Wakefield was born in London in 1774, and died there on 18 May 1854. He was the son of Edward and Priscilla Wakefield; his mother, a Quaker and philanthropist, was a founder of the savings bank movement. The lawyer and writer on economics Daniel wakefield was his younger brother. Wakefield was educated privately, and for some time farmed a small estate near Romford, Essex, during which time he became interested in the application of scientific methods to agriculture. He worked for a time for the Royal Navy's ordinance department, but by 1814 he had set up a practice as a land agent with offices in Pall Mall.
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.