The Surgeon and the Lunatics

"Nineteenth century commentators on mental illness were often fascinated by the outward signs of difference between sane and insane behaviour, and the relative changes brought about in each patient’s demeanour and expression by treatment in the asylum. As Michael Whitfield finds here, these interests could be as common in the newspaper press as they were amongst surgeons".

Wood-taking and customary practice: William Hunt’s Justices Notebook, 1744-49

'The surviving notebooks of eighteenth century magistrates can be used by historians to investigate the extent to which customary culture was constrained and regulated by law. Wood-gathering may have been essential to the economy of the rural poor, but it remained theft in the eyes of the law. Carl Griffin opens the notebook of William Hunt of West Lavington in Wiltshire and finds that it was a crime that kept the magistrate peculiarly busy'.