CHAPMAN, Henry (by 1556-1623), of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press

Family and Education

b. by 1556,1 1st s. of Oswald Chapman of Newcastle and Marion, da. of Henry Anderson†, grocer and alderman of Newcastle.2 m. (1) Joanna (bur. 2 Oct. 1604) ?s.p.;3 (2) c.1606, Rebecca Garrard, 2da.4 suc. fa. 1566. d. 17 Apr. 1623.5 sig. H[enry] Chapman.

Offices Held

Freeman, Merchant Adventurers’ Co., Newcastle-upon-Tyne by 1577, Clothworkers’ Co., London;6 sheriff, Newcastle 1581-2, alderman by 1586, mayor 1586-7, 1597, 1608-9, 1619-20,7 hostman 1600-d.;8 member, High Commission, York prov. 1605;9 commr. subsidy, Newcastle 1608;10 gov. Merchant Adventurers’ Co., Newcastle 1608, Hostmen’s Co. 1609;11 alderman, London Jan.-Feb. 1611;12 commr. River Tyne conservancy 1618.

Commr. Union 1604.13


Chapman’s father was mayor of Newcastle at Elizabeth’s accession, but died in 1566. Chapman himself had acquired his freedom as a Newcastle Merchant Adventurer by 1577, when he took on his first apprentice, and shortly thereafter he joined the municipal hierarchy, serving as sheriff in 1581-2 and mayor in 1586-7. According to his funeral monument, he also became a freeman of London, joining the Clothworkers’ Company, presumably in order to further his business interests in the metropolis.14 Early in his career he became a shareholder in the Grand Lease of Episcopal Coalmines on the south bank of the Tyne, an interest acquired in 1583 by William Selby† and his cousin Henry Anderson†, who formed a consortium which quickly came to dominate London’s coal supply. In 1595, when this monopoly came under attack from the London corporation, Chapman and Henry Mitford† were sent to put the mine owners’ case to the Privy Council. Chapman was later described as ‘chief counsellor of the grand lessees’ during the municipal wranglings which led to the incorporation of the lessees as the Hostmen’s Company in 1600.15

In a consortium the Hostmen formed for the shipment of coals in 1603, Chapman was allocated a quota of 18,900 tons, around 10 per cent of the annual total, making him one of the largest suppliers on the Tyne. However, the Company’s monopoly was hotly contested by rivals within the town, who sued the Hostmen before the Council in the North for denying membership of their Company to other Newcastle freemen. In July 1603 Chapman and William Jenison* were dispatched to York to contest this suit, but the Council fixed the entry fine for those wishing to become Hostmen at the modest sum of £2 13s. 4d. The dispute was apparently settled on 17 Jan. 1604, when 15 new freemen were admitted to the Company, and at the parliamentary election which took place a few weeks later two Hostmen, Sir George Selby and Chapman, were returned.16

Chapman apparently spoke at the second reading of the drunkenness bill on 27 June 1604, but his words went unrecorded. As a merchant from a major northern port, he was named a commissioner for the Union in 1604, and later signed the Instrument of Union which the commission produced, but he expressed no recorded opinion on this contentious subject.17 The first committee to which he was named (4 Apr. 1604) concerned bills for and against the export of undressed cloth; the latter was sponsored by the London Clothworkers’ Company, but the rival interests cancelled each other out, and neither bill was reported. Another committee to which he was appointed, for a bill to confirm guild and municipal ordinances, had obvious relevance for his constituents (28 Feb. 1606), while a bill confirming Southampton’s ‘foreign bought and sold’ rights had potential implications for a similar privilege claimed at Newcastle (11 May 1607). The Jenison estate bill, which he was appointed to consider on 22 Feb. 1610, concerned the relatives of a fellow Hostman.18 He was named to a number of other committees for bills relating to trades with which he had no known connection.19

Aside from his recorded activity in the Commons, Chapman was active on his constituents’ behalf in other ways. He and Selby presumably opposed a bill to repeal a statute of 1530, under which the Hostmen claimed a monopoly of lading coal on the Tyne, which was rejected on its second reading in the Commons on 30 May 1604, and in 1606 both men successfully petitioned Robert (Cecil†), 1st earl of Salisbury to quash the passage of a similar measure in the Lords.20 In the latter session they also joined with the MPs for Hull and York to promote a bill to confirm a discount on customs for Northern cloth, which had been granted in 1592 but disallowed by the new farmers of the customs. The bill failed in the Lords, but a joint petition to Salisbury secured the restoration of the concession.21

In 1610 Chapman refused to pay the first half of his £25 assessment towards the London Clothworkers’ share of the Ulster Plantation. As two of the Company’s wardens were arrested for failing to produce their full quota, it may have been as a punishment that Chapman was nominated for election as a London alderman in January 1611. Having been chosen, however, he quickly paid a fine to be excused, and appealed against his contribution towards the Plantation.22 Chapman did not serve in Parliament again, being replaced by William Jenison in 1614, and by 1617 his nephew, Henry Chapman junior, had taken over the bulk of the family business. The latter was the chief beneficiary of his will of 7 Sept. 1620, but his wifewas bequeathed half his goods and a life interest in his house. He died on 17 Apr. 1623 and was buried two days later in St. Nicholas, Newcastle.23

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. Assuming minimum age 21 on becoming a freeman.
  • 2. Vis. Northumb. ed. Foster, 59.
  • 3. R. Welford, Hist. Newcastle and Gateshead, iii. 425.
  • 4. Durham UL, DPRI/1/1623/C8/1; Vis. Northumb. 59.
  • 5. Northumbrian Monuments ed. C.H. Hunter Blair (Newcastle-upon-Tyne Recs. Cttee. iv), 49.
  • 6. Ibid. 49; Newcastle Merchant Adventurers ed. F.W. Dendy (Surtees Soc. ci), 212.
  • 7. Northumb. RO, ZAN/M13/B34.
  • 8. Newcastle Hostmen ed. F.W. Dendy (Surtees Soc. cv), 11.
  • 9. HMC Hatfield, xv. 495.
  • 10. SP14/31/1.
  • 11. Northumb. RO, ZAN/M13/B34.
  • 12. A.B. Beaven, Aldermen of London, ii. 52; Northumbrian Monuments, 49.
  • 13. CJ, i. 208a.
  • 14. Northumb. RO, ZAN/M13/B34; Newcastle Merchant Adventurers, 212; Northumbrian Monuments, 49.
  • 15. Newcastle Hostmen, 2-9; CSP Dom. 1595-7, p. 502; J.U. Nef, Rise of Brit. Coal Industry I, 151-4; ii. 119-26; J. Hatcher, Hist. Brit. Coal Industry, i. 514-16.
  • 16. Newcastle Hostmen, 19-27, 49, 243; Hatcher, 517-18.
  • 17. CJ, i. 208a, 319a, 998b.
  • 18. Ibid. 165b, 275b, 372a, 398b; Clothworkers’ Hall, London, ct. orders 1581-1605, f. 233; SR, iv. 1148-9.
  • 19. CJ, i. 213b (hops), 243b (starch), 260b and 293b (cheese), 374a (logwood), 410a (herrings).
  • 20. CJ, i. 208a, 228b; Nef, ii. 128; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 285.
  • 21. Hull RO, L.159-60; Hatfield House, Cecil Pprs. Petition 2070; KINGSTON- UPON-HULL.
  • 22. Clothworkers’ Hall, London, ct. orders 1605-23, ff. 59, 72v; Beaven, ii. 52.
  • 23. Durham UL, DPRI/1/1623/C8/1; Newcastle Hostmen, 63-6; Northumbrian Monuments, 49; Welford, iii. 426.