John Evelyn.

Diary and correspondence, To which is subjoined the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, and between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryJohn EvelynDiary and correspondence, To which is subjoined the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, and between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne (Volume 1) → online text (page 3 of 46)
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Quern Pietas, Probitas, claris natalibus ortura,

Prolis amor dulcis, Vitaq. labe carens,
Religionis opus, quern Vota Precesq; suorum,

Et morum niveus candor, aperta manus,
Reddebant olim charum patriseq; suisq;

Vertitur in cineres hac Evelinus humo.
Lector, ne doleas, cum sis mortalis, abito,

Et sortis non sis immemor ipse tuse.

Obiit Quinquagenarius
corporis statu vegeto, vicesimo die Decembris anno


Salutls humanae

1640, Liberorum quiuq. Pater,

relictis quatuor superstitibus, tribus

scil. filiis cum

unica tantum filia.

Festinantes sequimur,

On another monument, fixed to the same wall :


the precious memory of


the dearly beloved wife of Richard Evelyn, Esq.
a rare example of Piety, Loyalty, Prudence, and Charity,

a happy Mother of five Children,

George, John, Richard, Elizabeth, and Jane ;

who in the 37th year of her age,

the 22d of her marriage,
and the 1635th of Man's Redemption,

put on Immortality,

leaving her name as a monument of her perfections,
and her Perfections as a precedent for imitation.
Of her great worth to know, who seeketh more,
Must mount to Heaven, where she is gone before.

On a white marble, covering a tomb shaped like a coffin
raised about three feet above the floor, is inscribed :

Here lies the Body


of this place, second son

of Richard Evelyn, Esq. ;

who having serv'd the Publick

in several employments, of which that

of Commissioner of the Privy-Seal in the

Reign of King James the 2d was most

honourable, and perpetuated his fame

by far more lasting monuments than

those of Stone or Brass, his learned


and usefull Works, fell asleep the 27 day
of February 1705-6, being the 86 year

of his age, in full hope of a glorious

Resurrection, thro' Faith in Jesus Christ.

Living in an age of extraordinary

Events and Revolutions, he learnt

(as himself asserted) this Truth,

which pursuant to his intention

is here declared

That all is vanity which is not honest,
and that there is no solid wisdom

but in real Piety.
Of five Sons and three Daughters
born to him from his most
vertuous and excellent Wife,
Mary, sole daughter and heiress
of Sir Rich. Browne of Sayes
Court near Deptford in Kent,
onely one daughter, Susanna,
married to William Draper
Esq., of Adscomb in this
County, survived him ; the
two others dying in the
flower of their age, and
all the Sons very young ex-
cept one named John, who
deceased 24 March, 1698-9,
in the 45 year of his age,
leaving one son, John, and
one daughter, Elizabeth.

On another monument at the head of, and like the
former :

the best Daughter, Wife,

and Mother,

the most accomplished of women,
beloved, esteemed, admired,


and regretted, by all who knew her,

is deposited in this stone coffin,

according to her own desire, as near

as could be to her dear Husband

with whom she lived almost

Threescore years,

and survived not quite three, dying

at London, the 9 of Feb. 1708-9,

in the 74th year of her age.

In the Church of St. Nicholas, Deptford, on the east-
wall, to the south of the altar, is a marble mural tablet,
with the following inscription to the two children of Mr.
Evelyn, whose early loss he has so feelingly lamented in

his Diary :


Quiescit hoc sub marmore,
Una quiescit quicquid est amabile,
Patres quod optent, aut quod orbi lugeant ;
Genas decentes non, ut ante, risus

Lepore condit amplius ;
Morurn venustas, quanta paucis contigit,

Desideratur omnibus.

Linguae, Latina, Gallica,
Quas imbibit cum lacte materno, taceut.
Tentarat Artes, artiumque principiis

Pietatis elementa hauserat.
Libris inhsesit improbo labore

Ut sola mors divelleret.
Quod indoles, quod disciplina, quod labor

Possint, ab uno disceres.
Puer stupendus, qualis hie esset senex
Si fata vitro submiuistrassent iter !

Sed aliter est visum Deo :
Correptus ille febricula levi jacet,
Jacent tot una spes Parentum !


Vixit Ann. V. M. V. Ill super D.

Eheu ! delicias breves.
Quicquid placet mortale, non placet diu,
Quicquid placet mortale, ne placeat nimis.


eldest daughter of John Evelyn,
and Mary his wife, borne the last day of

September 1665, att Wootton in

the County of Snrrey. A beautifull

young woman, endowed with shining

Qualities both of body and mind, infinitly

pious, the delight of her Parents and Friends.

She dyed 17 March 1685 at the

age of 19 years, 5 months, 17 dayes,

regretted by all persons of worth

that knew her value.

A tablet adjoining the foregoing, is thus inscribed :

M. S.

Neere this place are deposited y e bodys

of Sir RICHARD BROWNE of Sayes-Court in Deptford, Knt ;

Of his wife Dame Joanna Vigorus of Langham in Essex,

deceased in Nov. 1618 aged 74 years.

This Richard was younger son of an ancient family of

Hitcham in Suffolk, seated afterwards at Horsly in Essex, who

Student in the Temple, was by Robert Dudley, the great Earle of


taken into the service of the Crowne when he went
Governor of the United Netherlands, and was afterwards
by Queene Elizabeth made Clearke of the Greene Cloth,
which honorable office he also continued under King James

untill the
time of hia death, May 1604, aged 65 years :


Of Christopher Browne, Esq., son and heire of Sir Richard, who

deceased in March 1645, aged 70 years ;

Of Thomasin his wife, da r of Benjamin Gonson of Much Bado
in Essex, Esq. whose grandfather William Gonson, and father

were successively Treasurers of the Navy to King Hen. VIII. ,

to K. Ed. VI.,
to Queene Mary, and Q. Elizabeth ; and died June 1638, aged

75 years ;
Of Sir Richard Browne, Knt. and Baronet, onely son of

Christopher ;

Of his wife Dame Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Pretyman of
Dry-field in Glocester shire, who deceased vi Octob r

1652, aged 42 years.

This Sir Richard was Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to
K. Charles y e First, and Cleark of the Council of his Ma*y, and to
K. Charles y e Second, and (after several foraigne and honorable

continued Resident in the Court of France from K. Cha. the I.

from K. Char. II d to the French-Kings LEWES XIII. and

the years 1641 (the beginning of our un-natural civile-warr)

untill the happy
Restauration of K. Cha. y e IF 1660 ; deceased xn Feb. A

1682-3 aged 78 y rs ;
and (according to ancient custome) willed to be interred in this


These all deceasing in the true Faith of Christ,

hope, through his merits, for a joyfull and blessed

Resurrection. X. A. P. D.




I WAS born (at "Wotton, 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 had been married about seven years, * and that my
mother had borne him three children ; viz. two daughters
and one son, about the 33rd year of his age, and the 23rd
of my mother's.

My father, named Richard, was of a sanguine com-
plexion, mixed with a dash of choler: his hair inclining to
light, which, though exceeding thick, became hoary by
that time he had attained to thirty years of age ; it was
somewhat curled towards the extremities; his beard,
which he wore a little peaked, as the mode was, of a
brownish colour, and so continued to the last, save that
it was somewhat mingled with grey hairs about his
cheeks; which, with his countenance, were clear and
fresh-coloured, 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

* He was married at St. Thomas's, South wark, 27th January, 1613. My
sister Eliza was born at nine at night, 28th November, 1614 ; Jane, at
four in the morning, 16th February, 1616 ; my brother George at nine
at night, Wednesday, 18th June, 1617 ; and my brother Richard, 9th
November, 1622.



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 honours and titles; being already
in that esteem with his country, that they could have
added little to him besides their burthen. 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.

My mother's name was Eleanor, f sole daughter and
heiress of John Standsfield, Esq., of an ancient and
honourable family (though now extinct) in Shropshire,
by his wife Eleanor Comber, of a good and well-known
house in Sussex. She was of proper personage, of a
brown complexion ; her eyes and hair of a lovely black ;
of constitution more inclined to a religious melancholy,
or pious sadness ; of a rare memory, and most exemplary
life ; for economy and prudence, esteemed one of the most
conspicuous in her country : which rendered her loss
much deplored both by those who knew, and such as
only heard of her.

Thus much, in brief, touching my parents ; nor was it
reasonable I should speak less of them to whom I owe
so much.

The place of my birth was "Wotton, in the parish of
Wotton, or Blackheath, in the county of Surrey, the then

* Formerly the two counties had, in general, only one sheriff, though
sometimes distinct ones. Ju 1637, each county had its sheriff, and so it
has continued ever since.

f She was born 17th November, 1598, in Sussex, near to Lewes.

1620.] JOHN EVELYN. $

mansion-house of my father, left him by my grand-
father, afterwards 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 pros-
pect 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 tempting and 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.
The distance from London little more than twenty
miles,f and yet so securely placed, as if it were one
hundred ; three miles from Dorking, which serves it abun-
dantly with provisions as well of land as sea; six from
Guildford, twelve from Kingston. { I "will say nothing
of the air, because the pre-eminence is universally given
to Surrey, the soil being dry and sandy ; but I should
speak much of the gardens, fountains, and groves that
adorn it, were they not as generally known to be amongst
the most natural, and (till this later and universal luxury
of the whole nation, since abounding in such expenses)
the most magnificent that England afforded, and which
indeed gave one of the first examples to that elegancy,
since so much in vogue and followed, for the managing
of their waters, and other elegancies of that nature.
Let me add, the contiguity of five or six manors, the
patronage of the livings about it, and what Themistocles
pronounced for none of the least advantages the good
neighbourhood: all which conspire here to render it an
honourable and handsome royalty, fit for the present
possessor, my worthy brother, and his noble lady, || whose

* 993 feet.

t Computed miles ; it is a little more than twenty-six measured miles.

J Eight, and fourteen.

Seven manors, two advowsons, and a chapel of ease.

|| Lady Cotton, widow.

B 2


constant liberality gives them title both to the place and
the affections of all that know them. Thus, with the

Nescio qu& natale solum dulcedine cunctos
Due-it, et immemores non sinet esse sui.

I had given me the name of my grandfather, my
mother's father, who, together with a sister of Sir Thomas
Evelyn of Long Ditton, and Mr. Comber, a near relation
of my mother, were my susceptors. The solemnity (yet
upon what accident I know not, unless some indisposition
in me) was performed in the dining-room by Parson
Higham, the present incumbent of the parish, according
to the forms prescribed by the then glorious Church of

I was now (in regard to my mother's weakness, or
rather custom of persons of quality) put to nurse to one
Peter, a neighbour's wife and tenant, of a good, comely,
brown, wholesome complexion, and in a most sweet place
towards the hills, flanked with wood and refreshed with
streams ; the affection to which kind of solitude I sucked
in with my very milk. It appears, by a note of my
father's, that I sucked till 17th January, 1622; or at least
I came not home before.

The very first thing that I can call to memory, and
from which time forward I began to observe, was this
year (1623) my youngest brother being in his nurse's
arms, who being then 1 two years and nine days younger
than myself, was the last child of my dear parents.

1624. I was not initiated into any rudiments till near
four years of age, and then one Frier taught us at the
church-porch of Wotton; and I do perfectly remember
the great talk and stir about II Conde Gundamar, now
Ambassador from Spain (for near about this time was
the match of our Prince with the Infanta proposed), and
the effects of that comet, 1618, still working in the prodi-
gious revolutions now beginning in Europe, especially
in Germany, whose sad commotions sprang from the
Bohemians' defection from the Emperor Matthias ; upon
which quarrel the Swedes broke in, giving umbrage to

* I had given me two handsome pieces of very curiously wrought and gilt

1624-8.] JOHN EVELYN. 5

the rest of the princes, and the whole Christian world
cause to deplore it, as never since enjoying perfect tran-

1625. I was this year (being the first of the reign of
King Charles) sent by my father to Lewes, in Sussex, to be
with my grandfather, Standsfield, with whom I passed my
childhood. This was the year in which the pestilence
was so epidemical, that there died in London 5000
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.

1626. My picture was drawn in oil by one Chanterell,
no ill painter.

1627. My grandfather, Standsfield, died this year, on
the 5th of February : I remember perfectly the solemnity
at his funeral. He was buried in the parish church of All
Souls, where my grandmother, his second wife, erected
him a pious monument. About this time, was the con-
secration of the Church of South Mailing, near Lewes,
by Dr. Field, Bishop of Oxford; one Mr. Coxhall preached,
who was afterwards minister; the building whereof was
chiefly procured by my grandfather, who having the im-
propriation, gave 20/. a-year out of it to* this churdh. I
afterwards sold the impropriation. I laid one of the
first stones at the building of the church.

It was not till the year 1628, that I was put to learn
my Latin rudiments, and to write, of one Citolin, a
Frenchman, in Lewes. I very well remember that
general muster previous to the Isle of Re's expedition,
and that I was one day awakened in the morning with
the news of the Duke of Buckingham being slain by that
wretch, Felton, after our disgrace before La Rochelle.
And I now took so extraordinary a fancy to drawing and
designing, that I could never after wean my inclinations
from it, to the expense of much precious time, which might
have been more advantageously employed. I was now
put to school to one Mr. Potts, in the Cliff, at Lewes,from
whom, on the 7th of January, 1630, being the day after
Epiphany, I went to the free-school at Southover, near the
town, of which one Agnes Morley had been the foundress,
and now Edward Snatt was the master, under whom I


remained till I was sent to the University.* This year,
my grandmother (with whom I sojourned) being married
to one Mr. Newton, a learned and most religious gentle-
man, we went from the Cliff to dwell at his house in
Southover. I do most perfectly remember the jubilee
which was universally expressed for the happy birth of
the Prince of Wales, 29th of May, now Charles the
Second, our most gracious Sovereign.

1631. There happened now an extraordinary dearth in
England, corn bearing an excessive price ; and, in imi-
tation of what I had seen my father do, I began to observe
matters more punctually, which I did use to set down in
a blank almanack. The Lord of Castlehaven's arraignment
for many shameful exorbitances was now all the talk, and
the birth of the Princess Mary, afterwards Princess of

21st October, 1632. My eldest sister 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 afterwards sent for into
Surrey, and my father would willingly have weaned me
from my fondness of my too indulgent grandmother,
intending to have placed me at Eton; but, not being
so provident for* my own benefit, and unreasonably ter-
rified with the report of the severe discipline there, I was
sent back to Lewes : 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,f where I was much delighted with
the gardens and curiosities. Thence, we returned to the
Lady Darcy's, at Sutton, thence to Wotton ; and, on the
16th of August following, 1633, back to Lewes.

November 3rd, 1633. This year my father was ap-
pointed Sheriff, the last, as I think, who served in that
honourable office for Surrey and Sussex, before they were
disjoined. He had 116 servants in liveries, every one

* Long after, Mr. Evelyn paid great respect to this gentleman, as appears
by his letters.

t The ancient and once magnificent seat of the noble family of the

1633-4.] JOHN EVELYN. 7

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 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 was afterwards
most unjustly and spitefully molested by that jeering
judge, Kichardson,* for reprieving the execution of a
woman, to gratify my Lord of Lindsey, then Admiral; but
out of this he emerged with as much honour as trouble.
The king made this year his progress into Scotland, and
Duke James was born.

15th December, 1634. My dear sister, Darcy, departed
this life, being arrived to her 20th year of age ; in virtue
advanced beyond her years, or the merit of her husband,
the worst of men. She had been brought to bed the 2nd
of June before, but the infant died soon after her, the
24th of December; I was therefore sent for home the
second time, to celebrate the obsequies of my sister, who
was interred in a very honourable manner in our dormi-
tory joining to the parish church,f where now her monu-
ment stands.

1635. But my dear mother being now dangerously
sick, I was, on the 3rd of September following, sent for
to "Wotton, whom I found so far spent, that all human
assistance failing, she in a most heavenly manner de-
parted this life upon the 29th of the same month, about
eight in the evening of Michaelmas-day. It was a malig-
nant fever which took her away, about the 37th of her age,
and 22nd of her marriage, to our irreparable loss, and the
regret of all that knew her. Certain it is, that the visible

* He was made a Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in 1 626, and of the
King's Bench in 1631. There is a Monument for him in Westminster Abbey.
Fuller says he lived too near the time to speak fully of him. He took on
him to issue an order against keeping wakes on Sundays, which Laud,
then Bishop of Bath and Wells, took up as an infringement of the rights of
bishops, and got him severely reprimanded at the Council-table. He was
owner of Starborough Castle, in Lingfield, in Surrey. Manning and Bray's
Jlistory of Surrey, rol. ii. p. 345.

f Of Wotton.


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 extras
ordinary 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 by the hand, she
recommended us to his care; and, because she was ex-
tremely zealous for the education of my younger brother,
she requested my father that he might be sent with me
to Lewes ; and so, having importuned him that what he
designed to bestow on her funeral, he would rather dis-
pose among the poor, she laboured 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.

Though her physicians, Dr. Meverell, Dr. Clement and
Dr. Rand, had given over all hopes of her recovery, and
Sir Sanders Duncombe 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 dis-
solution, she laid her hand on every one of her children ;
and, taking solemn leave of my father, 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, Darcy, the 3rd of October, at
night, but with no mean ceremony.

It was the 3rd of the ensuing November, after my
brother George was gone back to Oxford, ere I returned

1637.] JOHN EVELYN. 9

to Lewes, when I made way, according to instructions
received of my father, for my brother Richard, who was
sent the 12th after.

1636. This year being extremely dry, the pestilence
much increased in London, and divers parts of England.

13th February, 1637. I was especially admitted (and, as
I remember, my other brother) into the Middle Temple,
London, though absent, and as yet at school. There
were now large contributions to the distressed Palatinates.

The 10th of December my father sent a servant to
bring us necessaries, and the plague beginning now to
cease, on the 3rd of April, 1637, I left school, where, till
about the last year, I had been extremely remiss in my

Online LibraryJohn EvelynDiary and correspondence, To which is subjoined the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, and between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne (Volume 1) → online text (page 3 of 46)