This English occupational name is fairly numerous in all the provinces in Ireland exept Connacht, and there too it appears in County Roscommon in 1629. Other 17th century references are to Westmeath, Wexford, Clare and Dublin. There are occasional references to le Chapman in Irish records as far back as the 13th century. CHAPMAN was an occupational name, the chapman. It is probable that the early chapman was a dealer in stationary. The other occupation would have been a travelling man, a dealer or pedlar in various items. An act of Edward VI (1461-1483) speaks of 'persons or personnes commonly called pedlar, tinker or pety chapman'. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Early records of the name mention Robertus Wilchapman, listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Robert Chapman was baptised at St. Peter, Cornhill, London in 1541. Alice, daughter of Gyles Chapman was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1619. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of arms in 1884. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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