Kemp (or Kempe), John

Kemp (or Kempe), John a distinguished Anglican prelate and statesman, was born at Olanteigh, in the parish of Wye, County-Kent. He went to school at Canterbury; became a fellow of Merton College, Oxford, and graduated in laws; but confined his practice to canon law; and in 1418 was employed as a military man, to hold musters at Caen, and to inspect troops. The first dignity to which he was called was the archdeaconry of Durham; it does not appear when he was appointed, but he was in possession of it in 1419. In January of the same year Kemp was elected to the see of Rochester. The following year Henry V made him keeper of his privy seal; and within two years he was, nominated chancellor of the duchy of Normnandy. He was translated to the see of Chichester, February 28, 1421; was again translated, and sat as bishop of London, November 17 of the same year. On his appointment as a member of the council, which took place immediately after the accession of Henry VI, Kemp resigned the great seal of Normandy. He was sent, in May 1423, with a letter from the council, int the king's name, to the duke of Bedford, regent of France; and was also commissioned to thank the regent, in the name of the king, for his diligence and service in the government of France and Normandy. In February 1424, he was sent to the marches of Scotland, to treat for the release of the king of Scots. About a month before his translation to the see of York, which occurred in 1426, Kemp was appointed to succeed Beaufort as lord high chancellor of England, which office he retained six years, and then retired on the plea of ill-health. He resumed this office, however, in 1450. In 1433 he was chosen to represent the Church of England at the Council of Basle; he was also in the year following at the head of an embassy to France, and again in 1439. In the latter year Kemp was created cardinal-priest, with the title of St. Balbina. He established a college at Wye as early as 1431. He enjoyed many important positions up to 1452, when he was appointed archbishop of Canterbury, July 21. Kemp attended to his duties faithfully tothe last. He died suddenly, February 24, 1454. See Hook, Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury, 5:188 sq.

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