Kemp, Archbishop (via memorial stones index)

(1380-1454) Archbishop of Canterbury (1452-1454) – for more click here

John Kemp (or Kempe) died near Lambeth in 1454. The on-line Catholic Encyclopedia summarises his life thus: “More statesman than bishop, he was accused with reason of neglecting his dioceses, but his private life was distinguished by wisdom, learning and uprightness.”

His tomb chest has been accommodated into the choir screen by dismantling the south entrance to the choir and repositioning the doorway further to the west. His tomb is sited opposite the tomb of his patron and close friend Archbishop Chichele.

Archbishop Kemp’s tomb chest is a simple panelled affair with modest decoration, constructed from panels of Purbeck Marble. It is now sadly lacking an effigy. Overhead is an elaborate canopy with three tall pinnacles surmounted by an elaborate wooden tester (an upper canopy) supported by four shafts. The Friends of Canterbury Cathedral funded a restoration of the tomb in 1947/48. There were 277 carved replacement pieces inserted into the canopy to create a whole. The work was carried out by Harold Board of Wandsworth. The original colour and gilding had been removed some time ago and the canopy had been painted in what was described by Professor Tristram as “stone colour”. Under his supervision the canopy was “enhanced” with gold and colour as part of the restoration.

Tomb of Archbishop Kemp