Matthews, Lemuel (DNB00)


MATTHEWS or MATHEWS, LEMUEL (fl. 1661–1705), archdeacon of Down, younger son of Marmaduke Matthews [q. v.], was born at Swansea in 1644, and matriculated from Lincoln College, Oxford, on 25 May 1661 (Foster, Alumni, 1500–1714). He proceeded M.A. before 1667 (see Elegie on Jeremy Taylor). Soon after leaving Oxford Jeremy Taylor, bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore, made Matthews his chaplain, and presented him to the rectory of Lenavy (now Glenavy), co. Antrim (see Reeves, Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Down, Connor, and Dromore, p. 47). At the bishop's death in 1667 Matthews published ‘A Pandarique Elegie upon the Death of the R. R. Father in God Jeremy, late Lord Bishop of Doune, Connor, and Dromore.’ On 26 Oct. 1666 he was collated to the prebend of Carncastle, co. Antrim (installed 5 Jan. 1667). He obtained on 2 Nov. 1674 the archdeaconry of Down, and in 1690 was made chancellor, or vicar-general, of Down and Connor. In this position he acquired almost entire control of the diocese, the bishop, Thomas Hacket, D.D., being non-resident (Lansdowne MS. 446, fol. 126). Matthews used his influence for his own advantage. He held altogether nine livings, and was accused of simony in obtaining Archdeacon Baynard's resignation in order to collate his nephew, Philip Matthews, M.A., to the archdeaconry of Connor in 1689, and of illegally presenting John Francis to the prebend of Down in 1690 or 1691. Matthews was attainted with other protestant clergymen by James II's Irish parliament of 1689.

In February 1694 a special visitation was held (22 Feb.–17 April 1694) at Lisburn by a royal commission to inquire into the misdemeanours of Matthews and others. The commission was executed by Anthony Dopping [q. v.], bishop of Meath, and William King [q. v.], bishop of Derry, and they found Matthews guilty of maintenance, in a suit between John M'Neale, dean of Down, and a Mr. Major, of non-residence and neglect of various duties. Suits were also commenced against him by Talbot Keen for non-payment of proxy money, non-exhibition of his collative title, and non-residence on the rectories attached to his archdeaconry. He was suspended from all offices during the pleasure of the crown. He immediately agitated for his restoration, and addressed a series of appeals—fourteen in all—to Lord-chancellors Cox, Freeman, and Phipps in succession, and to King William, and Queen Anne (Mant, Church of Ireland, ii. 43). In ‘A Letter to the Right Reverend William [King], Lord Bishop of Derry,’ printed in 1703, he protested that he had resided for nineteen years in Lisburn ‘neer the center’ of his archdeaconry, and had spent much on several other parishes.

After he had presented a petition to Sir Richard Cox on 3 Sept. 1703, the judges on 4 Dec. reported their opinion that he should be allowed a commission of delegates. Delays followed, and Matthews set forth, early in 1704, his claim to such a commission in two pamphlets, one called ‘Demonstrations that the Lord Chancellor of Ireland is bound by the Statute and Common Law, and also by his Commission and Oath as Lord Chancellor, to grant a Commission of Delegates;’ and the other, ‘The Argument of Archdeacon Mathews’ [Dublin], 1704. In reply to further appeals, Sir Richard Cox at the end of 1704 summoned all parties concerned to appear in the exchequer chamber on 20 Jan. 1705. Matthews subsequently printed ‘A Brief of the Printed Argument of Archdeacon Mathews on his Petition to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland,’ n.d., and on 5 June 1705 he presented a new petition to the house of peers in Dublin. The lords, in an address on 16 June to the Duke of Ormonde, lord-lieutenant, prayed that he should be relieved (Add. MS. 21132, fol. 30, indexed ‘Samuel Mathews’).

Matthews had adherents, notably John Pooley, D.D., bishop of Raphoe, who adds to his autograph, in a copy of Matthews's ‘Argument,’ the words ‘sent me Novber [1]704 by the ill-treated author, Archde. Mathews’ (cf. Cotton, Fasti Eccles. Hib. v. 240). Matthews's tracts were not generally offered for sale, but seem to have been distributed among his friends (ib.) They are consequently now very rare. Cotton says that Matthews was restored to his prebend, but not to his archdeaconry. He died unmarried after 1705. By what university he was created doctor of divinity does not appear.

[Cotton's Fasti Eccles. Hib. iii. 231–3, 241, 257, 271, v. 241, 242; Mant's Hist. of the Church of Ireland, ii. 42–3 (s. n. Leonard Matthews); Cat. of the Library of Trinity Coll. Dublin; Killen's Ecclesiastical Hist. of Ireland, 1875, ii. 183; Reid's Hist. of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, ed. Killen, 1867, ii. 438, 439; Lansdowne MS. No. 446, ff. 124–8.]

C. F. S.