CFHS code : AG270

Parish : St Andrew the Great

Inscription : Sacred to the Memory of ARTHUR THOMAS CHAPMAN Master of Arts for 51 years Fellow of Emmanuel College b 10th March 184- d Dec 10 —-

Monument : Headstone

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.203032, 0.136394 – click here for location

Chapman grave
Chapman monument


Plain headstone in the parish area of St Andrew the Great, this grave is located close to the west wall.


‘Sacred to the memory of
Arthur Thomas Chapman Master of Arts
for 51 years Fellow of Emmanuel College
born 10th March 1840 died Dec 10 [1913]’

[remainder illegible]

Arthur Thomas Chapman c 1862
Arthur Thomas Chapman c 1862

Arthur Thomas Chapman (1840-1913)


Chapman was born on 10 March 1840 in London. He attended the North London Collegiate School and entered Emmanuel College in 1859, graduating 11th Wrangler in 1862 [Illustration to the left shows him about this time] and becoming a fellow that year. He was ordained an anglican priest but never took a parish, instead devoting his life to scholarship. In College, he lectured on mathematics, Greek and Hebrew.

Having a knowledge of Arabic, he visited Egypt c 1875 and again in 1883 as part of a delegation to promote friendly relations with Coptic christians in Egypt. This involved a journey to ancient Coptic monasteries in the Lybian desert northwest of Cairo (a visit recorded by A J Butler in his The Ancient Coptic Churches of Egypt).

Chapman remained celibate after college statutes were changed to permit fellows to marry. At his death on 10 December 1913 he left his Hebrew books, his wine and bowls woods to the College. His obituary in the Times described him as a don of the old school – a good scholar, a sound theologian, a genial member of the Parlour.

Interests and character

His chief distinction lay in his work in Hebrew and Rabbinics [i.e. the study of ancient Jewish texts]. His publications were contributions to collective works, including an ‘Introduction to the Pentateuch’ in the Cambridge Bible for Schools. He took a lively part in College social life, was a chess enthusiast and bowls player and also a gourmet and wine connoisseur, having his own cellar.

Chapman’s Garden

This lovely garden lies between Front Court and the modern South Court, with Hobson’s Conduit running through it bordered by magnificent weeping willow trees, and containing a ‘fossil tree’ (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) and two tulip trees. The piece of land existed at the College’s foundation in 1584 and is shown in an engraving of around 1690, already stocked with mature trees. In Chapman’s time as a Fellow the only access to it was through his rooms. After his death a passageway was made through to it from Front Court.

Photograph of Chapman's Garden, Emmanuel College, before 1914. Taken by Alfred Rose
Photograph of Chapman’s Garden, Emmanuel College, before 1914. Taken by Alfred Rose

The illustration shows a photograph (by Alfred Rose) of the Garden taken before the passageway from Front Court was constructed in 1914, after Chapman’s death. Until then the French window visible to the left of the photo, which was in Chapman’s set of rooms, afforded the only access to the garden. The passageway utilised the French window’s opening.

Emmanuel College Magazine, lxvii (1984/85), pp 17-21

By Amanda Goode, Archivist, Emmanuel College (with Ian Bent)

Arthur Thomas Chapman