Chapman was born in London in 1853, the son of Henry Chapman and his wife Priscilla (née Wakefield). Gen Sir Edward Chapman (1840-1926) and Sir Arthur Wakefield Chapman (1849- 1926) were older brothers. He was the grandson of the philanthropist and statistician Edward Wakefield and great-grandson of the Quaker philanthropist Priscilla Wakefield.
He was ordained deacon in 1878 and priest in 1881. He served his title under the Rev the Hon Adelbert Anson (subsequently a bishop in Canada) at St Mary Magdalene, Woolwich (1878-1880) and then at St Paul's, Newington (also known as St Paul's, Lorrimore Square) (1881-1885), arriving at the latter shortly after the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Thorold, had imposed an Evangelical Vicar on the extreme Anglo-Catholic parish, prompting the mass exodus of the congregation to the nearby St Agnes, Kennington Park. During his time at Lorrimore Square he was Chaplain to the Forces in Egypt during the Anglo-Egyptian War of 1882. He was Vicar of St Luke's, Camberwell (1885-1909) and then Chaplain at the Savoy Chapel (1909-1933).
Chapman was a proponent of the Normyl treatment for alcoholism. He was an active support of Father Damien's leper hospital in Hawaii. He established a "Hugh Boswell" Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at St Luke's; the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Edward Talbot was initiated as a member in 1901. St Luke's had a notable reputation under Chapman: Princess Mary, the Duchess of Teck (the mother of Queen Mary) was a regular visitor, and he was responsible for decorations being installed by John Ruskin's Century Guild of Artists, Herbert Horne, Frederic Shields, Selwyn Image, and Edward Burne-Jones. (The church was bombed in 1941, and rebuilt.)
The Savoy Chapel was widely known during Chapman's incumbency as a location where divorced persons were permitted to marry or to have their civil marriages blessed. Notable weddings included that of Consuelo, Duchess of Marlborough and Lt Col Jacques Balsan in 1921 and Edith Stuyvesant Vanderbilt and Senator Peter Goelet Gerry in 1925. A condition of such 'benedictory' services was that there be no publicity. Nevertheless, in 1926 Chapman refused to marry Lord Sholto Douglas and Mrs Mendelssohn Pickles, on the basis they were the guilty parties in their respective divorces. Chapman's successor as Chaplain, the Rev Cyril Cresswell, immediately brought an end to the marriage of divorced persons in the Chapel.
London County Council
Chapman was elected to the newly-formed London County Council for Camberwell North (in which St Luke's was situated) in 1889 as a Progressive. He did not seek re-election in 1892. His brother, Cecil Maurice Chapman, was a Moderate Party member for Chelsea from 1895 to 1898.
Chapman was the author of a number of books.
- The Seven Last Words of Love (1885: Griffith Farran & Co)
- Sermons in Symbols (1888: Swan Sonnenschein, Lowrey & Co)
- Where is Christ? (1890: Swan Sonnenschein & Co)
- Steps to the Higher Life (1897: Swan Sonnenschein & Co)
- Proverbs in Practice (1909: F. H. Morland)
- At the Back of Things (1911: Duckworth & Co)
- The soul of women’s suffrage (1912: Corrigan & Wilson)
- Home Truths about the War (1917: G. Allen & Unwin)
- West Ham Registry Office, December quarter 1853, Vol 4A, page 29.
- Hughes-Hughes, WO, The Register of Tonbridge School from 1820 to 1893, (1893: Richard Bentley) p 141.
- Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1932, p 223.
- "Spectator: "The parishioners of St. Paul's, Lorrimore Square, Walworth, are not in a very happy frame of mind", 4 December 1880". Retrieved 29 March 2022.
- "St Agnes, Kennington Park: Our History". Retrieved 29 March 2022.
- "CAN DRUNKENNESS BE CURED?". Jerilderie Herald and Urana Advertiser. Vol. XI, no. 1136. New South Wales, Australia. 9 March 1906. p. 3. Retrieved 29 March 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
- "THE LEPER HOSPITAL". South Australian Register. Vol. LIII, no. 13, 129. South Australia. 11 December 1888. p. 5. Retrieved 29 March 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Church Times, 1 March 1901, p 250". Retrieved 29 March 2022.
- "Church Times: "HM Queen Mary's Mother's Church", 20 March 1953, p 219". Retrieved 29 March 2022.
- "NOTED CHAPLAIN". Glen Innes Examiner. Vol. 8, no. 1165. New South Wales, Australia. 15 August 1933. p. 6. Retrieved 31 March 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Gisborne Times, Volume LV, Issue 6175, 5 September 1921, Page 5". Retrieved 30 March 2022.
- "Waikato Times, Volume 99, Issue 16681, 23 December 1925, Page 4 (Supplement)". Retrieved 30 March 2022.
- "Ashburton Guardian, Volume XLIII, Issue 6944, 18 September 1922, Page 7". Retrieved 30 March 2022.
- "PARTIES IN DIVORCE". The Labor Daily. No. 838. New South Wales, Australia. 8 October 1926. p. 1. Retrieved 29 March 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Timaru Herald, Volume CXXXVII, Issue 19604, 26 September 1933, Page 9". Retrieved 30 March 2022.
- "London Gazette, 23 May 1933, p 3503". Retrieved 30 March 2022.
- "Church Times: "Clerical Obituary", 7 April 1933, p 418". Retrieved 29 March 2022.