Malcolm Chase (1957–2020) was the pre-eminent scholar of the Chartist democratic movement, and more broadly, of working-class political and social action in early nineteenth-century Britain. His work in many respects shaped a shift in the study of Chartism within labour and cultural history. Rejecting the inward-looking diversion into the ‘linguistic turn’ of the early 1990s, Chase offered a broader and holistic view of not only what class, political radicalism and the land meant to working-class people, but also how it was a lived experience expressed in action as well as words. This article is a re-appreciation of Chase’s major contribution to the field. It charts the origins and development of Chartist studies, and surveys recent publications, including the wide range of articles published on Chartism in the English Historical Review.