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Gilbert, Thomas

Gilbert, Thomas (1720–98). Poor Law reformer. The son of a Staffordshire gentleman, Gilbert was called to the bar in 1744 but worked as land agent for Lord Gower. He was MP for Newcastle under Lyme (1763–8) and Lichfield (1768–95). Among the reform measures he introduced into the Commons, the two which bear his name are the Act of 1782 which permitted two or more parishes to unite to administer the poor law, and the Act of 1793 which permitted the commissioners of Queen Anne's Bounty to lend money to build parsonages to facilitate a resident clergy. He also secured an Act in 1793 to encourage with parochial funds the formation of friendly societies. He unsuccessfully advocated a 25 per cent tax on government places and pensions during the American War (1776), restrictions on alehouses, and taxes on dogs.

Edward Royle

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