A graphic of a blue unicorn.The Family of Kemmis

Edition 3.2 - 1 May 2010


Kemeys of Newport

"Kemis of Newport: Vt., on arg. pheons a". (Family Names and Arms) The pedigree here given corresponds almost entirely with that of Mr. Thomas Wakeman F.S.A. Mr. Wakeman states that he drew up his pedigree "from family deeds, above a hundred in number, and which include every name mentioned and proved most fully the whole pedigree."

Wentloog comprises the western extremity of Monmouthshire, adjoining the Cos. of Brecknock and Glamorgan: the Level is that part of it which lies along the Bristol Channel, between the rivers of Usk and Rumney, formerly belonging to the Duchy of Lancaster and subsequently to the Morgans of Tredegar, the proprietors in it being under the control of a Court of Sewers.

Newport, anciently called Castell Newydd or New Castle, is the chief town of Wentloog, situated upon the Usk 4 miles from the junction of that river with the Severn. Leland in his Itinerary, 133, speaks of it as "a Town yn ruine", but it is now a flourishing seaport and a place of considerable importance. Once it had walls and gates: the writer just referred to says "There is a great stone gate by the bridge at the est end of the town, another yn the middle of the town as in the high strete to pass through and the 3 at the west end of the tunne and hard without it is the paroche church". The sites of the eastern and western gates were still to be traced in Archdeacon Coxe's time, 1801, but no vestiges of the walls then remained. The shell of the castle, which was founded by John, Earl of Gloucester, natural son of Henry I, in the form of a Parallelogram, stands near the bridge upon the right bank of the Usk. The parish church, dedicated to St. Woollos is built upon Stow hill, a gentle rise commanding an extensive view: the present nave represents the original structure and was erected either in the Anglo-Saxon or Norman period, but has since undergone many alterations and additions, the other parts of the building are the belfry, a square tower, the chapel of St. Mary, now used as a place of burial, and a chancel: the living is in the patronage of the Bishop of Llandaff.

Originally Newport was included in the lordship of Glamorgan, in which, tempore Wm. Rufus, as before related, was conquered by Robert Fitz-Hamon and conveyed by his great-grand-daughter to Richard de Clare, Earl of Hertford. In 1314 Gilbert de Clare died and the lordship was brought by his sister Margaret to her husband, Hugh de Audley, from whom at one time Hugh le Despenser, married to Gilbert's other sister, obtained it: eventually Margaret's daughter conveyed it to Ralph, Earl of Stafford, in whose family the lordships of Wentloog, with the town and castle of Newport, remained until the attainder of the 3rd Duke of Buckingham in 1521, when his possessions were seized by Henry VIII. The castle, Cox states, was afterwards sold or granted to the Herberts of St. Julian and formed part of the property which Lord Cherbury obtained by marriage with Mary, daughter and heiress of Wm. Herbert: subsequently it came into the possession of the Earl of Powis and was sold to Charles Van Of Llanwern; Mr. Van granted a long lease of the tower next the bridge to the Rev. Mr. Burgh, whose father had purchased the Manor of Newport, and exchanged the remainder with William Kemeys Esq. of Maindy.

The genealogical line principally followed in this branch of the Kemeys family is that given in the Vincent Collections in the College of Arms.


Footnotes to Kemeys of Newport


Beginning of Document
Table of Contents
Kemeys of Began
Kemeys Llanblethian


John L. & Irene Kemmis
E-mail:john.kemmis@kemmisfamily.info

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