Medical historians over the last two decades have provided a basic overview of the development of the medical market-place, doctoring, diagnosis and treatment, doctor-patient relationships, and the nature and longevity of alternative medical practices. They have suggested that doctors were almost always the last port of call for most families confronting everyday illness, either because of cost, availability, or preference in the light of the limitations of medical diagnosis and treatment. Equally, it has been suggested that self-medication was common among middling and other families in the past, that “old wives” and irregular practitioners had a considerable longevity in the medical patchwork, and that “quackery” exploded in urban areas in particular during the later eighteenth century. The struggle by doctors to distance themselves both from their own patients (through new medical language and forms of diagnosis) and from other parts of the calling, such as apothecaries, has been well documented. So has the long-running conflict, in the spheres of diagnosis and treatment, between established medical theory on the one hand and empiricism on the other.