Mathews (Matthews), Lemuel
In 1693 a commission issued under the great seal to William King (qv), bishop of Derry, Anthony Dopping (qv), bishop of Meath, and Capel Wiseman, bishop of Dromore, empowered them to carry out an ecclesiastical visitation of Hackett's dioceses. Mathews was prosecuted by one Talbot Keen as part of this, and an extraordinary visitation in Lisburn in 1693 deprived him of his ecclesiastical appointments, on the grounds of non-residence and neglect of his pastoral duties; he was excommunicated. Another allegation was also put before the royal commission that his nephew, Philip Mathews, was promoted to the archdeaconry of Connor through Lemuel's exercising corrupt influence without the bishop's knowledge or authority.
Mathews immediately appealed against these sentences in the court of chancery and interposed his ‘querel of nullities’ against the previous proceedings and sentences, as void acts. He further petitioned William III (qv) in 1695, though with no success. Mathews nonetheless continued his struggle for several years. His constant petitioning caused Whitehall to issue a caveat stating that any further petitions by Mathews had first to be referred to Henry Maxwell (qv). He continued nonetheless, writing to Bishop William King about his case, and petitioned the Irish house of commons. He also petitioned Queen Anne in 1702. In June 1705 his petition was heard before the house of lords and was sent by them to the lord lieutenant, who agreed to put the case before the queen. This was then referred to the lords justices and they appear to have restored him to the prebendary of Cairncastle, though not to any other office.
Mathews's case led to the publication of a number of pieces, some of them privately. These include The petition of Archdeacon Mathews to the hon. the commons (no date); The proceedings against Archdeacon Lemuel Mathews, at the regal visitation, held at Lisburne, 1693 (1703); A letter to the Right Reverend William lord bishop of Derry written by Archdeacon Lemuel Mathews (1703); Demonstrations that the lord chancellor of Ireland is bound by the statute and common-law and also by his commission and oath, . . . to grant a commission of delegates to Archdeacon Mathews . . . With replies to the objections (1704); The argument of Archdeacon Mathews for a commission of delegates upon his appeals and querel of nullities (1704); Remarks on the late printed demonstrations, shewing that the lord chancellor of Ireland ought to grant a commission of delegates to Archdeacon Mathews (1704); A brief of the printed argument of Archdeacon Mathews on his petition to the lord chancellor of Ireland for a commission of delegates upon his appeals and querel of nullities against Lisburn-commissioners ecclesiastical (1705).
There is no certainty as to when Mathews died, though Walter Harris (qv) in his edition of Ware (1745) states that he had died some twenty years previously. He was still under the sentences of the Lisburn visitation.