One meaning of the word is a merchant or trader, but there may have been others.
Thank you Marilyn - do you know if that was the meaning of the word in the early 16th Century?Peter
That's an interesting thought, Marilyn. Could Chapman be derived from the Old English word Chepe, meaning bargaining or trade? It is certainly a common surname in the UK.
I could not find a specific instance/definition of a "chapman to the king," but I did come across this interesting item:"Middlemen trading in a variety of goods were often described as 'chapmen,' a term which contemporaries used in a variety of ways ... In fact, the word was invariably applied in a general way to anyone who transported goods, especially in a middleman capacity." (The Horse Trade of Tudor and Stuart England, by Peter Edwards, Cambridge University Press).Other sources I looked at suggested chapmen at one end of the economic scale were synonymous with merchants, but at the other end ("pettie chapmen") they were higglers, pedlars, etc.
Further research reveals that Richard Pek was a 'Yeoman of the Crown' whose origins were the personal guards to the sovereign. Among other duties they slept/guarded outside his bedroom and checked out his bed before he went to sleep. So does this help with placing the social status of the role of 'chapman' and if so what is the status - where did Richard come in the 16th century pecking order?Very many thanks for any suggestions.Peter
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