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John KEMP (1748-1811) of Kent

The life of John Kemp

Neil's third great grandfather was John Kemp, who - by working backwards from the age and date on his burial record - was born in 1748. There is no shortage of John Kemps in the IGI born around this time, but since John spent much of his life in and around the Eynsford, Crocken Hill and St Mary Cray areas of Kent, it is likely that his father was the Thomas Kemp who was buried at St Mary Cray on 2 April 1772 aged 64. The only possible fit from the IGI - which may not of course include the baptism of this John - is a baptism on 16 Oct 1748 to Thomas Kemp and Elizabeth in Cobham, Kent, a few miles from St Mary Cray.

On 27 Apr 1784 John married the Elizabeth Bennett of Barrington descent at Eynsford. She was only 16 and an orphan: both her parents had died within days of each other when she was 13, so presumably the marriage was considered a blessing. John was nearly twice her age and the marriage was with the consent of her guardian. Thomas Kemp, probably John's brother, was a witness.

John and Elizabeth's marriage produced several children - see the page on Elizabeth - the first of whom was Ann Kemp who married John Best. The other children were

John was a farmer and owned various properties and land in the area. It seems from his will - see below - that he moved in later life a few miles away to West Wickham.

John Kemp died on 5 Sep 1811 age 63, and he was buried at the Church of St John the Baptist, West Wickham where he was joined by Elizabeth nearly 40 years later. See below for their gravestone and its inscription.

tombstone (now a flagstone) of John and Elizabeth Kemp

Neil at the tombstone (now a flagstone) of John and Elizabeth Kemp, his great great great grandparents, Church of St John the Baptist, West Wickham

close-up of tombstone (now a flagstone) of John and Elizabeth Kemp

Close-up of the stone. The inscription at the top is now almost illegible. We only know what it says thanks to notes taken by Leland L. Duncan in 1891, transcribed by Frank Bamping and indexed by Zena Bamping.

"Mr John Kemp of this parish died September 5 1811 aged 63. Also Elizabeth Kemp wife of the above, died November 29 1839 aged 74"

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The will of John Kemp (1748 - 1811)

John's will was proved on 7 January 1812. The contents were as follows, where the abstraction is due to Joan Dolman, herself of Kemp descent:

Will proved at Prerogative Court of Canterbury 7 January 1812

John Kemp of Crocken Hill, parish of Eynsford, County of Kent, farmer, wife Elizabeth.

Properties: 2 freehold messuages in West Wickham; property in parish of St Mary, Croydon.

Goods at dwelling house, West Wickham to Ann Best, wife of John Best.

Estate duty registers - inland revenue IR 26 551

John Kemp, late of West Wickham, Kent. Will made on 27 March 1810. Proved 7 Jan 1812.

Value under 3,500

Legatees: Elizabeth Kemp (died November 1839)

Children: Ann Best, Thomas Kemp, Charles Kemp ad James Kemp, each received 331 7s 11d, 13 Feb 1813.

Wife: Household Goods, Plate, Linen, China and liquors at West Wickham

Daughter, Ann Best: Household goods and dead stock, lands and all other effects at Eynsford.

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