Biography of George Evelyn of Wotton 1617-1699
On 18 Jun 1617 George Evelyn of Wotton 1617-1699 was born to [his father] Richard Evelyn of Wotton 1587-1640 (30) and [his mother] Eleanor Stansfield 1598-1635 (18).
John Evelyn's Diary 1620-1636 Birth and Childhood. 03 Nov 1635. It was the 3d of the ensuing November, after my brother George (18) was gone back to Oxford, ere I returned to Lewes, when I made way, according to instructions received of my [his father] father (48), for my brother Richard (13), who was sent the 12th after.
John Evelyn's Diary 1637-1639 University. 18th July 1637. I accompanied my eldest brother (20), who then quitted Oxford, into the country; and, on the 9th of August, went to visit my friends at Lewes, whence I returned the 12th to Wotton. On the 17th of September, I received the blessed Sacrament at Wotton church, and 23d of October went back to Oxford.
John Evelyn's Diary 1637-1639 University. 9th July 1638. I went home to visit my friends, and, on the 26th, with my brother (21) and sister to Lewes, where we abode till the 31st; and thence to one Mr. Michael's, of Houghton, near Arundel, where we were very well treated; and, on the 2d of August, to Portsmouth, and thence, having surveyed the fortifications (a great rarity in that blessed halcyon time in England), we passed into the Isle of Wight, to the house of my Lady Richards, in a place called Yaverland; but were turned the following day to Chichester, where, having viewed the city and fair cathedral, we returned home.
John Evelyn's Diary 1640. 7th July 1640. My brother George (23) and I, understanding the peril my [his father] father (53) was in upon a sudden attack of his infirmity, rode post from Guildford toward him, and found him extraordinary weak; yet so as that, continuing his course, he held out till the 8th of September, when I returned home with him (53) in his litter.
On 24 Dec 1640 [his father] Richard Evelyn of Wotton 1587-1640 (53) died.
John Evelyn's Diary 1647 October. 5th October, 1647. I came to Wotton, the place of my birth, to my brother (30), and on the 10th to Hampton Court where I had the honor to kiss his Majesty's (46) hand, and give him an account of several things I had in charge, he being now in the power of those execrable villains who not long after murdered him. I lay at my cousin, Sergeant Hatton's at Thames Ditton, whence, on the 13th, I went to London.
John Evelyn's Diary 1648 November. 29th November, 1648. Myself, with Mr. Thomas Offley, and Lady Gerrard, christened my niece Mary, eldest daughter of my brother, George Evelyn (31), by my Lady Cotton, his second wife. I presented my niece a piece of plate which cost me £18, and caused this inscription to be set on it—
In memoriam facti.
Anno cIc Ix. xliix. Cal. Decem. viii. Virginum castiss: Xtianorum innocentis: Nept: suavis: Mariæ. Johan. Evelynus Avunculus et Susceptor Vasculum hoc cum Epigraphe L. M. Q. D.
Ave Maria Gratiâ sis plena; Dominus tecum.
John Evelyn's Diary 1649 January. 22d January 1649. I went through a course of chemistry, at Sayes Court. Now was the Thames frozen over, and horrid tempests of wind.
The villany of the rebels proceeding now so far as to try, condemn, and murder our excellent King (48) on the 30th of this month, struck me with such horror, that I kept the day of his martyrdom a fast, and would not be present at that execrable wickedness; receiving the sad account of it from my brother George (31), and Mr. Owen, who came to visit me this afternoon, and recounted all the circumstances.
John Evelyn's Diary 1651 January. 1st January 1651. I wrote to my brother (33) at Wotton, about his garden and fountains. After evening prayer, Mr. Wainsford called on me: he had long been Consul at Aleppo, and told me many strange things of those countries, the Arabs especially.
Before 1652 George Evelyn of Wotton 1617-1699 and [his wife] Mary Offley -1664 were married.
John Evelyn's Diary 1652 March. 22 Mar 1652. I went with my brother Evelyn (34) to Wotton, to give him what directions I was able about his garden, which he was now desirous to put into some form; but for which he was to remove a mountain overgrown with huge trees and thicket, with a moat within ten yards of the house. This my brother immediately attempted, and that without great cost, for more than a hundred yards south, by digging down the mountain,and flinging it into a rapid stream; it not only carried away the sand, etc., but filled up the moat, and leveled that noble area, where now the garden and fountain is. The first occasion of my brother making this alteration was my building the little retiring place between the great wood eastward next the meadow, where, some time after my father's death, I made a triangular pond, or little stew, with an artificial rock after my coming out of Flanders.
John Evelyn's Diary 1652 April. 13 Apr 1652. News was brought me that Lady Cotton, my brother George's (34) wife was delivered of a [his son] son.
I was moved by a letter out of France to publish the letter which some time since I sent to Dean Cosin's (57) proselyted son; but I did not conceive it convenient, for fear of displeasing her Majesty (21), the Queen.
John Evelyn's Diary 1653 February. 22 Feb 1653. Was perfected the sealing, livery, and seisin of my purchase of Sayes Court. My brother (35), George Glanville, Mr. Scudamore, Mr. Offley, Co. William Glanville (son to Sergeant Glanville, sometime Speaker of the House of Commons), Co. Stephens, and several of my friends dining with me. I had bargained for £3,200, but I paid £3,500.
John Evelyn's Diary 1653 June. 08 Jun 1653. Came my brother George (35), Captain Evelyn, the great traveler, Mr. Muschamp, my cousin, Thomas Keightly, and a virtuoso, fastastical Simons, who had the talent of embossing so to the life.
John Evelyn's Diary 1659 May. 5th May 1659. I went to visit my brother (41) in London; and next day, to see a new opera, after the Italian way, in recitative music and scenes, much inferior to the Italian composure and magnificence; but it was prodigious that in a time of such public consternation such a vanity should be kept up, or permitted. I, being engaged with company, could not decently resist the going to see it, though my heart smote me for it.
John Evelyn's Diary 1659 May. 19th May 1659. Came to dine with me my Lord Galloway (49) and his son, a Scotch Lord and learned: also my brother (41) and his lady, Lord Berkeley and his lady, Mrs. Shirley, and the famous singer, Mrs. Knight, and other friends.
John Evelyn's Diary 1659 June. 7th June 1659. To London, to take leave of my brother (41), and see the foundations now laying for a long street and buildings in Hatton Garden, designed for a little town, lately an ample garden.
John Evelyn's Diary 1660 December. 6th December, 1660. I waited on my brother (43) and sister Evelyn to Court. Now were presented to his Majesty (30) those two rare pieces of drollery, or rather a Dutch Kitchen, painted by Dowe, so finely as hardly to be distinguished from enamel. I was also shown divers rich jewels and crystal vases; the rare head of Jo. Bellino, Titian's master; Christ in the Garden, by Hannibal Caracci; two incomparable heads, by Holbein; the Queen-Mother (51) in a miniature, almost as big as the life; an exquisite piece of carving; two unicorn's horns, etc. This in the closet.
John Evelyn's Diary 1662 September. 1st September 1662. Being invited by Lord Berkeley (34), I went to Durdans, where dined his Majesty (32), the Queen (23), Duke, Duchess (25), Prince Rupert (42), Prince Edward, and abundance of noblemen. I went, after dinner, to visit my brother (45) of Woodcot, my sister having been delivered of a son a little before, but who had now been two days dead.
On 08 Aug 1664 [his wife] Mary Offley -1664 died.
John Evelyn's Diary 1664 August. 9th August 1664. Went with my brother Richard (41) to Wotton, to visit and comfort my disconsolate brother (47); and on the 13th saw my friend, Mr. Charles Howard, at Dipden, near Dorking.
John Evelyn's Diary 1666 September. 06 Sep 1666. Thursday. I represented to his Majesty (36) the case of the French prisoners at war in my custody, and besought him that there might be still the same care of watching at all places contiguous to unseized houses. It is not indeed imaginable how extraordinary the vigilance and activity of the King (36) and the Duke (32) was, even laboring in person, and being present to command, order, reward, or encourage workmen; by which he showed his affection to his people, and gained theirs. Having, then, disposed of some under cure at the Savoy, I returned to Whitehall, where I dined at Mr. Offley's [Note. Not clear who Mr Offley is? John Evelyn's (45) brother George Evelyn of Wotton 1617-1699 (49) was married to [his wife] Mary Offley -1664], the groom-porter, who was my relation.
John Evelyn's Diary 1670 May. 26 May 1670. Receiving a letter from Mr. Philip Howard (41), Lord Almoner to the Queen, that Monsieur Evelin, first physician to Madame (who was now come to Dover to visit the King (39) her brother), was come to town, greatly desirous to see me; but his stay so short, that he could not come to me, I went with my brother (52) to meet him at the Tower, where he was seeing the magazines and other curiosities, having never before been in England: we renewed our alliance and friendship, with much regret on both sides that, he being to return toward Dover that evening, we could not enjoy one another any longer. How this French family, Ivelin, of Evelin, Normandy, a very ancient and noble house is grafted into our pedigree, see in the collection brought from Paris, 1650.
John Evelyn's Diary 1680 March. 3d March 1680. I dined at my Lord Mayor's, in order to the meeting of my Lady Beckford, whose daughter (a rich heiress) I had recommended to my brother (62) of Wotton for his only [his son] son (27), she being the daughter of the lady by Mr. Eversfield, a Sussex gentleman.
On 10 Feb 1681 [his son] John Evelyn of Wotton 1652-1691 (28) and Catherine Eversfield were married at Henry VII Chapel, Westminster Abbey by the Bishop of Rochester John Dolben (56). She being the heir of her father bought £8000 to the marriage.
John Evelyn's Diary 1694 March. 30 Mar 1694. I went to the Duke of Norfolk (39), to desire him to make cousin Evelyn of Nutfield (52) one of the Deputy-Lieutenants of Surrey, and entreat him to dismiss my brother (76), now unable to serve by reason of age and infirmity. The Duke (39) granted the one, but would not suffer my brother (76) to resign his commission, desiring he should keep the honor of it during his life, though he could not act. He professed great kindness to our family.
John Evelyn's Diary 1694 May. 04 May 1694. I went this day with my wife (59) and four servants from Sayes Court, removing much furniture of all sorts, books, pictures, hangings, bedding, etc., to furnish the apartment my brother (76) assigned me, and now, after more than forty years, to spend the rest of my days with him at Wotton, where I was born; leaving my house at Deptford full furnished, and three servants, to my son-in-law Draper, to pass the summer in, and such longer time as he should think fit to make use of it.
John Evelyn's Diary 1694 May. 06 May 1694. This being the first Sunday in the month, the blessed sacrament of the Lord's Supper ought to have been celebrated at Wotton church, but in this parish it is exceedingly neglected, so that, unless at the four great feasts, there is no communion hereabouts; which is a great fault both in ministers and people. I have spoken to my brother (76), who is the patron, to discourse the minister about it. Scarcely one shower has fallen since the beginning of April.
John Evelyn's Diary 1695 March. 24 Mar 1695. Easter Day. Mr. Duncomb, parson of this parish, preached, which he hardly comes to above once a year though but seven or eight miles off; a florid discourse, read out of his notes. The Holy Sacrament followed, which he administered with very little reverence, leaving out many prayers and exhortations; nor was there any oblation. This ought to be reformed, but my good brother (77) did not well consider when he gave away this living and the next [Abinger].
John Evelyn's Diary 1699. 04 Oct 1699. My worthy brother (82) died at Wotton, in the 83d year of his age, of perfect memory and understanding. He was religious, sober, and temperate, and of so hospitable a nature, that no family in the county maintained that ancient custom of keeping, as it were, open house the whole year in the same manner, or gave more noble or free entertainment to the county on all occasions, so that his house was never free. There were sometimes twenty persons more than his family, and some that stayed there all the summer, to his no small expense; by this he gained the universal love of the county. He was born at Wotton, went from the free school at Guildford to Trinity College, Oxford, thence to the Middle Temple, as gentlemen of the best quality did, but without intention to study the law as a profession. He married the daughter of Colwall, of a worthy and ancient family in Leicestershire, by whom he had one son; she dying in 1643, left George her son an infant, who being educated liberally, after traveling abroad, returned and married one Mrs. Gore, by whom he had several children, but only three daughters survived. He was a young man of good understanding, but, over-indulging his ease and pleasure, grew so very corpulent, contrary to the constitution of the rest of his father's relations, that he died. My brother afterward married a noble and honorable lady, relict of Sir John Cotton, she being an Offley, a worthy and ancient Staffordshire family, by whom he had several children of both sexes. This lady died, leaving only two daughters and a son. The younger daughter died before marriage; the other afterward married Sir Cyril Wych (67), a noble and learned gentleman (son of Sir —— Wych), who had been Ambassador at Constantinople, and was afterward made one of the Lords Justices of Ireland. Before this marriage, her only [his son] brother married the daughter of —— Eversfield, of Sussex, of an honorable family, but left a widow without any child living; he died about 1691, and his wife not many years after, and my brother resettled the whole estate on me. His sister, Wych, had a portion of £6,000, to which was added £300 more; the three other daughters, with what I added, had about £5,000 each. My brother died on the 5th of October, in a good old age and great reputation, making his beloved daughter, Lady Wych, sole executrix, leaving me only his library and some pictures of my father, mother, etc. She buried him with extraordinary solemnity, rather as a nobleman than as a private gentleman. There were, as I computed, above 2,000 persons at the funeral, all the gentlemen of the county doing him the last honors. I returned to London, till my lady should dispose of herself and family.
On 05 Oct 1699 George Evelyn of Wotton 1617-1699 (82) died.
John Evelyn's Diary 1700. 25 Jan 1700. I went to Wotton, the first time after my brother's funeral, to furnish the house with necessaries, Lady Wych and my nephew Glanville, the executors having sold and disposed of what goods were there of my brother's. The weather was now altering into sharp and hard frost.
One Stephens, who preached before the House of Commons on King Charles's Martyrdom, told them that the observation of that day was not intended out of any detestation of his murder, but to be a lesson to other Kings and Rulers, how they ought to behave themselves toward their subjects, lest they should come to the same end. This was so resented that, though it was usual to desire these anniversary sermons to be printed, they refused thanks to him, and ordered that in future no one should preach before them, who was not either a Dean or a Doctor of Divinity.
John Evelyn's Diary Editor's Introduction. October, 1699, his elder brother, George Evelyn, dying without male issue, aged eighty-three, he succeeded to the paternal estate; and in May following, he quitted Sayes Court and went to Wotton, where he passed the remainder of his life, with the exception of occasional visits to London, where he retained a house. In the great storm of 1703, he mentions in his last edition of the "Sylva," above one thousand trees were blown down in sight of his residence.
John Evelyn's Diary 1620-1636 Birth and Childhood. The place of my birth was Wotton, in the parish of Wotton, or Blackheath, in the county of Surrey, the then mansion-house of my [his father] father, left him by my grandfather, afterward and now my eldest brother's. It is situated in the most southern part of the shire; and, though in a valley, yet really upon part of Leith Hill, one of the most eminent in England for the prodigious prospect to be seen from its summit, though by few observed. From it may be discerned twelve or thirteen counties, with part of the sea on the coast of Sussex, in a serene day. The house is large and ancient, suitable to those hospitable times, and so sweetly environed with those delicious streams and venerable woods, as in the judgment of strangers as well as Englishmen it may be compared to one of the most pleasant seats in the nation, and most tempting for a great person and a wanton purse to render it conspicuous. It has rising grounds, meadows, woods, and water, in abundance.
Paternal Family Tree: Evelyn
Father: Richard Evelyn of Wotton 1587-1640
GrandFather: George Evelyn of Long Ditton 1530-1603
Great GrandFather: John Evelyn of Kingston
Mother: Eleanor Stansfield 1598-1635
GrandFather: John Stansfield 1567-1627
GrandMother: Eleanor Comber -1651