Lunatics in the Chancery Court


The lives of lunatics are often not well recorded in surviving sources. There are dozens of cases in the courts of equity, principally the Chancery court, where either the plaintiff or the defendant is a lunatic. Generally these people were deprived of their rights to property, often by ‘well meaning’ family members. The talk will use a number of cases to illustrate how much information can be found on lunatics and their families in these records, possibly a view as to how many really were lunatics. The talk will cover the 16th to 19th centuries.

Case Study Lunatics