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.

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


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


Speenhamland system