George Evelyn was the eldest son of Richard Evelyn (John Evelyn’s father) and was born at Wotton, June 18, 1617. He was educated at the free school at Guildford, and afterwards completed his education at Trinity College, Oxford.
After leaving Oxford George entered himself at the Middle Temple, which it was the custom for young men of good position to do, though he had no intention of taking up the law as a profession. On May 28, 1640, at the age of twenty-three, he married a daughter of Daniel Caldwell by Mary, daughter of George Buncombe, Esq., of Albury. The wedding took place at Albury, near Wotton. The bride was an heiress, according to the Diary, and belonged to an old Leicestershire family. Her married life lasted but a short time, as she died four years later, May 15, 1644. She left one son, who was christened George.
George’s father died about seven months after this marriage, and George being the eldest son succeeded him at Wotton. He married again, and his second wife was Mary, daughter of Robert Offley of Kettleby, Cheshire, and Dalby, Leicestershire. She was the widow of Sir John Cotton of Kent, and belonged to an old Staffordshire family. In l641, George Evelyn became M.P. for Reigate at the age of twenty- four. He stood for Haslemere in 1661, for Surrey in 1678-79, and again in 1679, 1680-81, and 1688-89.
John Evelyn writes in his Diary, January 1, 1651 : “I wrote to my brother at Wotton about his garden and fountaines.”
In the year 1652, George Evelyn set about to improve the garden at Wotton. He intended to lay out the garden in the Italian style, which had been newly introduced into England by Injgo Jones, the celebrated architect of the THE WOTTON BRANCH 43 Italian style. The latter died the year before, July 5, 1651. Up till now the house had remained almost untouched since the reign of Elizabeth when George Evelyn, the original purchaser, lived there. It was then surrounded by a moat. His grandson George had two advisers in his work of planning the garden ; one was his younger brother John and the other was Captain George Evelyn, the son of his uncle Robert and formerly Governor of Kent Island. This Captain George Evelyn had recently been employed in laying out the mansion and grounds of Albury Park, near Wotton, which was then the Surrey residence of the Dukes of Norfolk.