Kemble, John (1599?-1679) (DNB00)

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KEMBLE, JOHN (1599?–1679), Roman catholic priest, born about 1599, appears to have been son of George Kemble of Longford, Herefordshire. He was ordained priest at Douay 23 Feb. 1625, and on 4 June was sent on the mission in Herefordshire. In 1678, at the time of the Popish plot, he was seized at Pembridge Castle, Herefordshire, where he was living as chaplain to the Scudamore family. He was tried at Hereford, convicted as having said mass at Pembridge, and executed at Widemarsh Common, near the town, 22 Aug. 1679; he was buried at Welsh Newton churchyard. There is a tradition that he smoked a pipe on the way to execution. His hand is kept in the sacristy at the church of St. Francis Xavier, Hereford, and a piece of linen dipped in his blood is at Downside. Pilgrimages were made to the grave, and miracles were, it is asserted, wrought there. Charles Kemble [q. v.], who claimed to be the priest's great-grand-nephew, paid a visit to the churchyard with Mrs. Siddons, and some verses on the occasion were subsequently printed in the ‘Lamp,’ iii. 53, 26 July 1851.

[Gillow's Bibl. Dict. of the English Catholics, iii. 685; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. iii. 425, 502, 2nd ser. iii. 444, 3rd ser. ii. 44, 92, 192, 238.]

W. A. J. A.