John Chapman was probably born at Stratfield Say in Hampshire, where his father was rector. He died at Mersham in Kent on 14 October 1784. He was a King's Scholar at Eton, proceeding to King's College, Cambridge, where he graduated BA in 1727 and MA in 1731. As a Fellow of King's from 1727, his pupils included Jacob Bryant and, possibly, for a short time, Horace Walpole. He incorporated at Oxford in 1733 and became chaplain to John Potter, Bishop of Oxford and later (from 1737) Archbishop of Canterbury. His being a trustee and executor of Potter's estate would seem to explain many of his subsequent preferments. In 1739 he became rector of Alderton, from 1739 to 1744 he was rector of Saltwood, and from 1744 on, of Mersham; all three parishes in Kent. In 1741 Chapman was created DD by diploma and in the same year he was made Archdeacon of Sudbury. In 1750 he became Treasurer of Chichester Cathedral. An attempt to have himself presented to the precentorship of Lincoln, bequeathed by Potter in his will, ended up in the Court of Chancery, where it was not successful; he also failed to become Provost of King's in 1743. His ambition seems to have outweighed his discretion.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.