This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is from an occupational name for a champion at jousting or wrestling. The name is derived from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "kempe", a weakened sense of the Olde English pre 7th Century "cempa", warrior, champion, from "camp", battle, which is itself from the Latin "campus", plain, field (of battle). The name development since 902 (see below) includes the following: Edmund Kempe (circa 1100, Norfolk), Alan Kempe (1273, Suffolk), Ralph le Kemp (1296, Sussex) and Ricardus Kempe (1379, Yorkshire).The modern surname can be found as Kemp, Kempe and Kempson. Recordings from London Church Registers include; the christening of Abiell, son of Robert Kemp on December 14th 1590, at St. Margaret's, Westminster; the christening of Anthony, son of Robert and Mary Kemp, in December 1681, at St. Botolph's without Aldgate; and the marriage of Charles Kemp and Elizabeth Hingson on September 3rd 1695, at St. James', Duke's Place. A Coat of Arms granted to the Kemp family is a red shield, charged with three gold garbs and a gold border engrailed, the Crest being a pelican vulning herself proper on a gold garb. The Motto "Lucem spero", translates as "I hope for light". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Eadulf Cempa, which was dated 902, in "Old English Bynames of Wiltshire", during the reign of King Edward the Elder, King of England, 899 - 924. 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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