Chapman Commentary

Scope and Content

Chapman was asked to write a commentary on the homiletics of the books of Samuel, Old Testament, for which a critical analysis was completed by the Dean of Canterbury (the Very Revd. Dr. R. Payne Smith). These four volumes contain a manuscript draft of this commentary, which was published as I Samuel: homiletics (with Robert Payne Smith, 1881).

Administrative / Biographical History

The Revd. Charles Chapman (1828-1922) was born in St. Neot's, Huntingdonshire, where his father Thomas was a brewer. He was educated at a private school in St. Neot's, before entering Western College (Congregational) in Plymouth in 1851. He graduated from London University with a Masters degree in 1856, and was subsequently Pastor at Chester (1857-1864), and at Percy Church, Bath (1864-1871). He then became Pastor at the Congregational College in Montreal, Canada, where he was also Professor. He was awarded LL.D. by the University of Montreal during this period (1871-1876). In 1876, he became Principal of Western College, Plymouth, Devon. He was President of the Devon Association of Science in 1881, and was President of the Plymouth Institution from 1883 to 1889. He retired in 1910, and died in Torquay, Devon, in July 1922.

He is the author of the following theological works: Christian membership: a sermon (1843); Matthew Henry, his life and times; a memorial and a tribute (1859); Sorrow and sympathy: a sermon on the occasion of the death of HRH the Prince Consort etc. (1861); The act of uniformity and its immediate effects (1862); The conflict of opinions: an essay (1864); The blessed dead: a sermon on the occasion of the death of the Rev. R. Brindley etc. (1865); Church finance (1865); The peculiarities of divine revelation in its earliest stage, or, Genesis from a modern point of view (1871); I Samuel: homiletics (1881) (with R. Payne Smith); Pre-organic evolution and the biblical idea of God: an exposition and a criticism (1891); The origin of life and consciousness (1891).

Western College, Plymouth, was a congregational non-conformist theological college. It was first established in Ottery St. Mary, Devon, in 1752 as the Western Academy, and was later located at Axminster and Exeter before transferring to Plymouth in 1846. It then merged with the Bristol Theological Institute to become Western College, Bristol (Congregational) in 1891, based at Cotham Hill, Bristol. This institution then merged at a later date with the Northern Congregational College (c 1969).

Conditions Governing Access

Usual EUL arrangements apply.


Biographical information taken from Who was Who.

Other Finding Aids

Not currently listed.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, 4 November 2004, and encoded into EAD on 1 June 2005.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply.

Custodial History

Bound into volumes in Bristol, 1913. Originally formed part of the Hughan Collection (a small collection of books mainly on religious themes, mainly 17th-18th c. deposited at Exeter University Library and now available in Special Collections). The volumes were formally part of the book stock of Torquay Public Library, Devon, to which they were presumably given at some point before or following Chapman's death whilst resident in Torquay.

Related Material

Records of Western College are available in the Northern Congregational College Archives, held at John Rylands University Library Manchester. It is possible that some records relating to Chapman may be contained within these collections.


It is not known whether this collection has been used as the basis for publication.