Horace Chapman

Club President from 1895-1907

(The information below was supplied by Brian Denman)

The two Horaces, Chapman and Cheshire, were ‘giants’ of the Hastings CC. Horace Chapman who was an extremely successful president for the club during a period when chess at Hastings was extremely popular. First, however, a little piece of background information. I do not claim to be a religious historian, but there seems to have been a battle for religious ideas in the nineteenth century. A movement existed which sought to introduce Roman Catholic ritualistic practices into the Protestant church. In Brighton, a president of the Brighton CC (from 1853 to 1860), Paul Foskett, became involved in this controversy and as a fervent Protestant, sought to oppose the doctrine which had local priest Arthur Wagner as a supporter. You will see how the religious controversy was relevant to Horace Chapman. Chapman was born on 25.1.1842 and was the seventh son (by two marriages) of David Barclay Chapman. His father (1799-1891) was president of the Brighton Chess Club from 1864 to about 1878 and was a banker. Horace Chapman went to Eton, and Downing College, Cambridge, obtaining a B.A. in 1870. He was ordained as a priest in 1872. In 1875 he became Rector of Donhead St Andrews which is near Salisbury. By about 1877, however, he had become involved in the religious controversy mentioned above. In 1874 the newly elected Tory government had brought in the Public Worship Regulation Act which had passed through Parliament with much controversy. It sought to stamp out ritualism in the Church of England and imposed draconian punishments including imprisonment for members of the clergy found guilty of Popish practices. However, between 1874 and 1906 (when the Act was repealed) the bishops vetoed 33 attempts to prosecute (I believe that some of the clergy were imprisoned). Three parishioners made seven complaints about Chapman. These involved, elevation of the consecrated elements in the Eucharist, bowing and prostration, facing east when performing acts of consecration, using wafer bread during the communion service, wearing a coloured stole, lighting candles at the 8 a.m. celebration on four winter mornings after sunrise , and mixing water with wine in the common chalice. Fortunately for Chapman the Bishop was a High Churchman and he refused to act. Chapman continued to serve at Donhead until 1891 (the date of 1887 given in Reg’s book appears to be wrong). He became a Roman Catholic. For most of this paragraph I am grateful for the detailed research of Chris Ravilious. Chapman’s initial interest in the Hastings CC came as a visitor and it was to be some years before he lived in the town. We know that he played a significant part in the 1895 international tournament and following this the club embarked on a very special period. Top London teams regularly visited the town to play matches, there were the tours from 1899 to 1911 (in alternate years) and the festivals from 1894 to 1908. In 1903 at the AGM Chapman even suggested a tour to New York the following year though nothing actually seems to have come of this idea. It was at the festivals that he was in his element. Two or three masters would be hired to come to Hastings for a few days (Chapman may have paid their costs) and they would engage in simultaneous displays and consultation matches. In the consultation matches a master would often be paired with an amateur and they would play another master and another amateur. This must have been a tremendous experience for the Hastings CC players who were lucky enough to be chosen, though I doubt that the master would listen to many of their suggestions! In 1908 the world champion Emanuel Lasker took part in the festival. Chapman enjoyed the consultation matches, but it appears that in his period as president of the Hastings CC he only took part in this type of chess (because of heart problems). Towards the end of 1906 Chapman was detained in Tunbridge Wells suffering from pneumonia and daily bulletins about his health were posted in the Hastings CC. After a while his health improved and he returned to Hastings. However, he died on 6th March. In politics he was a liberal. He was a connoisseur of art and collected antique furniture and pictures. I do not have an example of a game which he played on his own (it would be very difficult to find one), so here is an example of a consultation game in which he was involved:

Est. 1882