Mrs Emily Martha KEMPSTER, née Kethro (1872–1937)
St Mary Magdalen section: Row 49, Grave N60

Emily Kempster




Emily Martha Kethro was born at 7 Henley Street, Battersea Park in 1872 and baptised at St Saviour's Church, Battersea on 25 August. She was the daughter of the stonemason Thomas James Kethro and his first wife Louisa Young, who were married in Warwick in the third quarter of 1869.
For more information about her parents, see their separate grave.

Her brother John Kethro was born at 23 Broughton Street in 1874 and was baptised at St Philip's Church, Battersea on 13 September Soon after his birth the family moved to Oxford, and John died there at the age of one near the end of 1875.

Emily's mother Mrs Louisa Kethro died at Cardigan Street, Oxford at the age of 32 in March 1877. Her burial on 1 April 1877 is recorded in the parish register of St Barnabas's Church, suggesting that she too is buried in St Sepulchre's Cemetery

At the time of the 1881 census Emily (8) and her father Thomas (40) were living at 21 Jericho Street, Oxford with Emily's widowed grandmother Martha Ann Kethro (70), who described herself as a retired general shopkeeper.

On 10 December 1882 at St Barnabas's Church, Oxford, Emily's father Thomas James Kethro (42) married his second wife, the widow Mrs Mary Ann Parker (32), the daughter of the veterinary surgeon Edward Boyce and his wife Ann.

At the time of the 1891 census Emily (18), who was now a laundress, was living at 59 Cranham Street with her father, her stepmother Mary, and her half-sister Lottie (7). Next door at No. 60 were Cornelius & Lucy Kempster, and their son Cornelius junior (15), who was already a photographer, was to become Emily's husband. (Cornelius Kempster senior, a tailor, was the son of William Kempster, the brother of Henry Cornelius Kempster.)

Emily's father Thomas James Kethro died on 29 December 1891 at the age of 51 and was buried with his second wife Mary Ann's first husband Colin Parker and her mother Mrs Ann Boyce.

On 14 May 1899 at St Barnabas's Church, Oxford, Emily Martha Kethro (27) married Cornelius Kempster (27), whose father Cornelius Kempster senior had died just weeks earlier. They had three children:

  • Cornelius John T. Kempster (born at 66 Walton Street, Oxford on 15 October 1899 and baptised at St Paul's Church on 3 December)
  • Walter Leslie Kempster (born in Oxford on 5 October 1900 and baptised at St Barnabas's Church on 6 June 1901)
  • Reginald Stanley Kempster (born in Oxford in on 2 February 1907 and baptised at St Barnabas's Church on 17 March).

Emily and Cornelius began their married life at 66 Walton Street, but by 1900 they had moved to Jericho.

At the time of the 1901 census Emily (28) was living at 34 Cranham Street with Cornelius (25), who described himself as a photographer's restorer, and their first two children children Cornelius (1) and Walter (four months).

In 1911 Emily and her husband were still there with their three children Cornelius (11), Walter (10), and Reginald (4).

Emily's husband Cornelius Kempster enlisted to serve in the First World War at the age of 40, and was a Gunner in the Tank Corps: he was one of the first official war photographers in that corps. In 1918 Emily was told he was missing, presumed dead, but later he was discovered to have been captured, and came back home.

Emily Kethro

Cornelius Kempster

Right: Cornelius Kempster's photograph published in the “Heroes of the War” gallery of the Oxford Journal Illustrated on 4 December 1918 (p. 6).



Left: Mrs Emily Martha Kempster, née Kethro:
(reproduced by kind permission of Graham Kempster

Two of their sons were married in the 1920s:

  • In the third quarter of 1922 in the Headington registration district, Cornelius John T. Kempster married
    Vera A. Sturmey
  • On 17 September 1927 at St Frideswide's Church, Oxford, Walter Leslie Kempster (26), a draughtsman of Cranham Street, married Dorothy Lucy Gosling (25), a cashier of 28 Binsey Lane and the daughter of Henry William Gosling, a GWR inspector.

By 1928 Emily and Cornelius Kempster were living at 55 Cranham Street.

Mrs Kempster died in 1937:

† Mrs Emily Martha Kempster née Kethro died at the Radcliffe Infirmary at the age of 64 on 4 January 1937 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 8 January (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

It is unclear why she was buried in the St Mary Magdalen section of the cemetery.

Her third son Reginald was married in 1942:

  • In the first quarter of 1942 in Oxford, Reginald Stanley Kempster married Rhoda D. J. Deane.

Emily's husband Cornelius Kempster was living at 45 Cranham Street in 1945. He died in Oxford at the age of 73 in December 1949, and was cremated.



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