This ancient surname is of English origin. It is locational and a variant of the popular surname Kimberley. There are a number of spellings including Kimbrey, Kimbley, Kimbury, Kembery, Kembrey, Kembley and others. The place name is found in the counties of Norfolk, Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire, and derives from different Olde English 7th Century prefix, but all ending with "leah", meaning a farm in a wood. Kimberley in Warwickshire was the clearing or farm of Cynebald, that in Nottinghamshire was the farm of Cynemaer, although Kimberley in Norfolk is from "cyne burh", meaning the royal fortress on a farm. Early examples of church recordings include Elizabeth Kymbley who married William Fardon at Fillongley, Warwickshire in 1570, and John Kembrey who married Sarah Brown on the 18th July 1724 at Isleworth in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Chineburlai. This was dated 1161, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Norfolk, during the reign of King Henry 11nd. He was known as the church builder, and reigned 1154 to 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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