Show ContentsKempton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The family name Kempton is one of the oldest Anglo-Saxon names of Britain. It was originally a name for a person who worked as a person whose father was a knight or soldier. The surname Kempton was originally derived from the Old English word kemp, which came from the Old English word cempa, which means warrior and occasionally means athlete or wrestler. [1] The name also features the popular patronymic suffix -son, which was most common in the north of England and superseded other patronymic suffixes in prominence during the 14th century.

Early Origins of the Kempton family

The surname Kempton was first found in Kempston, parishes in Bedfordshire and Norfolk. "This parish [in Bedfordshire], in the Domesday Survey Camestone, comprises about 5000 acres; the soil in the valley of the Ouse is gravelly, and in other parts clay." [2]

The first record of the family was Peter de Kemeston who was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Bedfordshire in 1190. Years later the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 in Berkshire listed Simon de Kempston and later again, Symond Kempston was listed in 1426 in the Paston Letters and Papers of the Fifteenth Century. [3] Richard Kemson was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. [1]

Early History of the Kempton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kempton research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1728, 1661, 1662, 1683, 1684, 1726 and are included under the topic Early Kempton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kempton Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Kempton include Kempson, Kempston, Kimpson, Kempton, Kempstone and many more.

Early Notables of the Kempton family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Kempton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kempton Ranking

In the United States, the name Kempton is the 10,210th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Kempton family to Ireland

Some of the Kempton family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 58 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 Kempton migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Kempton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ephraim Kempton, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623 [5]
  • Menassah Kempton of Essex, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623 aboard the ship "Anne" [5]
  • Ephraim Kempton, who settled in New England in 1635
  • William Kempton, who arrived in Virginia in 1653 [5]
  • Thomas Kempton, who landed in Maryland in 1656 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Kempton Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mary Kempton, who settled in Maryland in 1737
Kempton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • A. Kempton, who settled in Savannah, Georgia in 1821
  • William Kempton, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1876

Australia Kempton migration to Australia +

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

Kempton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Kempton, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on February 22, 1834, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [6]
  • John Kempton, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Countess of Yarborough" in 1850 [7]

New Zealand Kempton 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:

Kempton Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Kempton, who landed in Ohiro, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Adelaide
  • Thomas Kempton, aged 28, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Adelaide" in 1858 [8]
  • Mary Ann Kempton, aged 26, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Adelaide" in 1858 [8]
  • Thomas Kempton, aged 3, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Adelaide" in 1858 [8]
  • Henry Kempton, aged under 1, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Adelaide" in 1858 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Kempton migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [9]
Kempton Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Samuel Kempton, who settled in Jamaica in 1717

Contemporary Notables of the name Kempton (post 1700) +

  • Gloria Kempton (b. 1951), American author, best known for her book Write Great Fiction: Dialogue
  • Martha Greta Kempton (1901-1991), Austrian-born, American artist who served as the White House artist during the Truman administration
  • Timothy Joseph "Tim" Kempton (b. 1964), retired American professional basketball player who played from 1986 to 1998
  • James Murray Kempton (1917-1997), American reporter who won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary
  • Rez Kempton, British actor and producer, known for work in I Can't Think Straight (2008), The Divide (2004) and Amar Akbar & Tony (2014)
  • David Kempton (b. 1956), Australian Liberal National politician, Member of the Queensland Parliament for Cook (2012-)
  • Adam Kidman Kempton (b. 1957), Australian politician, Member for Warrnambool, Victoria (1983-1985)
  • Emory Kempton Lindquist (1908-1992), American Rhodes Scholar, president of Bethany College (1943-1953) in Lindsborg, Kansas and Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas (1963-1968)
  • Norman Kempton Atkins (1934-2010), Canadian Senator and political figure

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Sylvius L Kempton (b. 1922), English Ordinary Signalman serving for the Royal Navy from Hale, Cheshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking [10]

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1834 with 230 passengers. Retrieved from
  7. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) COUNTESS OF YARBOROUGH 1850. Retrieved from
  8. Shadow Time Settlers (Retrieved 5th November 2010), retrieved from
  10. H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from on Facebook