Definition of Speenhamland system in English:

Speenhamland system


  • A system of poor relief first adopted in the late 18th century and established throughout rural England in succeeding years.

    • ‘Over the next decades, though never formally implemented in law, the basic principles of the Speenhamland system became widely adopted.’
    • ‘The Speenhamland system, named after a meeting held in Speenhamland in 1795, was intended to help the rural poor.’
    • ‘In 1793, the state gave allowances to wives and children of soldiers called to the militia, possibly providing a precedent for the Speenhamland system of 1795.’
    • ‘The Speenhamland system was expensive to maintain, but it persisted until 1834, when a revised, much harsher Poor Law was voted through parliament.’
    • ‘In effect, the Speenhamland system set a maximum as well as a minimum standard of living.’


First adopted in Speenhamland, an English village near Newbury, Berks.


Speenhamland system