The Jempsons of Rye

The Jempsons of Rye and East Sussex




This is an attempt to answer ARTHUR WOODGATES article in the JANUARY 2010 edition of’ “RYE’S OWN” with the help from other members of the family THE JEMPSON’S are a large family, now vary widespread across this country and abroad, those that we know of all originate from RIOHARD JEMPSON of Mountfield (Died 1749) & ANNIE GAFFIELD of Whatlington (Died 1733). They were married at Whatlington.

Four generations on we come to’ JONAS JEMPSON (also known as JUDAS) of MOUNTFIELD (Born 1786 Died 1859) who married SARAH HARDING (born 1792) at. BATTLE (Died 1858) They Married at MOUNTFIELD in 1810 and had 11 Chiidren, 6 sons and 5. Daughters. Among the. sons were ARTHUR, born 1811 at MOUNTFIELD, he was a TIMBER HEWER. He Married SARAH TURNER of WESTFIELD in 1833. They had 5. sons, ARTHUR Born 1833, WILLIAM born 1835, CHARLES born 1837, STEPHEN baptised 1839 and JOSHUA born 1844/ 45 .. (More about them later )

One of JONAS & SARAH’S other sons was RICHARD Baptised 1818 at. MOUNTFIELD. He married CHARLOTTE HARVEY in 1837. From them: are descended FRANK JEMPSON: FUNERAL DIRECTOR of BATTE WHO MARRIED EMILY BENEY in 1869, they had a son KENNETH JAMES who died in 1979 319179 and is buried in BATTLE CEMETERY, he continued the business in BATTLE next to the Fire Station of BUILDERS & FUNERAL DIRECTORS. I did meet him once just before he died, he lived ‘over the business’ and showed me where he made the coffins. He. also told me about the 1939/ 45 War when he had to collect the dead bodies of both RAF & GERMANS from the crashed planes and see to them.

FRANK & EMILY also had 5 other sons, CHARLES who died in 1963, RICHARD who went to MARCHESTER, he died in 1940, JAMES went to CANADA and died in 1968, PERCY who went to. the USA, and WILLIAM, born 1881 died 1972 in BRISTOL. William married SARAH FOWLER who also died in 1972. They had a Daughter BRENDA, who worked at the WILL’S cigarette factory in BRISTOL, and whom I have met on several occasions.

Another member of the JEMPSON. FAMILY I have been able to contact is MAURICE JEMPSON born in 1927. He lives at FAREHAM, HANTS and is descended from GEORGE JEMPSON born 1791 died 1879, he was the Brother of JONAS (born 1786). I am in regular contact with MAURICE.

Now to get back to ARTHUR & SARAH of Mountfield and their five sons. JOSHUA was a Shipwright, STEPHEN and WILLIAM I do not know much about, and CHARLES. First born was ARTHUR he married: JANE ELIZABETH STEER, they had. 2 sons HENRY born 1868 and died 1956 and ARTHUR born. 1877 died 1955, plus four daughters MARY born 1867 , ANNIE born 1879, ALICE & JANE.

HENRY married ANNIE CHITTENDEN in 1891. Henry and Annie’s s on GEORGE JEMPSON was to become the founder of Jempson’s Bakery that eventually became JEMPSON’S SUPERSTORE at Peasmarsh.


GEORGE THOMAS JEMPSON, to give. him. his full name, was born’ in 1905 and married WINIFRED GIBE, in 1935, they had three Daughters, MARGARET, MARY, and CATHERINE, and two sons, PHILIP b or n 1 9 4 8 & HAROLD born in 1 9 3 6 Now GEORGE started work at the INTERNATIONAL STORES in. Rye learning the grocery trade at the age of fourteen, he stayed there several years until he went. to Vye’s of East Kent of’ as a holiday relief. and eventually became Manager. He moved on to PIPERS.

GROCERY STORE at Hawkhurst in 1932 and then to Harman’s Bakery where he learnt the bakery business, during this time he met WINNIE and was courting her, she would not marry him until he had his own business. Now we come to 1935 when, with the help of brother PERCY’ (born 1895), who had a BUILDERS & UNDERTAKERS business at Peasmarsh (He also was a shipwright. Harold Jempson. Still to be found at the Peasmarsh Store twice a week at. RYE (see the JUNE , JULY’ &‘ AUGUST 2004 editions of “RYE’S OWN”)

George Jempson. Founder of Jempson's Bakery & Grocery Business
George Jempson. Founder of Jempson’s Bakery & Grocery Business


GEORGE acquired the. business of a small bakery at Peasmarsh, which he turned into. a Grocery and Bakery store.

George & Winnie
George & Winnie


WINNIE soon married GEORGE & within a few months became a working partner, as well am coping with, being a Mother to their two sons and thr ee daughters, so it was not easy for them both, but somehow they managed, even delivering the goods to the community with a van. During the War they had. to cope with the extra ‘burden of rationing. As the children grew older they also helped out in the shop.

GEORGE & WINNIE served the local community for 20 years from. this shop. GEORGE had the ability to recognize the changing social conditions and habits, GEORGE retired in 1968, but WINNIE is still remembered for still filling the shelves into her 80’s.

HAROLD joined the business in the 1950’s after serving in. the RAF for his NATIONAL SERVICE. He helped further the business by introducing MOBILE SHOPS’ delivering grocery and bakery goods to the local area, at it’s peak there were five vans working on the deliveries.

In the 1960’s the business grew even further when MICHAEL BAILEY , HAROLD’S Brother in Law joined, the firm. In 1972 a big decision was taken as a crisis loomed, it was decided to concentrate on the business at Peasmarsh, and, GEORGE’S original shop was developed into a 2,000. sq. feet. SELF SERVICE STORE , business became so brisk that. within, 4 years car parking became a problem, so another bold. decision was taken. By 1979 another 2,000 sq. feet was added.

HAROLD’S SONS STEPHEN & ANDREW were appointed Directors in 1985 & 1991 respectively and. purchased the business in 1995, before this they helped in. the shop in the evenings, Saturdays and. Holidays.

New Picture (12)


In 1997 STEPHEN & ANDREW received permission. for the current 30,000 sq. ft. SUPERSTORE on. the same site chosen by their grandfather GEORGE 62 years earlier. This opened in 2002, and business was expanded by opening Traditional Bakery, Coffee & Tea Shops in RYE, BATTLE & HASTINGS, and now, this year, in BEXHILL & St. LEONARDS (The former Wilson’s Shop in Kings Road) as well as taking over the BUDGENS Stores IN RYE and HAWKHURST, and providing the same personal Family tradition of’ Honesty Good Value & High Standards. Harold. still visits the PEASMARSH STORE twice a week although he is retired. HAROLD, STEPHEN & ANDREW are always willing to listen to customers about. anything.


To Be Continued ..

Rye’s Own September 2010

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