Kemsley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Kemsley comes from when its first bearer worked as a person whose father was a knight or soldier. The surname Kemsley 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 [1] The name also features the popular patronymic suffix -son, which was most common in the north of England and superseded other patronymic suffixes in prominence during the 14th century.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 Kemsley family

The surname Kemsley 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 Kemsley family

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

Kemsley Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Kemsley include Kempson, Kempston, Kimpson, Kempton, Kempstone and many more.

Early Notables of the Kemsley family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Kemsley family to Ireland

Some of the Kemsley 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 Kemsley migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Kemsley or a variant listed above:

Kemsley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Kemsley, who landed in Maryland in 1680 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Kemsley (post 1700) +

  • Paul Zeital Kemsley (b. 1967), British former Vice-Chairman of Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur
  • James Lawrence Kemsley OAM (1948-2007), Australian cartoonist


  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. ^ 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)


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