Kempthorn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
Cornwall, one of the original six "Celtic nations" is the homeland to the surname Kempthorn. A revival of the Cornish language which began in the 9th century AD has begun. No doubt this was the language spoken by distant forebears of the Kempthorn family. Though surnames became common during medieval times, English people were formerly known only by a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames were adopted in medieval England is fascinating. Many Cornish surnames appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames. The name Kempthorn is a local type of surname and the Kempthorn family lived in Devon at Kempthorne in the parish of Beer-Ferris (now Bere Ferrers.)  
"The family name (which was originally Ley) was derived from an estate so called in the parish of Beer-Ferris, co, Devon." 
Early Origins of the Kempthorn family
The surname Kempthorn was first found in Devon, but this village has long been lost and the majority of the family claim neighbouring Cornwall as their homeland. "Tonacombe, [in the parish of Morwinstow, Cornwall] which was formerly the seat of a family called Kempthorne alias Lea, was carried in Marriage to the Waddons, towards the conclusion of the seventeenth century." 
"At Widcombe, [Devon] here was born, in 1620, Admiral Sir John Kempthorne, who first showed his mettle by engaging in the frigate Mary Rose a squadron of seven Turkish men-of-war, and sinking or capturing the whole. He was made Admiral for his distinguished services in 1665, under the Duke of York, and took part in several engagements with the Dutch, as well as that at Solebay. Subsequently one of the Commissioners of the Navy, he died at Portsmouth in 1679. " 
Early History of the Kempthorn family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kempthorn research. Another 163 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1500, 1585, 1602, 1620 and 1679 are included under the topic Early Kempthorn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Kempthorn Spelling Variations
Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Kempthorne, Kempthorn, Kimpthorne, Kimpthorn and others.
Early Notables of the Kempthorn family (pre 1700)
Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kempthorn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
| Kempthorn migration to Canada ||+|
An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Kempthorn or a variant listed above:
Kempthorn Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
- Richard Kempthorn, who was living in Waterloo County, Ontario in 1877
| Kempthorn 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:
Kempthorn Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- Sampson Kempthorn, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1843
- Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
- Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
- Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital