Biography of Richard Evelyn of Wotton 1587-1640

Paternal Family Tree: Evelyn

1625 Plague

1640 Short Parliament

1640 Attack on Lambeth Palace

In 1587 Richard Evelyn of Wotton was born to George Evelyn of Long Ditton (age 57).

On 30 May 1603 [his father] George Evelyn of Long Ditton (age 73) died.

On 27 Jan 1614 Richard Evelyn of Wotton (age 27) and Eleanor Stansfield (age 15) were married.

After 27 Jan 1614 [his daughter] Elizabeth Evelyn was born to Richard Evelyn of Wotton (age 27) and [his wife] Eleanor Stansfield (age 15).

On 18 Jun 1617 [his son] George Evelyn of Wotton was born to Richard Evelyn of Wotton (age 30) and [his wife] Eleanor Stansfield (age 18).

On 31 Oct 1620 [his son] John Evelyn was born to Richard Evelyn of Wotton (age 33) and [his wife] Eleanor Stansfield (age 21).

Evelyn's Diary. I was born at Wotton, Surrey [Map], in the County of Surrey, about twenty minutes past two in the morning, being on Tuesday the 31st and last of October, 1620, after my father (age 33) had been married about seven years, and that my [his wife] mother (age 21) had borne him three children; viz, two daughters and one son, about the 33d year of his age, and the 23d of my mother's.

On 09 Nov 1622 [his son] Richard Evelyn was born to Richard Evelyn of Wotton (age 35) and [his wife] Eleanor Stansfield (age 23).

1625 Plague

Evelyn's Diary. 1625. I was this year (being the first of the reign of King Charles (age 24)) sent by my father (age 38) to Lewes [Map], in Sussex, to be with my grandfather, [his father-in-law] Standsfield (age 58), with whom I passed my childhood. This was the year in which the pestilence was so epidemical, that there died in London 5,000 a week, and I well remember the strict watches and examinations upon the ways as we passed; and I was shortly after so dangerously sick of a fever that (as I have heard) the physicians despaired of me.

Evelyn's Diary. 1632. My [his daughter] eldest sister (age 17) was married to Edward Darcy, Esq, who little deserved so excellent a person, a woman of so rare virtue. I was not present at the nuptials; but I was soon afterward sent for into Surrey, and my father (age 45) would willingly have weaned me from my fondness of my too indulgent grandmother, intending to have placed me at Eton College [Map]; but, not being so provident for my own benefit, and unreasonably terrified with the report of the severe discipline there, I was sent back to Lewes [Map]; which perverseness of mine I have since a thousand times deplored. This was the first time that ever my parents had seen all their children together in prosperity. While I was now trifling at home, I saw London, where I lay one night only. The next day, I dined at Beddington, Surrey, where I was much delighted with the gardens and curiosities. Thence, we returned to the Baroness Darcy's (age 17), at Sutton; thence to Wotton, Surrey [Map]; and, on the 16th of August following, 1633, back to Lewes [Map].

On 21 Oct 1632 [his son-in-law] Edward Darcy and [his daughter] Elizabeth Evelyn (age 18) were married.

Evelyn's Diary. 03 Nov 1633. This year my father (age 46) was appointed Sheriff, the last, as I think, who served in that honorable office for Surrey and Sussex, before they were disjoined. He had 116 servants in liveries, every one liveried in green satin doublets; divers gentlemen and persons of quality waited on him in the same garb and habit, which at that time (when thirty or forty was the usual retinue of the High Sheriff) was esteemed a great matter. Nor was this out of the least vanity that my father (age 46) exceeded (who was one of the greatest decliners of it); but because he could not refuse the civility of his friends and relations, who voluntarily came themselves, or sent in their servants. But my father (age 46) was afterward most unjustly and spitefully molested by that jeering judge, Richardson, for reprieving the execution of a woman, to gratify my Lord of Lindsey, then Admiral: but out of this he emerged with as much honor as trouble. The king made this year his progress into Scotland, and Duke James was born.

Evelyn's Diary. 03 Nov 1633. Though her physicians, Dr. Meverell, Dr. Clement, and Dr. Rand, had given over all hopes of her recovery, and Sir Sanders Duncombe (age 63) had tried his celebrated and famous powder, yet she was many days impairing, and endured the sharpest conflicts of her sickness with admirable patience and most Christian resignation, retaining both her intellectuals and ardent affections for her dissolution, to the very article of her departure. When near her dissolution, she laid her hand on every one of her children; and taking solemn leave of my father (age 46), with elevated heart and eyes, she quietly expired, and resigned her soul to God. Thus ended that prudent and pious woman, in the flower of her age, to the inconsolable affliction of her husband, irreparable loss of her children, and universal regret of all that knew her. She was interred, as near as might be, to her daughter [his daughter] Darcy (age 19), the 3d of October, at night, but with no mean ceremony.

On 15 Dec 1634 [his daughter] Elizabeth Evelyn (age 20) died. She was buried in St John's Church, Wotton.

Evelyn's Diary. 1635. But my dear [his wife] mother (age 36) being now dangerously sick, I was, on the 3d of September following, sent for to Wotton, Surrey [Map]. Whom I found so far spent, that, all human assistance failing, she in a most heavenly manner departed this life upon the 29th of the same month, about eight in the evening of Michaelmas-day. It was a malignant fever which took her away, about the 37th of her age, and 22d of her marriage, to our irreparable loss and the regret of all that knew her. Certain it is, that the visible cause of her indisposition proceeded from grief upon the loss of her daughter, and the infant that followed it; and it is as certain, that when she perceived the peril whereto its excess had engaged her, she strove to compose herself and allay it; but it was too late, and she was forced to succumb. Therefore summoning all her children then living (I shall never forget it), she expressed herself in a manner so heavenly, with instructions so pious and Christian, as made us strangely sensible of the extraordinary loss then imminent; after which, embracing every one of us she gave to each a ring with her blessing and dismissed us. Then, taking my father (age 48) by the hand, she recommended us to his care; and, because she was extremely zealous for the education of my [his son] younger brother (age 12), she requested my father (age 48) that he might be sent with me to Lewes [Map]; and so having importuned him that what he designed to bestow on her funeral, he would rather dispose among the poor, she labored to compose herself for the blessed change which she now expected. There was not a servant in the house whom she did not expressly send for, advise, and infinitely affect with her counsel. Thus she continued to employ her intervals, either instructing her relations, or preparing of herself.

On 29 Sep 1635 [his wife] Eleanor Stansfield (age 36) died. On 03 Oct 1635 she was buried at St John's Church, Wotton.

Evelyn's Diary. 03 Nov 1635. It was the 3d of the ensuing November, after my brother [his son] George (age 18) was gone back to Oxford, ere I returned to Lewes [Map], when I made way, according to instructions received of my father (age 48), for my brother [his son] Richard (age 13), who was sent the 12th after.

Evelyn's Diary. 10 Dec 1636. The 10th of December my father (age 49) sent a servant to bring us necessaries, and the plague beginning now to cease, on the 3d of April 1637, I left school, where, till about the last year, I have been extremely remiss in my studies; so as I went to the University rather out of shame of abiding longer at school, than for any fitness, as by sad experience I found: which put me to re-learn all that I had neglected, or but perfunctorily gained.

Evelyn's Diary. 10 May 1637. I was admitted a Fellow-commoner of Baliol College, Oxford; and, on the 29th, I was matriculated in the vestry of St. Mary's, where I subscribed the Articles, and took the oaths: Dr. Baily, head of St. John's, being vice-chancellor, afterward bishop. It appears by a letter of my father's (age 50), that he was upon treaty with one Mr. Bathurst (age 17) (afterward Doctor and President), of Trinity College, who should have been my tutor; but, lest my brother's tutor, Dr. Hobbs, more zealous in his life than industrious to his pupils, should receive it as an affront, and especially for that Fellow-commoners in Baliol were no more exempt from exercise than the meanest scholars there, my father (age 50) sent me thither to one Mr. George Bradshaw (nomen invisum! yet the son of an excellent father, beneficed in Surrey). I ever thought my tutor had parts enough; but as his ambition made him much suspected of the College, so his grudge to Dr. Lawrence, the governor of it (whom he afterward supplanted), took up so much of his time, that he seldom or never had the opportunity to discharge his duty to his scholars. This I perceiving, associated myself with one Mr. James Thicknesse (then a young man of the foundation, afterward a Fellow of the house), by whose learned and friendly conversation I received great advantage. At my first arrival, Dr. Parkhurst was master: and after his decease, Dr. Lawrence, a chaplain of his Majesty's and Margaret Professor, succeeded, an acute and learned person; nor do I much reproach his severity, considering that the extraordinary remissness of discipline had (till his coming) much detracted from the reputation of that College.

After 1638 [his son-in-law] William Glanville (age 19) and [his daughter] Jane Evelyn were married.

Evelyn's Diary. 13 Apr 1638. My father (age 51) ordered that I should begin to manage my own expenses, which till then my tutor had done; at which I was much satisfied.

Short Parliament

Evelyn's Diary. 11 Apr 1640. I went to London to see the solemnity of his Majesty's (age 39) riding through the city in state to the Short Parliament, which began the 13th following,-a very glorious and magnificent sight, the King (age 39) circled with his royal diadem and the affections of his people: but the day after I returned to Wotton, Surrey [Map] again, where I stayed, my father's (age 53) indisposition suffering great intervals, till April 27th, when I was sent to London to be first resident at the Middle Temple: so as my being at the University, in regard of these avocations, was of very small benefit to me. Upon May the 5th following, was the Parliament unhappily dissolved; and, on the 20th I returned with my brother George to Wotton, Surrey [Map], who, on the 28th of the same month, was married at Albury to Mrs. Caldwell (an heiress of an ancient Leicestershire family, where part of the nuptials were celebrated).

Evelyn's Diary. 10 Jun 1640. I repaired with my [his son] brother (age 17) to the term, to go into our new lodgings (that were formerly in Essex-court), being a very handsome apartment just over against the Hall-court, but four pair of stairs high, which gave us the advantage of the fairer prospect; but did not much contribute to the love of that impolished study, to which (I suppose) my father (age 53) had designed me, when he paid £145 to purchase our present lives, and assignments afterward.

Attack on Lambeth Palace

Evelyn's Diary. 10 Jun 1640. London, and especially the Court, were at this period in frequent disorders, and great insolences were committed by the abused and too happy City: in particular, the Bishop of Canterbury's (age 66) Palace [Map] at Lambeth was assaulted by a rude rabble from Southwark, Surrey [Map], my Lord Chamberlain (age 55) imprisoned and many scandalous libels and invectives scattered about the streets, to the reproach of Government, and the fermentation of our since distractions: so that, upon the 25th of June, I was sent for to Wotton, Surrey [Map], and the 27th after, my father's (age 53) indisposition augmenting, by advice of the physicians he repaired to the Bath, Somerset [Map].

Evelyn's Diary. 07 Jul 1640. My brother [his son] George (age 23) and I, understanding the peril my father (age 53) was in upon a sudden attack of his infirmity, rode post from Guildford, Surrey [Map] 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 in his litter.

On 24 Dec 1640 Richard Evelyn of Wotton (age 53) died.

Evelyn's Diary. 30 Dec 1640. But my father (deceased) being by this time entered into a dropsy, an indisposition the most unsuspected, being a person so exemplarily temperate, and of admirable regimen, hastened me back to Wotton, Surrey [Map], December the 12th; where, the 24th following, between twelve and one o'clock at noon, departed this life that excellent man and indulgent parent, retaining his senses and piety to the last, which he most tenderly expressed in blessing us, whom he now left to the world and the worst of times, while he was taken from the evil to come.

Evelyn's Diary. 02 Jan 1641. It was a sad and lugubrious beginning of the year, when, on the 2nd of January 1641, we at night followed the mourning hearse to the church at Wotton; when, after a sermon and funeral oration by the minister, my father was interred near his formerly erected monument, and mingled with the ashes of our [his former wife] mother, his dear wife. Thus we were bereft of both our parents in a period when we most of all stood in need of their counsel and assistance, especially myself, of a raw, vain, uncertain, and very unwary inclination; but so it pleased God to make trial of my conduct in a conjuncture of the greatest and most prodigious hazard that ever the youth of England saw; and, if I did not amidst all this impeach my liberty nor my virtue with the rest who made shipwreck of both, it was more the infinite goodness and mercy of God than the least providence or discretion of mine own, who now thought of nothing but the pursuit of vanity, and the confused imaginations of young men.

Evelyn's Diary. 08 Mar 1681. Visited and dined at the Earl of Essex's (age 49), with whom I spent most of the afternoon alone. Thence to my (yet living) godmother and kinswoman, Mrs. Keightley, sister to Sir Thomas Evelyn and niece to my father, being now eighty-six years of age, sprightly, and in perfect health, her eyes serving her as well as ever, and of a comely countenance, that one would not suppose her above fifty.

[his daughter] Jane Evelyn was born to Richard Evelyn of Wotton and Eleanor Stansfield.

Evelyn's Diary. The place of my birth was Wotton, Surrey [Map], in the parish of Wotton, or Blackheath, in the county of Surrey, the then mansion-house of my father, left him by my [his father] grandfather, afterward and now my [his son] 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.

Evelyn's Diary. My father, named Richard, was of a sanguine complexion, mixed with a dash of choler: his hair inclining to light, which, though exceedingly thick, became hoary by the time he had attained to thirty years of age; it was somewhat curled toward the extremities; his beard, which he wore a little peaked, as the mode was, of a brownish color, and so continued to the last, save that it was somewhat mingled with gray hairs about his cheeks, which, with his countenance, were clear and fresh-colored; his eyes extraordinary quick and piercing; an ample forehead,-in sum, a very well-composed visage and manly aspect: for the rest, he was but low of stature, yet very strong. He was, for his life, so exact and temperate, that I have heard he had never been surprised by excess, being ascetic and sparing. His wisdom was great, and his judgment most acute; of solid discourse, affable, humble, and in nothing affected; of a thriving, neat, silent, and methodical genius, discreetly severe, yet liberal upon all just occasions, both to his children, to strangers, and servants; a lover of hospitality; and, in brief, of a singular and Christian moderation in all his actions; not illiterate, nor obscure, as, having continued Justice of the Peace and of the Quorum, he served his country as High Sheriff, being, as I take it, the last dignified with that office for Sussex and Surrey together, the same year, before their separation. He was yet a studious decliner of honors and titles; being already in that esteem with his country, that they could have added little to him besides their burden. He was a person of that rare conversation that, upon frequent recollection, and calling to mind passages of his life and discourse, I could never charge him with the least passion, or inadvertency. His estate was esteemed about £4000 per annum, well wooded, and full of timber.

Ancestors of Richard Evelyn of Wotton 1587-1640

Richard Evelyn of Wotton