CHAPMAN, William.

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


of Bath, Som. s. of Richard Chapman, alderman of Bath. m. (1) Edith (bur. 13 May 1599), s.p.; (2) by 1612, Dorothy (bur. 27 June 1626), 1da. d.v.p. suc. fa. 1572. d. 20 Oct. 1627.1

Freeman, Bath, Som. ?1578, alderman by 1593-d., mayor and coroner 1593-4.2


of Bath. o. s. of John Chapman of Bath, gent. and da. of one Horton of Wilts. m. 5 Jan. 1598, Joan (bur. 25 July 1643), da. of John Webb of Bromham, Wilts. 5s. 5da. (3 d.v.p.). d. 16 June 1647.3

Freeman, Bath, Som. ?1605,4 alderman by 1616-d., mayor and coroner 1616-17, 1623-4, 1630-1, 1639-40, 1641-2.;5 ?churchwarden, St. Peter and St. Paul, Bath, Som. 1630-1;6 commr. subsidy, Bath, Som. 1641.7

Offices Held


The Chapmans were among the most prominent and numerous families in early modern Bath: Alderman Richard Chapman (d.1580) was returned for the city in 1553; John Chapman served twice as mayor under Elizabeth; and Walter Chapman held the mayoralty three times under James.8 However, the size of the family and their frequent use of the same Christian names make it difficult to disentangle the relationships between them. The Bath Abbey registers reveal that there were at least three William Chapmans resident in Bath in the 1620s, distinguishable by their wives’ names. It is probable that the 1626 Member was an alderman, like his colleague Richard Gay. Consequently, the William Chapman, glover, who died in 1646 is unlikely to have been the Member, as there is no evidence that he held civic office, although he may have been the man who served as churchwarden in 1630-1.9

The other two William Chapmens were both aldermen of Bath by 1623.10 One, described as both the elder or senior, was buried on 23 Oct. 1627, three days after his death, in Bath Abbey, where an inscription states that he served one term as mayor. He was presumably therefore the man of that name who was mayor in 1593-4.11 No will or grant of administration has been found. The other, possibly the nephew of William Chapmen the elder,12 was a mercer.13 He is perhaps more likely to have been the 1626 Member than his namesake, having served as mayor only two years previously, and was presumably therefore more active in the corporation at the time of the 1626 election. He survived until June 1647 and was buried, in accordance with his wishes, in Bath Abbey on 1 July, where a monument was erected, stating that he had served five terms as mayor.14 The latter drafted his will on 17 Mar. 1647, in which he left money for the poor of Bath and repair of the Abbey church; a codicil was added on 12 June 1647. Evidently wealthy, he left property in Bath, rural Somerset and Wiltshire, together with over £2,000 in cash bequests and his ‘shop book and all such debts … as … shall be therein … due … for wares’.15 The Member for Bath in 1626 left no trace on the parliamentary records. No further member of the family sat in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Ben Coates


  • 1. R. Rawlinson, Hist. and Antiqs. of Cathedral Church of Salisbury, and Abbey Church of Bath (1719), p. 261; Abbey Church of SS. Peter and Paul, Bath ed. A.J. Jewers (Harl. Soc. Reg. xxvii-xxviii), 337, 344.
  • 2. Accts. of Chamberlains of Bath, 1568-1602 ed. F.D. Wardle (Som. Rec. Soc. xxxviii), 37, 133; Abbey Church of SS. Peter and Paul, Bath, 352.
  • 3. Vis. Som. and Bristol (Harl. Soc. n.s. xi), 19; Abbey Church of SS. Peter and Paul, Bath, 21, 204, 347, 362; PROB 11/205, ff. 342-5; A Wood, ‘Monumental inscriptions in the churches of Bath’ ed. J.G. Godwin Misc. Gen. et Her. n.s. iv. 32.
  • 4. Bath RO, chamberlains’ accts transcript, i. no. 46.
  • 5. Bath RO, mayoral list transcript; Abbey Church of SS. Peter and Paul, Bath, 366.
  • 6. Abbey Church of SS. Peter and Paul, Bath, 28.
  • 7. SR, v. 89.
  • 8. HP Commons 1509-58, i. 622-3; Abbey Church of SS. Peter and Paul, Bath, 330; Bath RO, mayoral list transcript.
  • 9. Abbey Church of SS. Peter and Paul, Bath, 17, 365.
  • 10. Vis. Som. (Harl. Soc. xi), 129.
  • 11. Abbey Church of SS. Peter and Paul, Bath, 352; Rawlinson, 265.
  • 12. Vis. Som. and Bristol, 20
  • 13. Abbey Church of SS. Peter and Paul, Bath, 15.
  • 14. Wood, 32.
  • 15. PROB 11/205, ff. 342-5.