KEMSEY, Robert (by 1504-65), of Worfield, Salop and Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1504, 1st s. of Stephen Kemsey of Worfield by Elizabeth, da. of John Brockton of Henley, Salop. m. Isabel, a wid., 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 19 Sept. 1540.2

Offices Held

Commr. sewers Yorks. 1538.3


Of Shropshire origin, Robert Kemsey and his younger brother Simon both migrated to Hull, although for what reason has not been discovered. Robert Kemsey was there by 1536, for it was in his house that William Crockley, the deputy customer of Hull, discussed the outbreak of the Yorkshire rebellion before conferring with the mayor about its suppression; in the following year he was considered, but not chosen, as a member of the jury which tried some of the rebels. His election to the Parliament of 1539 may have owed something to his fellow-Member George Matheson, the prominent merchant who had sat for Hull in the two previous Parliaments, although he is not mentioned in the will which Matheson made in May 1540 while both were attending the third session. It is said that the two Members were paid by the corporation out of the proceeds of the sale of some of its plate, which it had feared to lose in the aftermath of the rebellion. A month before the opening of the third session Kemsey was granted by the augmentations a lease of the Augustinian priory in Blackfriargate, Hull, and this evidently became his residence. He was assessed for subsidy in 1547 on £20 in goods. In 1551 he was deputizing for his brother as bailiff of the Yorkshire lands formerly belonging to Sir William Sidney and he may have continued to do so until Simon Kemsey parted with that office to the Hull corporation in 1564. By 1555 the younger Kemsey had become town clerk of Hull. In September of that year there was a release of all actions between Robert Kemsey and the corporation.4

Kemsey made his will on 26 June 1565. asking to be ‘earthed’ in Trinity churchyard near his daughter Jane. His wife was to hold for life the Blackfriargate property and a rent-charge of £11 8s. arising out of Oakes in Shropshire and payable by Simon Kemsey. She and Kemsey’s son Isaac were to be executors. The will was proved on 6 Oct. 1565.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. E159/319, brev. ret. Mich. r. [1-2].
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/63/41. Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxix), 283-4; York wills 17, f. 484.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xiii.
  • 4. Ibid. xii, xv; T. Gent, Kingston-upon-Hull (1735), 111; E179/203/223; L. M. Stanewall, Cal. Anct. Deeds, Kingston-upon-Hull, D581, 601, 642A, M43.
  • 5. York wills 17, f. 484.