|Pages/Publication Date:||368 / 2016|
An enthusiast of funerals who declared himself King of Hampshire, the third earl of Portsmouth, John Charles Wallop, was a peculiar man, but was, by most accounts, a harmless one. An aristocrat of enormous wealth, he kept company with England's most famous names, inviting Jane Austen to balls and having Lord Byron as chief witness to his second marriage. For most of his life Wallop had moved with ease in high society, but at the age of 55 his own family set out to have him declared insane. In this fascinating look at straitlaced Georgian England, Elizabeth Foyster re-creates the most expensive and controversial British insanity trial ever heard. Amid accusations of abductions, sodomy, blackmail, and violence, jurors had to decide if Wallop was just a shy eccentric or a sinister madman attempting to mask his dangerous and immoral nature.