The Culmer family are believed to have originated from the island of Kulmer, on the south eastern coast of Sweden.
British descendants spell the name with a "C" and seem to have made their fortune in Kent, England, during the 16th century. Other descendants are to be found in North America.
The descendants of Gurth prospered in East Kent and Canterbury, coming into lands that were kept in the family for generations and there were many soldiers and mariners amongst them.
Notable family members included Charles Culmer (14th century), Sir Richard Culmer, and his son, also Richard Culmer.
Reference to the family is found in the pages of a Thanet history book, Mockett's Journal (1836) by John Mockett (1775~1848). Mention is made by Mockett of the will of a Richard Culmer, a carpenter in 1434. Shortly thereafter, in 1440, an archway was built by George Culmer across a track leading down to the sea at what is now Broadstairs, where the first wooden pier or jetty was built in 1460. A more enduring structure was to replace this in 1538.
The Culmers nestled their boatyard on these protected sands. It was in 1538 that the road leading to the seafront, known as Harbour Street, was cut into the rough chalk ground Broadstairs is built upon. This was accomplished by the local shipwright George Culmer. Going further in defence of the town, he built the York Gate in 1540, a portal that still spans Harbour Street, and which then held two heavy wooden doors that could be closed in times of threat from the sea.
A brief outline of the history of Broadstairs Pier is given in Broadstairs, past and present, which mentions a storm in 1767, during which Culmer's work was all but destroyed. At this time it was of considerable importance to the fishing trade with catches as far afield as Great Yarmouth, Hastings, Folkestone, Dover and Torbay and elsewhere being landed. It had become so indispensable that the Corporations of Yarmouth, Dover, Hythe and Canterbury with assistance from the East India Company and Trinity House subscribed to its restoration with a payment of £2,000/~ in 1774.
Their 'Culmer-White' shipyard at Broadstairs closed in 1824 (under pressure from the steamships) and moved to the Isle of Wight (where the firm of J. Samuel White became established)
Categories: Swedish families | English families | American families | People from Kent