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.



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