CHAPPLE, William (c.1676-1745), of Upwey, nr. Dorchester, and Wonersh, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



13 Feb. 1723 - June 1737

Family and Education

b. c.1676, 2nd s. of John Chapple of Upwey. educ. M. Temple 1694, called 1709. m. 1710, Trehane, da. and eventually h. of Susannah Clifton of Wonersh, niece and h. of Richard Gwinne of Wonersh, 4s. 2da. Kntd. 14 May 1729.

Offices Held

Serjeant-at-law 1724; c.j. Carnarvon, Merioneth and Anglesey 1729; King’s serjeant 1729; justice of King’s bench 1737-d.


Sir William Chapple, a distinguished lawyer of a Dorset family, was cousin and executor of Governor Thomas Pitt.1 He was returned on petition as a Whig for Dorchester in 1723 ‘chiefly through the favour and influence of’2 the Duke of Newcastle, who continued to support him in 1727 and 1734, when there was a compromise with the Tory lawyer John Browne. According to the 1st Earl of Egmont, when Chapple was first introduced into the House, Arthur Onslow, the future Speaker, ‘taking him by the hand, said aloud, so as many at a distance heard it, that one of the honestest men in England was come to sit among us.’ In Parliament he voted for the Administration on the civil list arrears, 1729, and the army, 1732, but absented himself on the excise bill, 1733. On 24 Apr. 1732 he seconded James Oglethorpe in opposing the bill for voiding the contracts for the sale of the forfeited Derwentwater estates, speaking

with so much heat in favour of the commissioners and purchasers both, and against bills of this sort on any occasion, as gave a bad impression of his parts, and the Speaker [Onslow] could not but smile, though his friend.3

He vacated his seat in 1737 on appointment as a high court judge. Before the 1741 election in Surrey Sir Henry Vincent wrote to Walpole that ‘Sir William Chapple ... is inclinable ... to serve Lord Baltimore unless fixed by you in my interest.’4 He died 15 Mar. 1745, aged 68.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: R. S. Lea


  • 1. HMC Fortescue, i. 55, 85.
  • 2. Chapple to Newcastle, 27 Mar. 1734, Add. 32689, f.174.
  • 3. HMC Egmont Diary, i. 261.
  • 4. 28 Jan. 1741, Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss.