any wav distinguished themselves, and to existing firms founded by Kemps, will be found
elsewhere in the present work.

The compilers of this history would here express the hope that their readers who possess the
ability and leisure to continue the researches which they have begun will do so. Much work
remains to be done in the patient examination of ancient records of many kinds. The systematic
search of parish registers would probably repay the time and labour spent on it in clearing up
many doubtful points in descent. Of the relationship of some of the famous Kemps little or
nothing is known. To discover their family connexion would be to earn the gratitude of future
biographers and historians. Again, to trace out the migrations of the families of any one name
would be a distinct addition to the history of the social life of the nation, still more, if the
causes which determined the movement could also be ascertained. The history of a family if truly
written is no mere monument of that selfish pride known as snobbery, but a valuable contribution
to human knowledge.

^. .. ■'^"\;.

The Kemp and Kempe Families of Kent.

CHcA'PTETi 11.

(By John Tabob Kkmp, M.A.)

THE prevalence of the surname Kkmp in the eastern counties of England indicates it as of

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 1 of 48)