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Abstracts from Depositions in Lower Norfolk Co. Virginia

In 1640, George Kempe is 28 years of age.


Ann Kempe was the wife of Sir Thomas Sherley, the elder. Her brother, Sir Thomas Kempe was the father of Mary Kempe who married Edward Digges, son of Sir Dudley Digges. Edward and Mary went to VA. (see Digges). Another daughter, Dorothy Kempe, married Sir Thomas Chickley. Their son, Sir Henry Chickley married Agatha Eltonhead (widow of Ralph Wormely of Middlesex Co. VA). Another daughter, Ann Kempe married Sir Henry Skipwith. Their son was Sir Grey Skipwith who also went to Virginia. He was living next to William Shirley in New Kent Co. VA in 1676.

From Cavaliers and Pioneers by Nugent Vol II page 229..."Mr. Richards, 1676 acres, New Kent Co., St. Stephens Parish, April 20, 1682. Beginning at Bestland, nigh head of Robin's branch along Edmond Binns; Mr. William Shirley, and Sir Grey Skipwith; up the Draggon, Sev., to Col. Claibourne 900 acres granted to George Morris.....etc. (Sir Grey Skipwith's sister, Diana Skipwith, married Major Edward Dale and lived Lancaster Co. VA).

[NOTE: a William Shirley is overseerer for a Mrs. Claiborne in King William Co. VA in the 1820 census].

The father of Ann Kempe, wife of Sir Thomas Sherley, the elder, had a sister Emmalline Kempe who married a Mr. Scott. Their daughter Eliz. Scott married Sir Richard Smith, brother of Sir Thomas Smith, the first treasurer of the Virginia Company. Richard and Thomas Smith had a sister, Alice, who married Wm. Harris. Their granddaughter, Dorothy Harris married Robert Kempe and their son, Richard Kempe, was Governor of Virginia and Secretary of State. Thomas, Richard and Alice Smith were first cousins with Mary Golding who married Bartholomew Gosnold, founder of Jamestown Virginia in 1606.


A John and George Kempe appraised Rev. Josias Mackis estate in 1718 in Princess Anne Co. John Shirley, Sr. is mentioned. 


In the Parish records of Christ Church, Middlesex Co. VA, Mr. Richard Kempe and wife Ellianor were having children in 1694-98. At the same time Richard Shirley and his wife, Ann, widow of George Duff, are having children in the same Parish.


MiddlesexCo. VA (marriages)

1742   Thomas Price, consent of Mary KEMPE to her daughters marriage.

1758   Thomas KEMPE and Mary Smith

1784   Peter KEMPE and Hannah KEMPE, consent of her mother, Mary Kempe


The following info from Brian Swan 



Richard Kempe was the 3rd son of Robert Kempe of Gissing and Flordon in Norfolk. Robert Kempe was baptised at Hampstead, Middlesex, on 28 December 1567; and was buried at Gissing in 1612. His father, Richard Kempe, the elder, had married Alice Cockeram of Hampstead at that parish church on 22 January 1566/7. Richard Kempe moved to Ipswich, where he was appointed Councillor of the Law. He lived at Washbrook, some three miles south-west of the town. He probably lived there until his own father, Robert Kempe of Gissing and Flordon, died in 1594 aged 80, and he succeeded to his estates.

Thus the baptism of the younger children of Richard and Alice Kempe are probably to be found in the Parish Registers of Ipswich sometime around 1570 onwards. Richard Kempe, the elder, died not long after his father, and was buried at Gissing on 5 April 1600 (Will 44 Force and Old Wills, 26; proved at Norwich Consistory Court by his son and his wife on 7 May 1600). His family included: Margaret Kempe, wife of Daniel Cotton; Anne Kempe, the wife of Anthony Drury of Besthope, Norfolk (marriage recorded on 26 May 1567 at Gissing); John Kempe, his brother at Antingham who died in 1610 (Will dated 30 September 1610 and proved 5 December 1610). He had married Anne Calthorpe, widow of Robert Jermy of Antingham, and left a son and heir, Robert Kempe; who gave his estates in 1626 to his cousin, Sir Robert Kempe of Gissing. Also mentioned were his nephew and niece Harborne; Thomas Kempe of Beccles; his niece, Dorothy Norton; his cousin, Robert Kempe of Bury St. Edmunds [is this important for the later death of Thomas Swann at Bury in 1666/7?]; his nephews Thomas Kempe, then a scholar at Cambridge, and Edward Rowse (Rous). Robert and John Kempe, sons of his eldest son, Robert Kempe, were to have a sum of money when they went to Grays Inn to study the Law.

Richard Kempe owned the Manors of Hastings in Gissing and Flordon in Norfolk, and Burnells, Dallings and Redisham in Suffolk. He added to the family estate by purchasing the Manor, afterwards known as Gissing Hall in Roydon. The Manor of Redisham is mentioned in a deed of 1411 as belonging to the Kempe family of Weston (BM Stowe MSS, 250). This is some evidence to support the descent of the Norfolk family from this Suffolk root. His widow, Alice Kempe, remarried, her second husband being Edmund Poley, Gent., of Badley near Stowmarket, Suffolk, on 17 September 1601 at Gissing church. Edmund Poley died on 31 October 1613, aged 69, and there is an inscription to him and other Poley family members in the church at Badley.

The eldest son, of Richard Kempe, the elder, was also called Robert Kempe; and was described as of Gissing, Flordon and Antingham in Norfolk. He was entered as a student at Grays Inn, London, on 9 May 1582. He married, around 1596, to Dorothy, daughter of Arthur Harris of Cricksea and Woodham Mortimer, Essex, by Dorothy, daughter of Sir William Waldegrave of Smallbridge, Suffolk and sister of Sir William Harris of Cricksea. Arthur Harris was the son of William Harris of Woodham Ferrers and Alice Smythe. Alice Smythe was the daughter of Sir John Smythe of Ostenhanger, Kent; whose brother, Sir Thomas Smythe (1558-1625) helped found the Virginia Company.

As the first two children of Robert Kempe are not baptised at Gissing, he probably lived elsewhere until he succeeded to the Manor. Richard Kempe, the third son and future Secretary of Virginia, was baptised at Gissing in 1600; and the fourth son, Arthur Kempe, was also baptised there in 1601. Robert Kempe died on 23 October 1612, aged 47, and was buried at Gissing. At the time of his death none of his children had reached manhood, although he had eight sons and three daughters, of whom seven sons and two daughters survived him; as well as his wife. His will was dated 20 November 1612 and proved on 5 May 1613 by his widow, Dorothy Kempe (PCC 46 Capell). Dorothy Kempe lived on at the Manor House at Flordon, until she died at Flordon in 1626 and was buried alongside her husband at Gissing. She left a will proved in the same year (PCC 120 Hale, dated 30 March 1626 and proved 29 November 1626). She mentions she holds a lease of a house in Finsbury, Middlesex, from Sir William Parkhurst, Knight. This might represent a London residence, perhaps the same as mentioned in the will of her son, Arthur Kempe, as his Chambers in London.

Arthur Kempe was at Pembroke College, Cambridge, from 1620-1623. From 1631-1635 he was Rector of Mapiscombe in Kent. He was destined to become Rector of Cricksea, and later of St. Michael-at-Thorn, Norwich, where he died in 1645, leaving a will but no issue (PCC, 68 Rivers). He left bequests to the poor of Antingham, Flordon, St. Michael-at-Thorn and the City of Norwich.

The eldest son, Robert Kempe, was enrolled as student of Grays Inn on 26 February 1614/5. It is unlikely he ever practised as a lawyer, but it seems probable that he obtained some position at the Faculty Office, as for some years a Robert Kempe issued marriage licences. Young and wealthy as he was, he soon found favour, with the result that he was knighted by King James I on 12 November 1618 at Theobalds, Hertfordshire, and he retired from the Faculty Office the same year. From that date he became closely attached to King James, and doubtless in the company of Sir Francis Bacon, enjoyed both pleasure and profit from the association. He eventually married Jane Browne, the heiress of Sir Matthew Browne of Betchworth Castle, on or before 1626. From this marriage Robert Kempe secured a Royal Descent for their children. Their eldest son, Robert Kempe, was born at Walsingham Abbey on 2 February 1627. Lady Kempe doubtless found Gissing Hall rather quiet after the life at London and the Court, and consequently preferred living there. When a retreat to the country was necessary she preferred Antingham as a home, rather than Gissing. The Antingham residence was described as their home in 1643. Sir Robert Kempe was made a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to Charles I and a Baronet in 1641.

See: Frederick Hitchin-Kemp, Daniel William Kemp and John Tabor Kemp, A General History of the Kemp and Kempe Families of Great Britain and Her Colonies, The Leadenhall Press Ltd., London, 1902; and Noel Currer-Briggs, The Search for Mr. Thomas Kirbye, Gent., Phillimore & Co. Ltd., 1986.

Richard Kempe, the Secretary of Virginia, succeeded William Claibourne in this post. He married, as his first wife, Anne Hogg of Hull, Yorkshire, born in 1617. After her death in Virginia he married, as his second wife, Elizabeth Wormeley, the daughter of Henry Wormeley of Riccall in Yorkshire, born around 1616. He made a will, dated 4 January 1649/50 and proved in the PCC on 6 December 1656. His widow, Elizabeth Lunsford, alias Kempe, was his executor. He was described as of Kich Neck, Virginia, and left to Elizabeth, his wife, all his estates in Virginia and his money. He asked Sir William Berkeley, the Governor of Virginia, to see his widow and his daughter, also called Elizabeth Kempe, returned safely to England; and to take care that her upbringing was entrusted to Richard Kempe's uncle, Ralph Wormeley.

Elizabeth Kempe (née Wormeley), his widow, remarried to Sir Thomas Lunsford, Baronet, of London and Virginia (?1610-1653), as his third wife; and by whom she had three children, namely Daniel Lunsford, Richard Lunsford and John Lunsford. Sir Thomas Lunsford was the son of Thomas Lunsford of Bexhill, Sussex. His mother was Catherine Fludd, whose brother, Robert Fludd (1574-1637), was well known as a Rosicrucian and as a physician. They were children of Sir Thomas Fludd, Knight, "Sometime Treasurer of War to Queen Elizabeth in France and the Low Countries", and were born in Bearstead, Kent. Robert Fludd was four times Censor of the Royal College of Physicians. He lived at Fenchurch Street and died, unmarried, on 8 September 1637 at his house in the parish of St. Catherine, Colman Street, London. His nephew was Thomas Fludd, or Floyd, of Gore Court, Otham, Kent. Another sister married Sir Nicholas Gilbourne of Charing, Kent. Herein lies the connection to John Fludd (Flood), who emigrated to Virginia in 1610 on the Swan. After the death of Sir Thomas Lunsford in 1653, Elizabeth Lunsford (née Wormeley) remarried again to Major-General Robert Smith.

Robert Smith was one of three agents, along with Francis Moryson and Thomas Ludwell, sent by the Assembly of Virginia in 1676 to King Charles II to attempt to help secure passage of the Royal Charter for Virginia following Bacon's rebellion.

Thank you Bran for letting us post this on the web and to Ken for forwarding it to me.

A small item correction to the above information from a reader of the website

I'd like to suggest a correction in the fourth paragraph of the "Info from Brian Swan" on the Kempe Surname page.Sir William Harris's wife, Alice Smythe, was the daughter of Thomas "Customer" Smythe of Westenhanger, Kent. She was the sister of Sir Thomas Smythe, Governor of the East India Company, Muscovy Company, Somers Island (Burmuda) company and Treasurer of the Virginia Company of London. Sir William and Alice Harris's 4th son, (Sgt)John Harris, his wife, Dorothy and their first two children were on the West and Shirly Hundred at the time of the census on February 16, 1623 and John was a burgess for the West and Shirley Hundred. - Jim (James E) Harris



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