English Place-name Society

Survey of English Place-Names

A county-by-county guide to the linguistic origins of England’s place-names – a project of the English Place-Name Society, founded 1923.


Major Settlement in the Parish of Kempsey

Historical Forms

  • Kemesei 799 BCS295 11th
  • Cymesig 977 KCD612 11th
  • Kymesei, Chemeshege, Kemesige 11th Heming
  • Chemesege 1086 DB
  • Camesi, Cameseia c.1086 EveA&B 1190
  • Kemeseia, Kemeseye 1208 Fees37 1235 BM 1255 Ch 1291 Tax
  • Kemsey 1615 Ogilby
  • Kamestona (ib.)
  • Chemestune c. 1145 ib.
  • Chemest' Hy 2 BM


The suffix eg is probably descriptive of the 'island' of higher ground on which the church and camp stand.For the first part of the name we may compare the forms for Kempston (Nf). These are Kemestun DB, Camestone c. 1100 (c. 1300), Harl 2110, Kamestona (ib.), Chemestune c. 1145 ib., Chemest 'Hy 2 BM. Professor Zachrisson suggests that in both these names we have an OE pet-name Cemmi for Cēnmǣr . The formation is a regular one. The a -forms represent AN spellings with a for e , while the y is for i , showing the common raising of e to i before front consonants, cf. especially the spelling Bynnyncgwyrðe for Bengeworth supra 95 and Bynsincgtune for Bensington (O) in KCD 625, BCS 547 from the same Cartulary as the Cyme - forms for Kempsey. Hence 'Cemmi's well- watered land.' The discovery of these names and their probable solution suggests that we may also have this pers. name in Kempston (Beds) and that this may furnish a better solution of that name than the one offered in PN BedsHu 75.