Wakefield, Gilbert (1756–1801)

Radical writer. Born in Nottingham, the son of George Wakefield, Rector of St Nicholas’s Church. He attended Jesus College, Cambridge, graduating with a BA in 1776. Wakefield was a Fellow of the College 1776–1779 and a deacon 1778–1779. But he resigned the former post on his marriage and the latter on his conversion to Unitarianism. Thereafter he was a teacher (at Warrington Dissenting Academy 1779–1783) and a professional writer, mainly on classical, religious and political topics. He was one of the Pitt government’s fiercest critics and was imprisoned for two years in Dorchester gaol for his A Reply to Some Parts of the Bishop of Landaff’s Address (1798). Southey visited him in prison.

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