The Twickenham Museum
People : Builders

Edward Chapman II
Bricklayer - Builder
1738 - 1800

Knowle House, built by Edward Chapman 1791/2

The second of four generations so named, Edward Chapman first appears in 1764 in the Rate Assessments for that year, described as "Mr Chapman the bricklayer", perhaps to distinguish him from "Mr Chapman the Gardiner" next in the list and also for the first time but with a query against his name. This may have been his father, also Edward. By 1767, in the Churchwardens' Accounts they have become "Chapman Edward" having acquired Freeman's land, and Chapman 'Gardiner', still with a query and no assessment.

Edward Chapman I (c1708-96), the father, appears to have settled in Twickenham with his son, late in life. It is probable that he came from Chertsey where, in 1741 an 'Edward Chapman senr, bricklayer' received £5 by the Will of Sir William Perkins. Sir William Perkins knew Twickenham, having earlier been a tenant of the Twickenham Manor estate. He had employed Edward Reeves of Twickenham to build the charity school that he endowed in Chertsey in 1725.

When Edward I died he was buried in the Holly Road graveyard where there is a table tomb recording this (aged 86) and the burials of a number of the family after him. His actual burial record in St Mary's registers notes his age as 88 at death. There is no record of his baptism or marriage. So far as Twickenham is concerned he was the first of four generations of Chapmans, all named Edward.

The slab on the tomb notes the death of his son Edward II on 4 January 1800 aged 62 and this burial is confirmed by the register for St Mary's (12 January 1800) where he is described as Mr Edward Senr (indicating a third Edward). It is probably he who was an Overseer of the Poor in 1767/8 and a Churchwarden in 1780 and 1781, although his father was still alive at these times. He married Rebecca, who died after him and was buried on 13 October 1806. There were three recorded children of the union: Rebecca (baptised 15 Feb 1764), Edward (29 May 1765) and Joshua (16 June 1768). Rebecca married Edward Jenkins of Chobham in 1787.

(The burial of a Rebecca Chapman is recorded both on 10 January 1781 and 9 February 1786, but their relationship, if any, has not been identified)

The slab also notes the burial of Edward II's son Joshua in 1835 aged 67 and this too is recorded in the registers. He had been an Overseer of the Poor in 1796/7 and a Churchwarden in 1805. He married Elizabeth who was buried on 20 October 1836.

Edward III served as Churchwarden in 1798 and 1799. He married Anne in some other parish and seven children were born to them between 1793 and 1801. Only one of these was a boy: Edward, baptised on 1 August 1794, the 4th Edward of the dynasty.

An Edward Chapman was connected with the Reeves and Davies families in Twickenham. He was an executor for the will of Simon Reeves, a bricklayer, who died in 1784 and his widow, Thomasin Reeves who died in 1795. Given the dates, this Edward, who was described as a bricklayer in the will, could have been any one of the first three Edwards, although it is probable that he was the second. Samuel Davies was a butcher connected with Simon Reeves and both families had premises in Church Street although Simon and Thomasin had lived down in Cross Deep next to Alexander Pope.

A property to the north of Twickenham Green is listed on the 1818 Enclosure Award (entry no268) as owned by Edward & Joshua Chapman: House, Garden & Coach House, 0-1-31, Copyhold of Isleworth Syon. At that time Knowle Road, leading to the house, from The Green was named Chapman's Road: the brothers also owned a tract of land on the west side of the road. The house is marked on Warren's map of 1846 and listed as owned (or occupied) by "Messrs Chapman". The house later took the name Knowle House as did the road, and stands there today.

The Will of Edward Chapman II shows that he built this house in 1791/2 and that he moved into it, probably dying there in 1800. He appears to have acquired the land in about 1786 being, that year, rated for 'Garden on the Common'. By 1789 this had become 'Garden, Coach House & Stables on the Common' and it is possible that he built the premises to house the 'riding horses, chariots and tack' described in his will of 1792.

The Will of the 2nd Edward Chapman

Edward Chapman wrote his Will on 25 October 1792, in his own hand. The first bequest, of £200 was to his son-in-law Edward Jenkins of Chobham, who had married his daughter Rebecca on 22 September 1787. Next was the bequest of a freehold house in Chobham which he had bought from the executors of Edward Jenkins' father, also Edward. This was to go to his infant grandson, yet another Edward, Jenkins. His other infant grandson, Arthur Jenkins was remembered with £50 and some personal items. All his wearing apparel went to his brother Henry Chapman. His son Joshua was given £200 and his riding horses, chariots and tack, he being “not so well off for money as his brother Edward”. The remainder of his property was left jointly to Edward and Joshua with the proviso that “they permit my dear wife Rebecca Chapman to live in the new house on Twickenham Common which I am now finishing…”

The Will continues in some detail with a number of contingencies and provisos, and many alterations. There is a further reference to Joshua's situation when he arranges for his wife to give “Twenty Pounds per Annum…to my son Joshua Chapman which I give by reason of his business being so much inferior to his brother Edward's”. On 10 November 1798 he added an unwitnessed codicil substituting one shilling for the £200 bequest to his son-in-law. There may have been a falling-out. Both this and the numerous alterations in the body of the will needed a lengthy affidavit in support and for the granting of probate. It received this on 20 January 1800, only eight days after his burial, which was pretty fast work.

The Wills of Joshua Chapman, Builder, of Twickenham and Elizabeth, his wife

Edward's son Joshua wrote a Will consisting of a single paragraph, bequeathing £500 to his brother Edward III and all his estate to his wife Elizabeth. It was written on 18 May 1826 and proved on 27 August 1835. He had been buried on 29 May that year. Edward III had also died by this time, although his death is not recorded in Twickenham and his will, if he made one, has not been traced.

Joshua's widow, Elizabeth, did not live much longer, she died and was buried on 29 October 1835, leaving her own Will (PCC Prob11/1858 Stowell). It was proved on 7 March 1836.

Elizabeth had inherited the house “on Twickenham Common”, but had moved out, letting it to a Mr Glennie (?) for £25 per annum. She bequeathed this property to her sister Mary Clement. She left £200 each to her sister Harriet Clement and Brother George Clement. Another brother, Thomas, and his wife received £50 as did a further sister, Sophia Bristow. £100 went to various nephews and nieces: Isabella Chapman, Edward Jenkins (qv), Thomas Bristow Coach builder of Hounslow, Charles Clement, Jane Ellen, George Clement, Jane Clement, Mary Lever and Joseph Clement. There were two codicils which varied the cash bequests to her many relatives.

Edward Chapman III

Little is known at present about this Edward although he was stated to have more money than his brother Joshua. He is recorded as responsible for the Poor Rate for the Crown Inn in 1801 and in 1818 he featured in the Enclosure Award with a small property on the north side of Heath Lane (now Road), shared with his brother.

Edward Chapman IV

Nothing is known about Edward the fourth. He was not a beneficiary from the Will of his grandmother Elizabeth, having, perhaps already been adequately provided for by his father, whose Will has not been traced.

Fortescue House in the London Road, Twickenham in the 19th century

Fortescue House

Owners of Fortescue House in the London Road were given, in 1818, as Joshua and Edward Chapman and, in 1846 as Messrs Chapman. This description suggests that they were either proprietors of a business or, perhaps, landlords. Fortescue House is first mentioned in rate books in 1771. Whether the Chapmans built it or bought the property as an investment has yet to be investigated. The property is not described in any of the wills seen.

In the Enclosure Award Joshua and Edward Chapman owned a house, garden and workshops on the north side of the first part of Heath Road (entry 457). Just further along, on the same side, Joshua Chapman shared a property and yard with Batson Wells and Brown Young (entry 448).


In a letter to Mary Berry dated 8 September 1795, Walpole wrote:

“This is a mere codicil of business to my morning's letter. I have been to survey the works at Cliveden. Imprimis, the new road is not begun. Nobody, they said, had received specific orders, about it. I specified them to purpose. Chapman [the builder] was there, and imagined there was to be a double ditch and rail - no such thing - a simple path of gravel for a coach: what a fright would more be from Agnes's balcony.”

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