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Kempa Coat of Arms / Kempa Family Crest

The surname of KEMPA was derived from the Old English word Cempa - a name meaning a warrior. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monastries, gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Early records of the name mention Eadulf Cempa documented in the year 902 in Wales. Edmund Kemp, was recorded in the year 1100 in the County of Norfolk. Edward Kempe was documented in the year 1273, and Thomas Kemp of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. William Kemp was burgess of Edinburgh in 1423. Donald Kemp was the burgess of Dingwell in 1613. A notable member of the name was John Kemp (1380-1454) the English prelate born in Olantigh, near Ashford in Kent. He became fellow of Merton College, Oxford, bishop of Rochester (1419) and of Chichester and London (1421), chancellor and archbishop of York in 1426, and archbishop of Canterbury in 1452. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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