Kemp History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

When the ancestors of the Kemp family arrived in England following the Norman Conquest of 1066, they brought their name with them. It is a name for a champion at jousting or wrestling. In medieval England, the joust was used to train feudal knights for battle. Checking further we found the name was derived from the Middle English word kempe, which is a derivative of the Old English word cempa, which means warrior or champion. [1]

Early Origins of the Kemp family

The surname Kemp was first found in Wiltshire, where one of the first records of the name was Eadulf Cempa in 902. Years later, Edmund Kempe was listed in Norfolk c. 1100 and Ralph le Kemp was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of 1296 in Sussex. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Alan Kempe in Suffolk and William Kempe in Oxfordshire. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list Ricardus Kempe and Johannes Kempe. [2]

The parish of Slindon in Sussex was of great significance to the family. "Slindon House, the seat of the Countess Dowager of Newburgh, was originally built by one of the archbishops of Canterbury, and was for some time the residence of the celebrated Archbishop Langton, who died here in the reign of Henry III.; the present mansion, erected by Sir George Kemp in the reign of Elizabeth, is a handsome structure, on a bold eminence." [3]

The parish of Wye in Kent was another ancient family seat. "The church was rebuilt by John Kemp, a native of the parish, who was first preferred to the bishopric of Rochester, and, having successively presided over several other sees, was lastly translated to the archbishopric of Canterbury and made cardinal. In 1447, he founded a college here for a master, or provost, and Secular canons, dedicated to St. Gregory and St. Martin. Olantigh, in the parish, was formerly the seat of the family of Kemp, and is supposed to have been the birthplace of Archbishop Kemp, and also of his nephew, Thomas Kemp, Bishop of London." [3]

In the far south in the parish of St. Ewe in Cornwall, another branch of the family was found. "What now remains of Trevithick is turned into a farm house, and is the property of Arthur Kempe, Esq. admiral of the blue." [4]

Early History of the Kemp family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kemp research. Another 149 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1380, 1450, 1780, 1380, 1454, 1594, 1599, 1373, 1438 and are included under the topic Early Kemp History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kemp Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Kemp, Kempe and others.

Early Notables of the Kemp family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Cardinal John Kemp (c.1380-1454), Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord Chancellor of England; Will Kemp who was an actor with the Lord Chamberlain's Men from 1594 to 1599, and was listed as one of...
Another 40 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kemp Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Kemp family to Ireland

Some of the Kemp family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Kemp migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Kemp or a variant listed above:

Kemp Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Kemp, who settled in Virginia in 1624 with his wife Margaret and son Anthony
  • Humfrey Kemp, who settled in Bermuda in 1635
  • Edward Kemp, aged 29, who landed in Barbados in 1635 [5]
  • Humfrey Kemp, aged 16, who arrived in Bermuda in 1635 [5]
  • Isack Kemp, aged 23, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Kemp Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Wilhelm Kemp, who arrived in New York in 1709-1710 [5]
  • Hugh Kemp, who landed in Jamaica in 1730 [5]
  • Casper Kemp, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1734
  • Dewald Kemp, who arrived in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania in 1743 [5]
  • Christian Kemp, who landed in Maryland in 1746-1747 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Kemp Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Ceaser Kemp, aged 24, who arrived in Key West, Fla in 1837 [5]
  • Adam Kemp, aged 22, who landed in Key West, Fla in 1837 [5]
  • Rebecca Kemp, aged 16, who landed in Key West, Fla in 1838 [5]
  • Sarah Kemp, aged 38, who landed in Key West, Fla in 1838 [5]
  • Asemit Kemp, aged 1, who landed in Key West, Fla in 1839 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Kemp migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kemp Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Kemp, who landed in Quebec in 1784
  • Mr. Kemp James U.E. who settled in Fredericksburgh [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1784 [6]
  • Mr. Kemp John U.E. who settled in Carleton [Saint John West], New Brunswick, Canada c. 1784 [6]
  • Mr. Kemp John Sr., U.E., "Kempt" (b. 1723) born in Maryland, USA from Albany, New York, USA who settled in Fredericksburgh [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1784 he enlisted in 1780 serving in the Kings Rangers, married to Anne Van Vorst they had 5 children, he died in 1795 [6]
  • Mr. Kemp Joseph U.E. who settled in Fredericksburgh [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1784 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Kemp Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Aaron Kemp, who arrived in Canada in 1830

Australia Kemp migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Kemp Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
Kemp Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Henry Kemp, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. James Kemp, (b. 1784), aged 32, English carpenter who was convicted in Sussex, England for 14 years for possession of forged bank notes, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 16th January 1816, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Joseph Kemp, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [10]
  • Mr. Henry Kemp, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 3rd November 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Mr. Nash Kemp, English convict who was convicted in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Bardaster" on 7th September 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Kemp migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Kemp Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • J Kemp, who landed in Keri Keri, New Zealand in 1836
  • James Kemp, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1840
  • Hy Tracy Kemp, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • James Kemp, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Thomas Kemp, who landed in Tamaki, Auckland, New Zealand in 1843
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Kemp (post 1700) +

  • Elizabeth Kemp (1951-2017), American actress and acting coach
  • Helen Hubbert Kemp (1918-2015), American voice teacher, church music pedagogue, composer, and children's choir clinician
  • Wayne Kemp (1941-2015), American country music singer
  • Earl Kemp (b. 1929), American Hugo Award winning publisher, science fiction editor and critic
  • Daniel "Dan" Kemp (1927-2000), American actor, best known for his many roles in television westerns
  • Jack French Kemp (1935-2009), American politician and government official, he was Bob Dole's running mate in 1996 presidential campaign
  • C. E. Kemp, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Arkansas, 1960 [13]
  • Bolivar Edwards Kemp (1871-1933), American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Louisiana, 1920; U.S. Representative from Louisiana 6th District, 1925-33 [13]
  • Benjamin R. Kemp (1830-1864), American politician, Member of Indiana State House of Representatives, 1863 [13]
  • Andrew Kemp, American Democrat politician, Supervisor of Monguagon Township, Michigan; Elected 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901 [13]
  • ... (Another 53 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Francis T Kemp, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [14]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Douglas Kemp, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [15]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Lewis Holdsworth Kemp (d. 1939), British Ordnance Artificer 4th Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [16]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Thomas Hulman Kemp (d. 1912), aged 43, English Assistant Fourth Engineer from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [17]


The Kemp Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Lucem spero
Motto Translation: I hope for light.


Suggested Readings for the name Kemp +

  • 654 Heistand Family History by Barbara Hiestand Moore, Kemp Family Records by Thomas J. Kemp.

  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  5. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 29th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/barwell
  8. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Ann voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1809 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/ann/1809
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  10. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Argyle voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1831 with 251 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/argyle/1831
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bardaster
  13. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 23) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  14. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  15. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  16. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  17. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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