Do you know John Chapman?

John Chapman on duty in Cambridgeshire EMN-140820-135030001
John Chapman on duty in Cambridgeshire EMN-140820-135030001

Everyone surely knows someone by the name of John Chapman.

The premise led a namesake to produce a unique book that charts the story of famous and infamous John Chapmans in the UK and across the Atlantic.

The book has already had a successful launch in the US where Mr Chapman was interviewed on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, a popular American late-night talk show.

Mr Chapman lived in Bainton for many years before moving to St Ives, in 

The idea for his book Everyone Knows John Chapman, he said, came after seeing the name “every time I looked at a war memorial”.

Mr Chapman said: “Because it was my own name I noticed it. Then I suddenly started to find out interesting stories of people who had the name. I started digging and thought ‘crickey this John Chapman seems to be popping up all over history’.”

Then a seven-month stint living alone at Bainton House in the period leading up to the sale of the estate provided the ideal opportunity.

“The house was the perfect place to isolate myself and carry out all the hours of research that was required,” Mr Chapman said.

“The house with its links to the Victorian writer Anthony Trollope and the modern day writer Joanna Trollope was a great inspiration.”

Stories in the book include an American Quaker who planted thousands of acres of apple orchards so no-one would go hungry, a former Manchester United manager who took the team to the semi finals of the 1925-1926 FA cup and a victim of the Titanic who died with his new bride Sarah.

The final chapter tells the story a Cambridgeshire police officer who, on 22 January 1983, at 5.56 am, four minutes before his night shift ended, raced to the scene of a fire in Wisbech.

Ignoring the 40ft high flames and a burning roof he clambered up to rescue two woman who were trapped in an upstairs room. It resulted in him being awarded a Chief Constable’s commendation for “showing selfless bravery in the most difficult circumstances”. There is a surprising twist at the end of the book.

Everyone Knows John Chapman is available on eBay and costs £4.95 plus £1.49 postage or from the author by e-mailing