Nadia Sawalha thinks the history of her ancestors explains her interest in asylums.

Nadia Sawalha

Nadia Sawalha

The 55-year-old actress has learned through the family history website Findmypast that Henry Taunton - her great-great-great-great-grandfather - ended up being committed to Bethlem Hospital at the age of 45, and Nadia thinks it could be linked to her long-standing fascination of "asylums and Victorian prisons".

Nadia explained: "I'm always drawn to stories of asylums and Victorian prisons. I wonder if that's why."

Henry was made an apprentice under master butcher John Allen in 1778, when he was just six.

Later in his life, Henry married Ann Hubbard in Surrey and they had three children together, Thomas, William and Caroline.

But he subsequently suffered psychiatric episodes, and the death of his wife in 1822 made his life spiral out of control.

According to the Daily Mirror newspaper, his admission notes explained: "Was in St Luke's six month, then lived in Isleworth [in West London] as a butcher till he again became insane.

"He went to his daughter's where he conducted himself violently and was taken to the poorhouse. He conducted himself well till about three weeks ago when he heard of a misfortune in his family and became so as to alarm the whole neighbourhood."

Meanwhile, Stacey Solomon - Nadia's 'Loose Women' co-star - has discovered that her great-great-great grandfather was a soldier who fought at the Battle of Waterloo.

Findmypast's Alex Cox explained that Samuel would have learned how to "fight on both foot and horseback".

Speaking about Stacey's ancestor, Alex continued: "At the Battle of Waterloo, Samuel was commanded by Lt Col Shapland Boyse and formed part of the 7th Cavalry Brigade.

"During the battle Samuel and his comrades made repeated devastating charges against the French."