A graphic of a blue unicorn.The Family of Kemmis

Edition 3.2 - 1 May 2010


Kemys of Bedminster and Wickwick


Kemys of Bedminster and Wickwick.

The pedigree, with the arms, of this Branch of the family is included in that of the Syston Branch in the official record of the Herald's College, as also in the Gloucestershire and Somersetshire Visitations before mentioned.

The Arms of "Kemis of Wickwick, - vert, on a chevron argent 3 pheons sable" - are given in a "Collection of coats of arms borne by the nobility and gentry of the Co. Gloucester," published in London in 1792 and also in the "Arms of Gloucestershire families", one of the MSS. of Sir Joseph Shirley's Collection preserved in Queen's College, Oxford. In Bigland's "Gloucestershire Collections" is an illustration of the arms of "Kemys of Frampton-Cotterell".

XVII. Arthur Kemys: 2nd son of Roger Kemys (XVI) of Syston by his wife Alice: of Bedminster (186), Co. Somerset in 1540: of lands in Cornwall: was presented 25th December 1464, when 12 years of age to the free chapel of St. James', Gloucestershire, vacant by the death of Thos. Holethorpe L.L.B., by the patron John Kemys, (186a) his grandfather: resigned the aforesaid living 30th June 1481 (186a): granted by the King 8th April 1482 the custody of all his father's possessions and of his person, he being insane, and on 10th March 1486 also granted the wardship and marriage of his nephew John Kemys of Oldbury: granted 7th January 1488 a reward of 100 marks in recompense for his losses in the King's victorious battles: appointed 20th January 1489 Comptroller of the Great and Little Customs and of the subsidy of wool, leather, woolfels, tonnage and poundage in the port of Bristol (187): inquisitions post mortem in Somerset and Cornwall 1542: married 1st Jane, daughter and co-heiress of John Reynward, who bore "Azure, gutt{e, a castle or, " and widow of Moris Payne, 2nd Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Pauncefoot, Knt., and widow of Richard Mede (189): she was aged 40 at the death of her grandfather Sir Thomas Swynford in 1509, whose co-heiress she was, with her sister, in Ketilthorpe Manor, the advowson of Colby Church, and lands in Langton, Newton and Fenton, all in Lincolnshire; her inquisition post mortem was taken in Somerset in 1513. Issue 1. Thomas. 2. William: of Pen, near Yeovil, Co. Somerset, and of lands in Dorsetshire, in which county his inquisition post mortem was taken, between 1509-31: probably father of (a) Laurence Keymyshe, (190) Merchant, of the City of Salisbury, who as "Larrens Kemes", with Thos. Martin, Merchant of Salisbury, bound himself in a recognisance in 1556 to answer for the appearance of one Thos. Sharpe before the Privy Council (190a), and who between 1558-79 (191) was plaintiff in a Chancery suit against John and Richard Eyre, and in another suit against Thomas Barton: died before 1582: married previous to 1564 Johanna daughter of ......: her will dated 31st January 1582 was proved 4th May 1586 in which she describes herself as "Johanna Keymes of the Cathedral Close, Sarum, widow" and as having the lease of a house in the Close (192), father of (a) Laurence (193), matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford, 2nd May 1581, as "Laurence Kemyshe, Wiltoniensis pleb: fil: aet. 17", (194), M.A. 4th June 1586 (195); executor to his Mother. Of Sherborne, Co. Wilts. A companion and friend of Sir Walter Raleigh, serving with him at sea. Subsequently served in the army in Munster under the Earl of Essex, holding the rank of Captain: in 1599-1600 described as one of the Captains serving at Cork who were then "about the Court in England": in the latter year appointed to the command of a Company at Lough Foyle, "but because of his absence without hope of return" his Company was bestowed upon another: in 1601 he was ordered to embark at Bristol on 9th August with 100 men from Wiltshire, for Munster, being part of a reinforcement of 2,000 men for the army in Ireland. (195a) In the Marquis of Salisbury's M.S.S. there are several letters from Captain Laurence Kemys to Sir Robert Cecil, dating from 1597 to 1604. In 1600 defendant with "Sir Walter Raleigh and Caru Raleighe Esq", in a case respecting letters patent of the queen to Sir Walter Raleigh for the granting of licenses to sell wines in Cornwall and Devon (196); made a declaration at the trial of Sir Walter in 1603 and was said by Sir Wm. Ward to have spared his master in his confessions (197). At this time both he and Raleigh were prisoners in the Tower of London. Captain Kemys was removed on 25th Dec. 1603 to the Fleet Prison where he was detained a week and then discharged. (198). 23rd December 1609 warrant granted under Privy Seal to pay him #8,000 for the Manor of Sherborne purchased of the Feoffees of Sir Walter Raleigh attainted (197); 23rd September 1609 excused to Lord Salisbury his desire to retain power to surrender certain copyholds purchased from Sir Walter Raleigh till Sir Robert Carr should redeem them, they being entailed upon Sir Walter's youngest son (197). Made three voyages to Guianna, of the second of which he wrote an account entitled "a Relation of the second voyage to Guiana performed and written in the year 1596 by Lawrence keymis, gent," which was "imprinted at London by Thos. Dawson dwelling at the three cranes in the vintree" and addressed to "the approved, right valorous and worthy knight Sir Walter Raleigh, Lord Warden of the Stanneries, Captain of Her Majesty's Guard and Her Highnesses Lieut. General of the Co. of Cornwall" (200); which voyage was commenced 26th January from the Portland Road, in the "Darling" of London, accompanied by the "Discoverer" a small pinnance. Capt. Kemys died in the 3rd voyage to Guianna, on which he set out from Plymouth 12th June 1617 (201), by his own hand, employing for this purpose both knife and pistol in the cabin of his ship at the mouth of the Orinoco, December 1617 or January following in consequence of Sir Walter Raleigh blaming him for the death of his son, who was slain in the attack upon St. Thomas under the command of Kemys (202). In Sherborne Church in a light immediately above the top of the altar piece are his arms-"Quarterly, 1 and 4, vert, on a chevron argent, 3 pheons sable, for Kemys. 2. Gules, a chevron argent, between 3 clarions or, on the chevron an annulet sable, for Arthur. 3. Argent, on a chief gules 3 bezants, for Russell: impaling quarterly of four, 1. Azure, gutt{e d'eau, a tower triple turretted or, for Reynward. 2. Argent, a fesse sable, charged with 3 chevrons argent, for Trenoth. 3. Argent, on a chevron sable between 3 torteaux, 5 bezants, Tregayne. 4. Gules, sem{e of acorns or, bearded sable," name and motto appear to have been erased purposely with a diamond, date 1606 (204). Administration to Captain Lawrence Kemys Estate was taken out 20th October 1618 by his brother Nathaniel. His undated will signed "The Lordes prisoner L.K." was subsequently proved in London April 1619, in this he mentions his leases holden in or about Sherborne and the estate which he may have in Sir John Chawmberlaine's lands. (204a) (b) Nathaniel, matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford, as "Nathaniel Kemishe, Wilts, pleb: fil: aet. 17", 19th July 1583 (205): B.A. of St. Mary Magdalen College 27th June 1587, Probationery Fellow 1589-1605. Prael. loq 1590-4, M.A. 15592, D.D. 1601 (206);15th November 1594-5 the President of Magdalen College called a meeting of the Fellows in the chapel and finding that only six of them, among whom was Nathaniel Kemish, had surplices, he admonished two and twenty others "but frequentiores essent in capell} horis orationi destinatis et ut venirent secundum formam statuti superpelliciis induti", (207); Rector of St. Margaret's parish, Creek, Northhamptonshire, of which Rad. Warren, Miles, was patron, 1609-21: buried there 30th. January 1622 (208). Will proved in London February 1623. (c) Christopher: (d) Elizabeth: married ..... Molyneax: she was a widow in 1582. (e) Margery: married Sir Thomas Curteis, Clerk: living 1582. (f) Joan, and (g) Margaret, both unmarried in 1582. 3. Anna: married George Dorrington. (?4) Henry: of Porteshed: obtained a lease of the Chapel and Oblation or Relic of St. Dervall, previously held by Lanternam in the diocese of Llandaff (209).

XVIII. Thomas Kemys: of Bedminster, Somerset, and of lands in Cornwall: appointed one of the Commissioners of Sewers 13th. June 1542 to survey and repair the sea dykes from Porteshed Mill by Portbury etc. etc.: (210) 18th. November 1540 objected to the appointment of Sir John Seintelo (St. Lowe) to the Stewardship of the lordship of Bedminster: (210) died 1545: inquisition post mortem taken in Counties Somerset and Cornwall in 1546: married Jane, daughter of Marmaduke Mansell by Alice, daughter of John Weekes; the Mansell family bore "Gules, a fesse and chevron between three gambes out below the knee". Issue. 1. Roger. 2. Thomas: of Christchurch parish, Ward of Farringdon Without, London: presided over the office in Ram Alley, situate in the ward of Farringdon Within, known as the King's Exchange, established for the reception of bullion, where he died (211): s.p. buried at St. Dunstan-in-the-West 23rd. June 1614 (212). (?) father of a son, who dying V.P. left a widow Frances Kemish of Christchurch parish: she married 4th. July 1608 Henrie Callis of the parish of St. Michael, Cornhill (213). 3. Elizabeth: married Christopher Nappe, license for the marriage at St. Sepulcre's, London, of which parish she is described, being granted 17th. January 1553-4 (214). 4. Alice: married at St. Margaret's, Westminster, 23rd. April 1551 Sir William Harvarde or Harward "prieste". (215)

XIX. Roger Kemys: of Bedminster, Co. Somerset and of Wickwick, Co. Gloucester (216). Also held 10 messuages and 600 acres in Luxulian and 1/6th. m (?Knight's fee) in Bodamran in St. Columb Major, Cornwall (217). Plaintiff in a Chancery suit between 1558-79 concerning lands in Stapleton and in Barton hundred, Gloucestershire (218): held a heavy mortgage on the estate of his son-in-law Giles Kemeys of Newport, and was a party to deeds dated 1591-6-8 (219): as Roger Kemys of Wickwick, Gent, was party to a lease in 1603: married Isabella, daughter of George Hadley, who bore "Gules, on a chevron or, 3 crosses-crosslet sable": Will proved 1610 (? in London) and administered there in 1619 by his widow Anne (? a second wife): buried in the Milborne aisle of Wickwick Church (220). Issue. 1. Arthur. 2. Walter, of Portbury, Co. Comerset: probably the Walter Kemyes, gent: who was plaintiff in a Chancery Suit in 1636: will proved at Wells 1642: married Sara, daughter of William Wade of Stoke, Gloucestershire: father of (a) Roger. (b) Francis. (c) Elizabeth. (d) Frances. In Portbury Church, Co. Somerset, 6 miles W. by N. from Bristol is a brass to Sara, wife of Walter Kemish, whereon she is represented kneeling at a desk, having behind her two children labelled Elizabeth and Fraunces, and below her two infants Roger and Francis - Arms, "Or, on a chevron 3 pheons". 3. Thomas: matriculated at age of 16 at Gloucester Hall, Oxford, 30th. June 1592: probably married Joan daughter of ....: whose will as "Joan Kemmise of Ashton Keynes, widow, dated 18th. January 1636, was proved in London the following year, by which she bequeathed legacies to her daughter the wife of John Portlocke, her daughter the wife of John Weake, to a church in Gloucestershire, and to "her son". 4. Mercia: married John Hill. 5. Elizabeth: will proved at Wells 1635. 6. Margaret: married 1st. Giles Kemeys of Newport, (see which branch) 2nd. Edward ap John James of Llanblethian, Glamorganshire. 7. Anne.

XX. Arthur Kemys: of Bedminster in 1623: of Wickwick: matriculated at age of 16 at Queen's College, Oxford, 6th. May 1586 (221): defendant with Francis Nevell Esq., Henry Nevell Esq. and others in a case concerning a claim by lease in the Manor of Bishopworth granted by the master of the hospital of St. Katherine's near Bedminster: living 1625: died between 1640-44: buried in the Milborne aisle of Wickwick Church (220): married Katherine, daughter of Wm Attwood of beach, Co. Gloucester. Issue. 1. William. 2. Thomas. 3. Roger: of Bristol, Merchant: Receiver General to Henry, Lord Berkeley: executor to his nephew Arthur Kemys in 1645: a diligent antiquary and author of (a) An Alphabet of names in blazon, (b) An heraldic book in Folio representing Coats of Arms blazoned and classed under the principal Ordinaries of Crosses, Chiefs, etc., and also under the principal bearings, digested under their several heads alphabetically and divided, dated 1609; to which is added a list of lords and knights temp. Henry III, also a list of knights of shires in England temp. Edward I and Edward II, copied out of a very old MSS, in French. Further, joint author with Clayton Milborne of the blazon of the several coats of all the knights, who have been Earls of any county since the Conquest, mentioned in a list made by W. Conq., according to Mr. Camden's collection (222). Also compiled in 1623 a pedigree of his direct line of ascent, which he gave as shewn here, both in the Bedminster and Syston branches. 4. Isabella: married Wm. Player of Mangotsfield, (223) Co. Gloucester; she held lands in Bassaleg, near Newport, under her settlement dated 1st. October 1625. 5. Ann: died unmarried (224). 6. Sara.

XXI. William Kemys: of Wickwick: described in 1637 as of Swanswicke, Somerset: born 1595: plaintiff in a Chancery Suit against one Mortimer, wherein he claimed the right of next presentation to the living of St. John Dennis, alias John Deanes, Co. Gloucester, by right of a deed poll from James and Thomas Prynne, dated 29th. April 10 Car: I. (225): will dated 1639, and administered in London 13th. January 1639 by his widow Joan: buried in the Milborne aisle of Wickwick Church (220): married Joan, daughter of Thomas Pryn (226), of Swainswick, Co. Somerset, who Bore "Or, a fesse engrailed azure, between 3 escallops gules", her will dated 5th. February 1640 and proved in London 1642. Issue, 1. Arthur. 2. William: living 1644. 3. Catherine. 4. Anne: married Robert Browne, who died September 1679: heiress to her brother: died September 1692: buried with her husband in the Milborne aisle of Wickwick Church (220): her daughter and heiress Mary married Clayton Milborne: in the said aisle are the following achievements, 1. Sable, a chevron between 3 mullets argent, for Browne, impaling vert, on a chevron argent, 3 pheons sable, for Kemys. 2. Browne quartering Kemys. 3. Argent, a cross moline sable, in the dexter chief point a mullet gules, for Milborne. 5. Sarah: ? and Sarah Kemes who on 15th. April 1656 obtained a warrant to go to Holland.

XXII. Arthur Kemys: of Wickwick: aet. 4 in 1623: matriculated at Oriel College, Oxford, 21st. April 1637, aged 16, as "Arthur Kemys, son of Wm. Kemys, gent: of Swanswicke, Somerset" (226a): died s.p. will dated 6th. August 1644, proved in London in April of the next year, and administered there in 1647. He would appear to have married and had issue a son William who died an infant, when as previously stated, his sister Anne Browne became his heir (226b).

(186) Bedminster, anciently consisting of a few cottages, is now a populous Suburb of Bristol. Mr. Wakeman states that this family continued to hold property in Monmouthshire and that Arthur Kemys in 1504 was a party to a recovery in the Royal Court of Magor.

(186a) Hutchin's History of Gloucestershire, Vol. II, p. 192.

(187) Vide "Materials Illustrative of the reign of Henry VII Vol. 1. p. 383 and Vol. II, pp 226, 396.

(189) Visitation of Gloucestershire.

(190) From the quarterings of the armorial bearings of Captain Laurence Kemys in Sherborne Church, dated 1606, (vide infra) it is necessary that his family originated from a descendant of Arthur Kemys of Bedminster by his wife Jane Reynward. Moreover the close proximity of Pen to Sherborne makes it most probable that the descent is a above.

(190a) Acts of Privy Council 30th. August 1556.

(191) Chancery Proceedings temp. Elizabeth 1558-79. Series 2. Bundle 105. K. nos. 46 and 81.

(192) The Close is the residence of the Bishops, Deans, Canons and attendants of the Cathedral.

(193) Original portrait at Cefn Mably.

(194) Register of the University by Andrew Clarke M.A. Vol. II. p. 128.

(195) Wood's Fasti Vol. I. p. 237. In Vol. II at p.230 of Wood's Athenae is a sketch of his life.

(195a) Carew M.S.S. (Cal: State Papers). 1601-3, p. 116.

(196) "Calendar of Pleadings in Chancery temp. Queen Elizabeth" Vol. III. p. 269.

(197) "Cal. S. Papers, 1603-10, pp. 35, 37.

(198) Notes and Queries. 3rd Series. Vol. v. p. 7. 40s. per week was allowed for "the diett and charges of Laurence Kemishee Esquior".

(200) A copy is preserved in the Bodleian Library. In 1900 a copy of this book sold for #29.

(201) A reprint of a brief relation of this voyage by Samuel Jones, preacher in one of Sir Walter Raleigh's ships called the "Flying Chudleigh", may be seen in Vol. XI. 2nd. series Notes and Queries.

(202) Vide Rappin's and also Hume's "History of England".

(204) Hutchin's "History of Dorset", Vol. IV., p. 249.

(204a) In a Inquis: p: mortem on Sir Edmund Ludlow Knt., dated 1625, the latter was found to have owned the Manor of West Sherborne and Kennes or Kemis Manor. Possibly the latter had been the property of Captain Lawrence Kemys.

(205) "Register of the University of Oxford", by Rev. Andrew Clarke M.A. Vol. II., pp. 128. - and 97.

(206) "Register of St. Mary Magdalen College, Oxford", by J.R. Bloxham, Vol. IV., p. 226.

(207) Ibid.

(208) Whalley's "History of Northamptonshire", Vol. 1, p. 561. Vide also the Parochial Register.

(209) Gairdner's "Letters and Papers relating to the Reign of Henry VIII."

(210) Gairdner's "Letters and Papers relating to the Reign of Henry VIII."

(211) A Privy Seal relating to a Benovolence of #50, asked by King James from Sir Francis Carew of Beddington, dated the last day of July 1604, which is worded and signed by Thos. Kemys, is printed in Kempe's Losely MSS. pp. 218-20. The King's Exchange is mentioned in Stowe's London, Thorne's edition, p. 121.

(212) Vide "Collecteana Topographica et Genealogica", Vol. V., p. 204.

(213) Registers of St. Michael, Cornhill in Harl: Soc: Register Vol. VII.

(214) Vide "London Marriage Licences".

(215) Walcot's History of St. Margaret's Church.

(216) Wickwick is the only tything in the parish of Frampton-Cotterell, 2.75 miles N.E. by N. from Bristol and considered a seperate Manor: originally it belonged to the Seymours. (217) Escheats, Cornwall, i.f. 170.

(218) Chancery Proceedings Temp. Elizabeth.

(219) Wakeman.

(220) Bigland's "Gloucestershire", vol. 1., p. 589.

(221) "Register of the University of Oxford", by Rev. Andrew Clarke M.A.

(222) "Harleian MSS." Nos, 5803 and 6120. (?) Is the date (1609) given for this work inaccurate.

(223) Mangotsfield is close to Wickwick.

(224) Pedigrees at College of Arms.

(225) Chancery Proceedings, temp. Car. I.

(226) Father of Wm. Prynne, barrister of Lincoln's Inn, who was born at Swainswick, died 24th. Oct. 1669 and was buried in the cloister under the chapel in the Tower, having been instrumental in bringing back Charles II.

(226a) "Subscription Books."


(226b) Historical M.S.S. Commission. House of Lords Calendar. June 11th. 1661.


Beginning of Document
Table of Contents
Kemys of Syston and Oldbury
Kemys of Slough


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

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