Recorded as Kemm, Kemme, Kem, and diminutives Kemmet, Kemmett, Kemitt, Kimitt and others, this is an English surname. It has two origins. It can either be residential and describe a person who lived at a keme, or in the north of England, a kemb. Both describe a fortress or at least a stronghold, or secondly it could be from the given name Kem. This as it happens also means fortress! To be called Fortress may seem unusual, but then the meaning of most given names is unusual. As examples the male name George means a farmer, whilst the popular female Barbara means strange or foreign, and is associated with barbarian! Early examples of the surname recordings include Adam Keme of Cambridgeshire in the Hundred Rolls of landowners in 1273, whilst Agnes Kemme appears in the Poll tax register for Yorkshire in the year 1379. Later examples from surviving church registers include Mary Kemmet, christened at St Gabriels Fenchurch Street, city of London, on September 2nd 1624, and Jane Kimmit who married Bernard Winter at St Ann's Soho, Westminster, on July 20th 1764.
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