Born in West Bridgford on 28 November 1814, John Chapman moved with his mother to the Trent Bridge Inn in 1829. William Clarke married Chapman’s mother in 1837, so the ‘Father of Trent Bridge’ was also the step-father of John Chapman.
Chapman’s first recorded game was for the Holme Lane Club, believed to be the first club to use the ground at or near the TBI for cricket so his associations with Trent Bridge pre-date the formation of the county club.
John Chapman was a fast round-arm bowler, a fair bat and good fielder who made his debut for the Old Club in 1840 against Captain Hogg’s XI and his First-Class debut in 1842 for the Gentlemen of Nottinghamshire (actually five from Notts augmented by six from England) v the Players of Nottingham. Chapman took two wickets for six runs in the Players’ first innings – all six runs coming from wides!
Two years later, Chapman played in the same fixture but on this occasion for the Players, suggesting that he switched between amateur and professional status. His bowling had not changed much in two seasons as he took 2-7, though without any wides.
He played altogether 13 First-Class matches, scoring 179 runs, with a top score of 41, at 9.94. He also took 10 wickets at 20.00 with his best return that 2-6 on debut.
After Clarke moved to London in 1846, Chapman took on the running of Trent Bridge Cricket Ground but could not make a financial success of the venture – for example, the staging of the Nottingham v Sheffield fixture in 1848 lost £40, a considerable sum of money at that time.
Chapman, who had trained as a veterinary surgeon, moved to Gainsborough, where he set up a vet’s practice, in 1849 and died there on 14 April 1896.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 49