This name is of English locational origin from the village of Kemsley in Kent. The first element is the genetive of the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name Cymi, plus "leah", a clearing in a wood. The surname is first recorded in the mid 16th Century, (see below). On October 19th 1559 Henry Kemsley and Joyce Thomas were married in Borden, Kent and on January 3rd 1566 Anne Kemsley, an infant was christened there. The marriage of Jane Kemsley and John Barefotte was recorded in Maidstone on July 31st 1581 and on August 14th 1623 Alice Kemsley married William Parker in St. Peter and St. Paul's, Milton by Gravesend, Kent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Joan Kemsley married William Stanly, which was dated August 29th 1546 in Shorne, Kent, during the reign of King Henry VIII, Bluff King Hal, 1509 - 1547. 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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