Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Chapple, Samuel

CHAPPLE, SAMUEL (1775–1833), organist and composer, was born at Crediton, Devonshire, of humble parentage, in 1775. Before he was ten years old he lost his sight through an attack of small-pox. This misfortune aroused much sympathy, and in 1790 it was proposed at a vestry meeting that young Chapple, who had already displayed considerable musical capability, should be educated as a musician at the cost of the ratepayers. After some opposition this resolution was carried, and Chapple was articled to a blind professor of music named Eames, who lived at Exeter. Here he made great progress, and in 1795, before his articles were expired, he was elected organist of Ashburton parish church, a post he retained for the rest of his life.

Besides playing the organ, Chapple was a good violinist and pianist, and was successful as a teacher in Ashburton and its neighbourhood, about which he used to ride with a boy as guide behind him. He died at Ashburton in 1833, leaving a numerous family. He was succeeded as organist by his second son, who was then aged only thirteen. Chapple published several collections of anthems, which are written in a style now happily extinct, besides several songs, glees, and pianoforte pieces.

[Proceedings of the Devonshire Association, xiv. 325; Brit. Mus. Music Cat.]

W. B. S.