Chappingtons of South Molton

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), pp. 84-5. 


Helen Saunders

Prepared by Michael Steer

It was common practice for parishes to contract with an organ-builder to ‘keepe’, i.e. repair and maintain, their organ on a long-term basis. The Chappington family of 16th and 17th century organ-builders were from South Molton.  Four members of the family are known to have been active as organ-builders and repairers over the eighty four years from 1536-1620. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Note 69. CHAPPINGTONS OF SOUTH MOLTON (VI., par. 20, p. 31.) - In answer to Mr. Chanter's enquiries respecting this family, I am sorry to say the name seems to be unknown at present in this town, but by the kind permission of the Vicar I have looked through a copy of the earliest register of the Parish Church, which dates from 1601, and I have observed the following entries : -


1610. Andrew Wollcock maried to Clara Chappinton the xxiii day of April.
1640. Mattathyus Chappington to Margaret Comden 21st July.

Burials, 1649.

1649. Chappington, Mattathyus, 21 July.


1723. Zacharius, s. of Sam 11 - Chappinton, 12th March.
1736. Sarah, dau. of Samuel Chappington, 21st August.

From the Churchwardens' old account books.


1680. Elizabeth Chappington, 14th day of June.
1680. Mary Chappington, 12th August.
1686. Elizabeth, dau. of Samuell Chappington, 13th Jan’ry
1688. David, son of Samuell Chappington, 6th Sept.
          William Chappington, 2nd day of May."

In the Calendar of Devonshire Wills and Administrations I have noticed the following: -

1649. Chappington, Mattathius, South Molton. A.

From this I think some interesting information might be obtained.

In the muniment room of the Church there are many old bills of work done to the Church, among them there are some of Christofer Day's, a clock maker, who also repaired organs and may have been an organ builder.

(Bill) "Mending of Organ Waires, 0 0 6
(dated 1751) Christofer Day."

Another bill : - " Seven nut to the Organ Billows."
"Wainding up of the Chaims."

In 1782 a bill was paid by Squire Ball for "Making 25 stop Diapason pipes in the Swell and planting them, voiceing and tuning the same, 1 11 6."

In lists of things in the charge of the Sexton which were kept in the Toll or Tole (probably the tool-house) there were "Several organ pipes, pewter, 2 tin." This was repeated from the year 1667 to 1688.

John Loosemore, an organ builder, was a native of Bishops Nympton. He built the organ, which was formerly in Exeter Cathedral, and died in 1606. Some of his family still hold property and reside at Bishops Nympton in Rose Ash.             HELEN SAUNDERS.