Kemp Surname Origin
In old English, a soldier, one who engaged in single combat. The name Kemp is derived from the Saxon word to kemp, or combat, which in Norfolk is retained to this day; a foot-ball match being called a camping or kemping; and thus in Saxon a Kemper signifies a combatant, a champion, a man-at-arms. In some parts of Scotland the striving of reapers in the harvest-field is still called kemping.
Source: An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import; Arthur, William, M.A.; New York, NY: Sheldon, Blake, Bleeker & CO., 1857.
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