a surname evidently derived from trade, as chapman is the old Saxon word
for a small trader, a dealer in petty wares, or more properly a pedlar.
Burns, in the commencement of Tam O’Shanter, says,
“When Chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neighbours neighbours meet.”
It was the name of
an English poet, who was contemporary with Shakspeare and Spencer.
CHAPMAN, or CHEPMAN,
the first person who introduced printing into Scotland (about 1507), is
supposed to have held some respectable office in the household of King
James the Fourth. He was a citizen of wealth and importance, and in his
titles is styled Walter Chepman de Everland. That his office was not of
an ecclesiastical character is proved by the fact that his wife, Agnes
Coburn, is mentioned in the same titles, and he consequently was not
bound by vows of celibacy. His name is frequently mentioned in the
Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, inserted in the
Appendix to Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials. On the 21st February
1496 there is the following item: “Giffen to a boy to rynne fra
Edinburgh to Linlithg. to Watte Chepman, to signet two letteris to pas
to Woddis, 12d.”
1503, on occasion of the king’s marriage, in a list which is titled “Pro
Servitoribus,” there is an entry “for five elne Inglis claith to Walter
Chepman, ilk elne, 34s.” “Chepman,” says Mr. Pitcairn, “was an extensive
merchant and burgess of Edinburgh, as well as the earliest Scottish
printer.” From a grant under the privy seal, dated September 15, 1507,
printed in the first volume of Blackwood’s Magazine, it appears that it
was at the special request of King James that Walter Chepman, and his
partner, Andro Millar, also a merchant and burgess, were induced to set
up a printing press in Edinburgh; and, for their encouragement, the king
conferred upon them the sole privilege of “imprenting within our Realme
of the bukis of our Lawis, actis or Parliament, croniclis, mess bukis,
and portuus efter the use of our Realme, with addicions and legendis of
Scottish sanctis, now gaderit to be ekit tharto, and al utheris bukis
that salbe sene necessar, and to sel the sammyn for competent pricis.”
In the Treasurer’s Accounts there is a payment entered under date
December 22, 1507,
of fifty shillings, for “three prentit bukes to the king, tane fra Andro
Millaris wyff.” the printing office of Chapman and Millar, the first
printers in Scotland, appears to have been in the Cowgate, then called
the South gaitt, near to what is now King George the Fourth’s Bridge.
This appears from the imprint on the rare edition of “The Knightly Tale
of Golagros and Gawane,” and others of the earliest issues from their
press in the year 1508.
1509, we find Chapman asserting his patent against “Wilyiam Frost,
Francis Frost, William Sym, Andro Ross, and divers uthers, merchandis
within the brugh of Edingurgh,” for having infringed it, by importing
books into Scotland contrary to the privilege granted to him by the
king; and the lords of council accordingly prohibited these parties, and
all others, from encroaching on his right in future. “It affords
evidence,” says Wilson, in his Memorials of Edingurgh, (Vol. i.
p. 30) “of the success that attended the printing press immediately on
its introduction, that in the year 1513, Walter Chepman founded a
chaplainry at the altar of St. John the Evangelist, on the southern side
of St. Giles’ church, and endowed it with an annuity of twenty-three
marks.” A set of works produced by Chapman and Millar are preserved in
the Advocates’ library. We learn from a passage in the Traditions of
Edinburgh, that Walter Chapman, on 12th August 1528, founded
another chaplainry at the altar in the chapel of Holyrood, in the Nether
Kirkyard of St. Giles’, and endowed it with his tenement in the Cowgate.
The year of his death is not known, but there is good reason for
believing that he was interred in the south transept of St. Giles’
A list of the
works printed by Chapman and Millar, some of which are very rare, will
be found in Watt’s Bibliotheca Britannica.
author of some educational works, was born at the farm of Little
Blacktown, in the parish of Alvah, Banffshire, in August 1723. At King’s
college, Aberdeen, he obtained a bursary by competition, which enabled
him to study there for four seasons. He was afterwards appointed master
of the parish school of Alvah. In 1747 he became assistant in Mr. John
Love’s school in Dalkeith. In 1751 he removed to Dumfries as
joint-master of the grammar school there, in which situation he
continued for twenty years. Having acquired some wealth, he was induced,
from the increase in the number of pupils who boarded in his house to
relinquish the school; but finding that his success in this line injured
the prospects of his successor, he generously gave up his
boarding-school, quitted Dumfries and went to reside on his native farm
in Banffshire, where he kept a small academy. Being invited by the
magistrates of Banff to superintend the grammar school of that town, he
converted it into an academy. He finally removed to Edinburgh, where,
for some years, he carried on business as a printer. His treatise on
Education appeared in 1782. He also published some smaller works on the
same subject. Dr. Chapman died February 22, 1806. – His works are:
A Treatise on
Education, with a Sketch of the Author’s Method of Instruction, while he
taught the School of Dumfries; and a View of other Books on Education.
Edin. 1773, 8vo. Lond. 1774, 1790. 5th edit. Lond. 1792, 8vo.
Hints on the
Education of the Lower Ranks of the People, and the appointment of
a Classical Education, &c.
of Mr. Ruddiman’s Rudiments and Latin Grammar.
Tracts, viz. Colloghon Bengalense; a Latin Poem, with an English
Translation, and a Dissertation, &c. Edin. 1805, 12mo.