It is thought that Sir James Kempt was born between December 1763 and December 1764.
Though little is known about his early life, he came to prominence through his military career which included fighting at the battle of Waterloo. He secured a number of British and foreign decorations and followed many Wellingtonian officers into post-war colonial service.
In 1819 he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia and his career reached its peak in North America when he was appointed Governor-in-Chief in 1828. However, Kempt resigned his post in 1830 and returned to England where he was appointed Master General of the Ordnance until 1835, after which he retired from public life.
Sir James Kempt died in London in 1854.