The Spencean Society

Penny countermarked by Spenceans

The Spencean Society or Society of Spencean Philanthropists was founded in 1801 by Thomas Spence and his friends. Much of their activity was clandestine, and following the mass meetings on the Spa Fields in November and December 1816, the Seditious Meetings Act made use of the name Spencean or creation of any society with similar aims a criminal offence. The Act lapsed in July 1818, after which the Spencean Philanthropists immediately met again. The revised Seditious Meetings Act of December 1819 did not name the Spenceans but made all political meetings virtually impossible.