Show ContentsKimpthurn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The illustrious surname Kimpthurn finds its origin in the rocky, sea swept coastal area of southwestern England known as Cornwall. Although surnames were fairly widespread in medieval England, people were originally known only by a single name. The process by which hereditary surnames were adopted is extremely interesting. As populations grew, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Under the Feudal System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Lords and their tenants often became known by the name of the feudal territory they owned or lived on. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. This was due to the heavy political and cultural influence of the English upon the Cornish People at the time that surnames first came into use. Local surnames were derived from where a person lived, held land, or was born. While many Cornish surnames of this sort 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 derived from lost or unrecorded place names. The name Kimpthurn is a local type of surname and the Kimpthurn family lived in Devon at Kempthorne in the parish of Beer-Ferris (now Bere Ferrers.) [1] [2]

"The family name (which was originally Ley) was derived from an estate so called in the parish of Beer-Ferris, co, Devon." [3]

Early Origins of the Kimpthurn family

The surname Kimpthurn 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." [4]

"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. " [5]

Early History of the Kimpthurn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kimpthurn research. Another 163 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1500, 1585, 1602, 1620 and 1679 are included under the topic Early Kimpthurn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kimpthurn 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 Kimpthurn family (pre 1700)

Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kimpthurn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Kimpthurn family

An investigation of the immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Kimpthurn: Richard Kempthorn, who was living in Waterloo County, Ontario in 1877.



  1. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  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. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  5. ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital


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