Many thanks to Doug Nicholson (





There are Kendalls found all over England and whilst the Cumbrian town of Kendal is old, it is not likely that the Kendalls originated from there as possibly was imagined.


The starting point for the research was the old naval seaport of Plymouth in Devon, much famed for Sir Francis Drake�s historic game of bowls prior to his sailing to defeat the ill-fated Spanish Armada in 1588, and the later departure point for the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed to North America.


However, Ernest Saw Kendall, who was born in 1875, the second son of Benjamin Burn Kendall, who himself was born in Padstow Cornwall, arrived in Port Elizabeth in approximately 1900.

The Kendall story really starts as far back as the 14th Century, possibly even earlier, certainly during the earlier years of the Norman occupation.

The name �Kendall� is in fact derived from �king�. Whether this is Norman, Saxon, or even Cornish is not clear. Whatever the origin, the Kendalls we are tracing, are of Cornish origin.

Over the centuries there are three branches � Fishermen, Farmers and �Gentlemen of Means�. The latter were probably landowners with farming connections.

The Kendalls of South Africa � Norman Kendall�s line, are direct descendants from the �Gentlemen of Means�.


Although the Kendall story began in the �mists of time�, and there certainly have been Kendalls in Cornwall at least as far back as the 14th century, we shall begin a family tree in the middle of the 18th century, where the Burn Kendalls actually started.  This is where Benjamin Burn, a farmer from Padstow, on the Northern coast of Cornwall, married a Rebekah Kendall at Padstow on 10th October 1784. It is likely that they were both born in the late 1750�s or early 1760�s.

When looking at these old records the following should be borne in mind:

1)       The eldest son was usually named after the father.

2)       In better class families the wife�s maiden name often preceded her husband's surname.

3)       At that time it was legally permissible for first cousins to marry.

Only one child can be traced to the Burn/Kendall marriage, a son Benjamin, born in Padstow in 1788.

Sadly, the father Benjamin Burn died early, it would seem, suggesting that he may have been much older than his wife Rebekah.

Rebekah then married William Kendall of Crantock, Cornwall, on the 3rd April 1793, according to the marriage records of that time.  Crantock being just along the coast from Padstow.

William Kendall would automatically have adopted Benjamin Burn, who was henceforth known as Benjamin Burn Kendall.

Whilst William and Rebekah Kendall had a son, Edward, born in 1799, we have not been able to identify any other children from that marriage. It is likely that the union of the Burn and Kendall families created a comfortably wealthy land owning or farming situation.


Benjamin Burn Kendall married a lady called Elizabeth from St Columb nearby, but there is no trace of any children.  He died in St Austell in 1863.

Edward Kendall, his half brother, married a lady called Tabitha on the 28th February 1831, in Mevagissy on the South Cornwall coast, about 30 miles away. Tabitha was born in Mevagissy in 1798.


Edward and Tabitha Kendall settled there and had four children between 1833 and 1840:  Margaret, Benjamin Burn , Edward and Annie.

Edward Kendall senior, who was listed as a gentleman of �private means�, died in Truro in 1870.

It is significant that his eldest son was named Benjamin Burn Kendall, which would tend to confirm that his elder half brother had no children.

Benjamin Burn Kendall, being the eldest son of William Kendall, it is likely that he would continue to farm the family land. (Possibly a check of wills and deeds could reveal what happened to the lands.)

Both Benjamin Burn and Edward Kendall went into �Trade� and became wholesale drapers, probably importing some materials.

Benjamin Burn married Mary Saw in 1867. Mary was born in Hammersmith, West London in 1847, and had moved to Teignmouth Devon, when she was a young child. Her father, Joseph, from Deptford Kent, was a grocer and tea trader. Later Joseph moved to Plymouth where he continued to trade in tea, before retiring.


Benjamin Burn Kendall, had in the meantime moved to Plymouth, where he set up a wholesale drapery business.  He and his wife Mary Saw had seven children � Four boys - Benjamin Burn,, Ernest Saw, Jack and Leonard, - and three daughters.

Benjamin Burn Kendall followed his parents into the drapery business and married in 1892.

Ernest Saw Kendall, some seven years younger, and being the second son, was more adventurous, and joined the merchant navy, sailing the seven seas in search of adventure.

He arrived in Port Elizabeth after the Boer War had started, left his ship, and made his way to Durban. Here he joined the militia, probably the Durban Mounted Rifles, where he saw service in the Free State and later in World War 1, fighting in South West Africa against the Germans.

Ernest Saw Kendall�s father Benjamin Burn Kendall, had died in 1891 and the drapery business continued being run by his wife Mary Saw Kendall, his eldest son Benjamin Burn Kendall, and his other children.

Edward Kendall, Ernest�s uncle (born in 1835) had also started a wholesale drapery business; married a lady called Annie, and moved to Moseley in the Midlands, where they too, had seven children.

Eventually Edward retired and returned to Cornwall where he died at Truro in 1870, aged 71.

Ernest Saw Kendall, it would seem, had an interesting life in South Africa in the militia, embracing two wars.  He married Mary Rigg Faulds 1906. Mary came from Whitehaven in Cumbria England. 

Note � Further research on Ernest Saw may be possible.) 

Ernest died in Durban in 1956, aged 81. His surviving son,  Stanley Armstrong Kendall (a brother of Norman Duncan Kendall who died in infancy), married Eunice Field Greene in 1947 and their only child, Norman Arthur Kendall, born in 1948, survives to this day, about to retire as a police superintendent, after 30 years of service.


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