Spence, Joseph an English divine and scholar, was born in 1698, and educated probably at Winchester School, and New College, Oxford, where he took the degree of A.M. Nov. 2, 1727. He was elected professor of poetry July 11, 1728, and about 1731 traveled with the duke of Newcastle into Italy. In 1742 his college presented him to the rectory of Great Horwood, in Buckinghamshire; and in June of the same year he succeeded Dr. Holmes as his majesty's professor of modern history at Oxford. He was installed prebendary of the seventh stall at Durham May 24, 1754. His death, by drowning in a canal in Byfleet, Surrey, occurred Aug. 20, 1768. His writings were mostly in the realm of polite literature, as, An Essay on Pope's Odyssey (1727): Polymetis (1747, fol.). He published, Remarks and Dissertations on Virgil, by Mr. Holdsworth, with notes, etc. (1768, 4to). He wrote a pamphlet entitled Plain 2Matter of Fact, or a Short Review of the Reigns of our Popish Princes since the Reformation (pt. 1, 1748, 12mo). See Chalmers, Biog. Dict. s.v.; Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and A mer. Authors, s.v.