CHAPLIN, Thomas (1794-1863), of 52 Welbeck Street, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1826 - 1831
1832 - 26 Apr. 1838

Family and Education

b. 17 Apr. 1794, 3rd s. of Charles Chaplin† (d. 1816) of Blankney, Lincs. and Elizabeth, da. and h. of Robert Taylor, MD, of Newark, Notts.; bro. of Charles Chaplin*. educ. Harrow 1806-9. m. 21 Oct. 1828, Millicent Mary, da. of William Reeve of Leadenham House, Lincs. s.p. d. 10 May 1863.

Offices Held

Ensign 2 Ft. Gds. 1811, lt. and capt. 1814, capt. and lt.-col. 1826; col. army 1841; maj. 2 Ft. Gds. 1846, lt.-col. 1848; ret. 1851.


Chaplin served with the Coldstream Guards in the Peninsula and was severely wounded during the assault on San Sebastián in 1813, for which he received a pension and the war medal with one clasp. He subsequently saw action in the Netherlands and the south of France. At the 1826 general election he came forward for Stamford as the nominee of its patron, the 2nd marquess of Exeter, who had returned his elder brother Charles, 1809-12. He declared himself a ministerialist and boasted of his family connection with the corporation and his brother’s past services, but he was vilified by John Drakard, editor of the Stamford News, for his ‘municipal subserviency’. On the hustings he stated his opposition to Catholic emancipation. He was returned unopposed with Exeter’s brother Lord Thomas Cecil. That August he purchased a lieutenant-colonelcy.1

Chaplin voted against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828. He divided for the spring guns bill, 23 Mar. 1827. He was in the minorities against revision of the corn laws, 2 Apr., the disfranchisement of Penryn, 7 June, and the Coventry magistracy bill, 18 June. It was probably he, rather than his brother, now the county Member, who presented the Stamford petition for agricultural relief, 2 Apr. 1827.2 He presented petitions against repeal of the Test Acts, 18, 21, 26 Feb. 1828, when he voted accordingly. He presented one from Horncastle against the Malt Act, 26 Feb. He divided against ordnance reductions, 4 July 1828. In late February 1829 Planta, the Wellington ministry’s patronage secretary, listed him as one of the ‘doubtful’ Members on the Catholic question, but he voted steadily against the concession of emancipation the following month. He divided against the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. 1830. He presented two petitions against the Leeds and Selby railway bill, 19 Mar. He voted against Jewish emancipation, 17 May, abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June, and the sale of beer bill, 1 July. He presented Stamford petitions against the northern roads bill, 3, 7 June, and one from Gainsborough for repeal of the stamp duty on receipts, 5 July 1830.

At the 1830 general election Chaplin offered again for Stamford. Responding to a local challenger, he denied that he had stooped to coercion or ‘oppressed the voters’ and defended his conduct in the House, claiming that he had ‘nearly as often voted against the ministry’ as his opponent had voted for them. He was returned after a contest.3 Ministers listed him among their ‘friends’, but he was absent from the division on the civil list which brought them down, 15 Nov. 1830. He voted against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. At the ensuing general election he stood again for Stamford as an opponent of the bill, but after a two-day poll conceded victory to his former opponent, a reformer. The Stamford Mercury acknowledged his private virtues but deplored his connection with a ‘system of political usurpation’ inconsistent with the ‘liberal feelings’ of the townsmen. A subscription in his honour raised over £200 and he was presented with a silver soup tureen which he later mentioned in his will.4 Chaplin headed the poll at Stamford in 1832 and sat there as a Conservative until his resignation in April 1838, following the posting of his regiment to North America in the aftermath of the rebellions in Canada. He retired from the army and sold his regimental rank in 1851 and died a widower in May 1863. By his will, dated 20 Apr. 1838, his property was divided between his nephews Nevile Fane and Edward Chaplin.5

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Authors: Simon Harratt / Philip Salmon


  • 1. Drakard’s Stamford News, 26 May, 16 June; The Times, 27 May, 5 June 1826.
  • 2. The Times, 3 Apr. 1827.
  • 3. Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury, 23 July, 6 Aug.; The Times, 2 Aug. 1830.
  • 4. Stamford Herald, 29 Apr., 27 May, 17 June; The Times, 3, 4 May; Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury, 6 May 1831.
  • 5. Gent. Mag. (1863), i. 808; Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury, 15 May 1863.