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KEMP ancestry in Kent

Early origins of the Kent Kemps

Kemps appear to have been in Kent from the times of the early records. According to Max Kemp, a book published back in 1902, A General History of the Kemp & Kempe Families of Great Britain and her Colonies by Fred Hitchin-Kemp, Leadenhall Press Ltd London (now out of print) quotes a Radulphus de Campis (otherwise called Ralph Kempe) living at Wye, Canterbury, Kent, in 1283.

The earliest IGI entry for Kemp in Kent shows a Thomas, baptised 1533 in Sturry (near Canterbury) in Kent. In 1547, another Thomas, this time with his surname written as Kempe with an e, was baptised in Wye (near Canterbury), Kent. So the name seems to have been an early favourite for Kemp males. The earliest John was baptised on 21 June 1538 at Stoumouth (Canterbury), Kent.

A blanket search of the IGI for 'Kemp' in Kent (ie between about 1533 and about 1900) runs to hundreds of entries. The further one researches back, the mirkier and less certain the conclusions become. The fact that John and Thomas were such common Kemp names has made it particularly difficult to tease out from later generations which ones were which. This analysis therefore works backwards in time from the certain to the speculative: from Neil's confirmed third great grandfather, John Kemp (1748 - 1811) who has his own page; through his father, Thomas Kemp (about 1708 - 1772) who also has his own page; and then to candidates for the ancestry of this Thomas, see below: possibly John Kemp (about 1673 - ?), or maybe William Kemp (1685 - ?) or just as likely someone else so far unresearched on whom it is impossible to speculate meaningfully.

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John Kemp (about 1673 - ?) and John Kemp (about 1645 - ?)

The IGI shows that the parents of Thomas Kemp, baptised 1710, Chilham, Canterbury were John Kemp and Elizabeth. There is no convincing marriage record for this John and Elizabeth, although an Elizabeth Mutton married a John Kemp on 23 Feb 1701 at Saint Alphege, Canterbury, Kent.

The children of the John and Elizabeth who were Thomas's parents, as given in the IGI were:

Thomas, baptised 14 26 Mar 1710, could be Neil's line.


The Kemp pages on this website are dedicated to Joan Dolman, herself a Kemp descendant, whose trawls of West Wickham and Eynsford parish records enabled me to establish the Barrington / Kemp connection. Online sources were not available when Joan did her research, which made her work harder but did have the advantages of showing the clerical annotations which enabled more sense to be made of the records.

On the basis of the 25 year rule (that men on average have their first child at the age of 25), the John of John and Elizabeth could have been the one baptised 6 July 1673 at Sheldwich, Kent to another John Kemp and his wife, Susanna, born Susanna Gates who married on 23 February 1668 Sheldwich, Kent. The IGI shows that this couple, who could have been Neil's earliest likely Kemp ancestors, went on to have a large family:

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William Kemp (about 1685 - ?)

Another candidate for Neil's earliest known Kemp ancestor could be William Kemp who must have been born about 1685 somewhere round Canterbury in Kent. The IGI shows too many William Kemps born there around that time to know for certain which of them is 'our' William.

This William Kemp married Susanna Shooller on 4 Nov 1714 Bekesbourne, Kent, part of Canterbury. She was baptised there as Susanna Shoveler on 28 Feb 1685 to Daniel Shoveler and Elizabeth. The IGI shows that the couple had the following children:

Thomas, baptised 14 Jan 1719, could be Neil's line.

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This website Cryer family history is Pat Cryer. For applications to reproduce text or images, click here.