CHAPLIN, Charles I (1759-1816), of Blankney, Lincs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1802 - 28 Aug. 1816

Family and Education

b. 30 May 1759, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of John Chaplin of Blankney by Lady Elizabeth Cecil, da. of Brownlow Cecil, 8th Earl of Exeter. educ. by Rev. John Skynner at Easton, nr. Stamford 1773; St. John’s, Camb. 1776. m. 1781, Elizabeth, da. and h. of Robert Taylor, MD, of Newark-on-Trent, Notts., 3s. 5da. suc. fa. 1764.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Lincs. 1785-6; recorder, Stamford 1804-d.

Lt.-col. commdt. Lindsey regt. Lincs. militia 1809.


Chaplin featured in the memoirs of Sir Robert Heron* as the worthy, if somewhat stolid, scion of an old county family, whose ‘ignorance on all political subjects was wonderful’.1 In 1802 he was returned unopposed with the encouragement of a member of the government, Lord Hobart, and drew no attention to himself during Addington’s ministry except to take leave of absence, 2 Mar. 1803, to attend the Lincoln assizes. After Pitt’s return to power he was listed a supporter of his in September 1804 and July 1805: apart from a request for patronage, he could not have been more unobtrusive.2 On 23 Jan. 1806 he presented to the House a petition from the insolvent debtors in Lincoln gaol.

Shortly before the election of 1806 Lord Buckinghamshire wrote of him: ‘Chaplin I have little doubt will be a friend to government’, but of his colleague Heathcote added that he was ‘with the present administration’. The premier, however, writing a day later, described Chaplin’s politics as ‘adverse’; and Chaplin subsequently denied that his hostility to Catholic relief in 1807 amounted to turning coat.3 In the ensuing contest for the county he headed the poll and was at pains to deny on the hustings allegations of his absence from an important debate he had gone to town specially to attend. (He had taken leaves of absence 10-19 Mar. and from 20 Apr. 1807.) His seconder described him as ‘the champion of his King and constitution’.

In 1809, as recorder of Stamford on his kinsman Lord Exeter’s interest, Chaplin ushered his son and heir into the House. Their attendance was an unknown quantity.4 He rallied to ministers in January and on 30 Mar. 1810 on the Scheldt inquiry and was then listed ‘Government’ by the Whigs. He was in the government minority on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811. On 26 Mar. he failed to interest the House in the second reading of the Spilsby poor bill. On 24 June he opposed the petition of the radical Peter Finnerty from Lincoln Castle gaol: he defended the gaoler’s counter-petition of 1 July. He later claimed that inquiry into the gaol had vindicated the magistrates (25 June 1812). On 22 June 1812 he voted against Catholic relief. He did so again on 2 Mar., 11 and 24 May 1813 and 21 May 1816. Listed a Treasury supporter after the election of 1812, he voted with ministers on the civil list, 14 Apr., 8 May 1815, and for the property tax, 18 Mar. 1816. On the last occasion he claimed that the county petition against it was contrived and that opinion in Lincolnshire was against neither the proposed military establishment nor the malt tax.

Chaplin died 28 Aug. 1816. Heron described him as

an honourable, virtuous and benevolent man, but he had no head ... his subserviency to ministers made him popular with those who call themselves the loyal party in this county, and his private character was deservedly respected by all.

On the strength of this his heir might have stepped into his shoes at once as county Member, had he thought fit to do so.5

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Heron, Notes (1851), 74.
  • 2. PRO 30/8/122, ff. 55-59.
  • 3. Add. 34457, f. 98; Fortescue mss, Grenville to St. John, 21 Oct. 1806; J. Drakard, A narrative of the procs. at the Stamford election, Feb. 1809, 21.
  • 4. Lonsdale mss, Long to Lonsdale, 21 Mar. [1810].
  • 5. Heron, 74; Gent. Mag. (1816), ii. 377; Add. 38458, f. 204.