Sir Nicholas Kemys (also spelt Kemes, Kemeys, Kemyse or Kemyshe) was probably born in Monmouthshire in about 1510. He was descended from Stephen de Kemeys who held lands in the southern Welsh Marches, in Monmouthshire in the 1230s.
Kemys graduated from the University of Oxford with a Bachelor of Arts degree in July 1530. He was installed as vicar of South Harting in 1541, where he remained until his resignation in October 1555.
The Episcopal Register of Bishop George Day 1553–1556 reports “On deprivation of Sir Anthony Redshawe, Sir Nicholas Kemyshe collated as clerk” of Cocking. The collation ceremony took place on 11 April 1554.
In 1556, Kemys was installed as rector at Singleton but the following year, he was deprived of both his livings in the Chichester diocese.
He then moved to Cornwall, where on 8 October 1557 he was installed as perpetual vicar of St. Uny’s Church, Lelant near St. Ives, where he remained until he resigned in September 1576.
Note: During the Civil War, a different Sir Nicholas Kemeys, 1st Baronet, was a passionate supporter of King Charles I and was killed in the battle for Chepstow Castle on 25 May 1648.