Regulation of madness in England from the 17th century to the early 20th century: Part 1

Dr Lisetta Lovett

60 minutes


November 2019

Learning module

CPD domain:

Regulation of madness part 1.jpg

The Enlightenment was a period when philosophy and science rapidly progressed, leading to ground-breaking ideas which were to influence how society thought about mental illness, its causes and treatment.

This module is the first in a two-part series reviewing major concepts of madness throughout history, placing particular emphasis on developments during the Enlightenment period.

We will describe:

  • how the poor, vagrant and criminally insane were disposed of in society up until 1800, with reference to judicial decisions about the definition of insanity
  • significant legislation up to 1800, including that which was introduced to regulate private madhouses.


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