So That’s Why I Like a Fight!!!


Did my ancestors wear one of these I thought to myself after a third gin and tonic on the train home!!

One of the problems with spending a lot of time on the train, as I did during July, was that I am totally disinclined to do any work on the train home from London. I normally read, do the crossword or talk to anyone I am sharing table with but I recently had to invest in a new light weight laptop when my  I-Pad died on me. I also invested in a dangly thing which enables me to turn on to the Internet wherever I am, subject to tunnels etc. This means that I have been spending lot of time looking at things which aren’t terribly important and many which were not important at all.

My eye chanced upon a tweet offering to tell you the meaning of your name. So in for a penny etc. I double clicked and this is what I found!


The meaning of the name Kemp


English, Scottish, Dutch, and North German: status name for a champion, Middle English and Middle Low German kempe. In the Middle Ages a champion was a professional fighter on behalf of others; for example the King’s Champion, at the coronation, had the duty of issuing a general challenge to battle to anyone who denied the king’s right to the throne. The Middle English word corresponds to Old English cempa and Old Norse kempa ‘warrior’; both these go back to Germanic campo ‘warrior’, which is the source of the Dutch and North German name, corresponding to High German Kampf. Dutch: metonymic occupational name for someone who grew or processed hemp, from Middle Dutch canep ‘hemp’.


I am not sure that I particularly liked the second derivation of the name. I have never grown hemp for licit or illicit purposes but the first derivation – the idea of being a professional champion really floated my boat! Now it is of course possible that all the derivations of names given are complimentary as I suspect that if I had looked further the tweet was to entice me into a genealogical service or something like that. I suspect that I would definitely not have been so interested or proud if the derivation went; Kemp derived from the old Saxon Kempa the term for a toilet cleaner!

But it didn’t. The derivation appealed to my sense of self-importance! I like to think of myself as a fighter for people in need. A champion not of the king at a Coronation but of people fighting against injustice. I think of myself more as a Knight in shining armour speaking for the poor and rescuing damsels in distress than a doughty defender of the establishment!

By the time I had consumed my second Gin and Tonic I had sunk into a deeper reverie in which I floated to myself the very possible idea of the armour, the horse, although I have to admit I don’t like horses, the damsels, the castles that needed knocking down the dastardly sheriffs who needed robbing of the wealth they had gained from the poor.

By the third gin I was on my horse outside the Cunard challenging the Mayor of Liverpool to a duel on behalf of the people of Liverpool with my heralds blowing trumpets and presenting him a glove of challenge! Of course, my dream didn’t take me as far as the duel itself because by then the train had taken me as far as Lime Street. Of course, I hadn’t got off at Edge Hill (be warned outsiders – that’s a Scouse joke!) but had gone all the way.

So why I have a written an entirely pointless and hopefully mildly amusing blog which will bring sarcastic comments from my many Internet trolls? Well it’s because I have looked at all my recent blogs and decided that they were very, very serious. Of course, much of my life is spent dealing with the maladministration going on inside Liverpool. We have a poorly run, poorly led Council up their necks in property deals which are beyond them and legal issues to which they cannot respond.

But there must be more to life than that. Hence a frivolous blog. Normal service will be resumed next week!!

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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