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HOLE, MATTHEW (d. 1730), divine, was entered as servitor at Exeter College, Oxford, on 18 March 1657–8, and took the degrees of B.A. on 15 Oct. 1661, M.A. 14 June 1664, B.D. 13 Oct. 1674, and D.D. 1 June 1716. He was elected to a Devonshire fellowship on 30 June 1663, and became full fellow on 2 July 1664. Having taken deacon's orders in the English church, he was holding a lectureship at St. Martin's Carfax, Oxford, in December 1668. In June 1669 he was ordained priest at Christ Church Cathedral, and was vicar of Bishops Lavington, Wiltshire (1673–4). Henry Godolphin [q. v.], then fellow of Eton, was his friend, and through this influence Hole was appointed in January 1687–8 to the vicarage of Stogursey, Somersetshire, in the gift of Eton College, and held it until his death. By this appointment he vacated his fellowship at Exeter College in February 1688–9, but on 8 March 1715–16, when the friends of two opposing candidates for the rectorship of that college were unable to seat the man whom they wished, Hole was elected to the post, and in 1718 was readmitted to a fellowship. On 1 March 1687–1688 he was inducted in the second prebendal stall of Wedmore in Wells Cathedral, and from 1708 to 1711 he enjoyed the rectorship of Fiddington, Somersetshire. He died in his lodgings at Exeter College, Oxford, on 19 July 1730, and was buried in the college chapel on 21 July, an inscription to his memory being placed on a stone in the chancel (Wood, Colleges and Halls, Gutch, p. 120). Hole was unmarried, and left his money to two nieces who lived with him in his declining days. He gave the sum of 100l. for the completion of the church of St. Peter-le-Bailey, Oxford, and he left 100l. for building new lodgings for the rector of his college, and 200l. to two charity schools in the city. Among the papers at Exeter College is a small quarto volume, in the handwriting of Bishop Conybeare, containing copies of all the documents relating to the dispute between the rector and some of the fellows in 1720. Mr. C. W. Boase calls him ‘a weak man.’

Hole's chief writings dealt with the English liturgy. He issued: 1. ‘Antidote against Infidelity,’ 1702, written under the disguise of ‘A Presbyter of the Church of England.’ A ‘Second Part of the Antidote’ came out under his own name in 1717. 2. ‘A Practical Exposition of the Church Catechism,’ 1708, in three parts; reissued in 1715. 3. ‘Practical Discourses on all the Parts and Offices of the Liturgy of the Church of England,’ vol. i., 1714, vols. ii. and iii. in one, 1715, and vol. iv. in three parts, 1716, and to the set was prefixed his portrait, engraved by Vander Gucht. 4. ‘Practical Discourses upon the Communion Service,’ vol. v., 1717. 5. ‘Practical Discourses on the Offices of Baptism, Confirmation, and Matrimony,’ vol. vi. in three parts, 1719. Six of the discourses in these two collections were embodied in ‘The Family Chaplain,’ 1775, and the whole of them were republished, under the editorship of Dr. J. A. Giles, in 1837–8. Hole delighted in preaching throughout his life. A large number of his discourses, many of them preached in the churches of Somerset, and others before the university, were printed. One of them, a visitation sermon, preached at Bridgwater in 1695, on a fixed form of liturgy, led to the appearance of ‘A Correct Copy of some Letters written to J. M., a Nonconformist Teacher, concerning the Gift and Forms of Prayer,’ 1698, and to a second series in 1699, as well as to a rejoinder from J. M.

[Memoir of Hole in reprint of Practical Discourses by Dr. Giles; Boase's Reg. of Exeter College, pp. xxxv, lxiv, 75, 90, 213; Weaver's Somerset Incumbents, pp. 369, 446; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), i. 183–4; Sir T. Phillipps's Instit. Clericorum Wilts, ii. 32; Wood's Oxford (Peshall), p. 170; Hist. MSS. Comm. 2nd Rep. App. p. 127.]

W. P. C.