In the early 1800s, Chantry was known informally as "The Centre" due to its location at the geographic centre of Bastard Township. Many Chant families lived the vicinity and Sam Chantry, the first postmaster suggested the name "Chantry" when the first post office, was established in 1871. Because of its central location Chantry serves as the location for the main offices of the Township of Rideau Lakes.
Along County Road 8 are situated a number of early residences constructed in stone or frame. Of particular note is the Stephen Seaman Junior House, a "charming and whimsical" home built in the early 1890s on the outskirts of Chantry.