Helen Evelyn.

The history of the Evelyn family, with a special memoir of William John Evelyn online

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" To Mr. Turner.
" I have heard of a family who are in need of a butler
and I wish to know if you would like to undertake the situa-
tion as I think you would suit the family. They pass a
portion of the year on the Continent, and, being a small
family, have no footman. When at home they live in the
country. Although only a small establishment is kept the
situation may be considered a very comfortable one and
should you like to undertake it, in your answer mention
the wages you would expect, and if not, let me know if you
think Mrs. Evelyn's footman would suit, and if he would
I have no objection to live out of London, and the wages he
would expect. I beg you will also let me know if Mrs.
Evelyn's late housemaid is in want of a situation, as a lady
of my acquaintance is looking out for a person to take care
of a house in London in the course of a few weeks until the
house is again let and she wishes to engage one as maid of
1 all work who would not object to live at a short distance from
1 London when her services would not be required in the London
house. Let me know the housemaid's answer to this & as
to the wages she would require.

" Yours most obediently,

M. J. Evelyn.
*' Wotton, Sept. 6th, 1841."



John Evelyn and his wife had four children, viz. —

John, born at Calcutta, January 25, 1788, and baptized

there February 23, 1788. He only lived till he was five years

old. He died at Bath, October 1793, and was buried there

October 22.

The following is an extract from a letter from Mrs. Bos-

cawen to her cousin, Mrs. Sayer, daughter of Edward Evelyn

of Felbridge, Surrey : —

'■'- Bath,
- Monday, 28th October 1793.

"... We have got Mr. and Mrs. John Evelyn at dinner
to-day, the first time they have been out since the death of
their eldest child who has long been ill with little hope of
recovery ; it has been a great affliction to them. They have
two boys left, a William and a George. They have never heard
of being named in Mr. Evelyn of Felbridge, his will . , ." ^

William, the second son, was born at Calcutta, December
16, 1788. He was educated at the Royal Military College,
Marlow, and became an ensign in the 41st Regiment. He
was drowned in the wreck of the transport Two Friends off
Cape Breton, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, on the night of
October 22, 1805, about midnight. The transport was on
her voyage from Portsmouth to Quebec. Through his
exertions all the soldiers excepting two, and all the passengers,
including women and children, were saved. He was un-
married, and was buried in the cemetery of Louisberg, in the
island of Cape Breton. He was not quite seventeen at the
time of his death.

The following is an extract from a letter written to W.
Gilpin, Esq., Army agent, London, by W. Robertson, Assist-
ant-Surgeon in the 41st Regiment, who was one of the sur-
vivors of the wreck : —

"Montreal, November 13th, 1807.

" At the time the vessel struck everyone on board put
what money they had in their pockets, and Mr. E. among the

1 The original of this letter is in the collection of Mrs. Boscawen's lettersj
belonging to her descendant the present Viscount Falmouth.


rest. Next day the boat which conveyed some of the men
ashore having broke and no officer having left the ship
we resolved to try and get ashore on the rope that had been
fixed to the boat. I went on first and with great difficulty
got safe. Mr. E. followed but had only got a short way from
the wreck when he let go his hold and unfortunately was lost.
No assistance could be given him owing to the uncommon
heavy surf. Another man who followed shared the same
melancholy fate, and no more attempted to escape by that
conveyance. What boxes of Mr. E.'s floated ashore no-one
for some time took any care of. Upon hearing this I got
them conveyed to a place of safety, etc. etc.

" P.S. — Mr.E.'sbody was found by some people the night
after he was lost. Before any of the soldiers discovered him
they had taken everything out of his pockets and even took
some of his clothes off."

His nephew, George Palmer Evelyn, while quartered at
Halifax, visited the place, and in a letter to his mother, dated
September 6, 1845, gives the following narration of the
occurrence : —

" A fisherman said that the ship was lost October 23, 1805,
and that a young officer of the name of Evelyn and two of the
men were drowned. He was lost while endeavouring to
reach the shore by means of a rope passing from it to the ship.
He held on for some time, but at last the waves proved too
strong for him and washed him away. He was buried with
military honours in the old French burial ground about a mile
from the place. Of course I went to see the grave, it is only a
mound of earth with a stone at each end."

George, the third son, was born September 16, 1791, of
whom presently.

Frances, the only daughter, was born at Bath, April 26,
1797. She was married at Wotton, August 31, 1822, to
Colonel, afterwards Sir Charles, Rowley of Hill House, Herts,
and afterwards of 3 Hanover Terrace, Regent's Park. He
was the eldest son of Admiral Sir Charles Rowley, Bart.,
K.C.B. She died at Florence, April 22, 1834, and was buried


On April 12 she had written the following letter from Paris
to her mother, Mrs. Evelyn, who was then at 80 Gloucester

Place : —

" Paris, April 12th.

" My dearest Mother, — I am happy to tell you that we
all arrived here quite safe on Wednesday last and that I bore
the fatigue of the journey better than I expected. The roads
were extremely bad and dangerous, but happily we escaped
accident. We were ten days on the journey to Paris as we
found it impossible to travel fast. I am certainly better than
when I left Richmond altho' still far from well ; & as this is
the first letter I have written for three months I hope you will
excuse its being a short one. We shall probably remain here a
few days longer and then proceed on our journey to the south.
Charles wrote to you on our arrival at Calais which letter he
hopes you received. He and the dear children are quite well,
and with their best love to you.

" Believe me.

Your affectionate daughter,

Frances Rowley."

Her husband married, secondly, Peroline, only child of M.
Marcowitz, but had no children by her. By his first wife he
had several children. Charles Evelyn Rowley, the eldest son,
born June 30, 1824, was a captain in the Navy. He married,
but left no children. Albert Evelyn Rowley, the second son,
was killed in the trenches before Sebastopol, October 16,
1854. Another son died young. Louisa Rowley, the eldest
daughter, died in 1840, aged fifteen, from a fall from a precipice
in Switzerland. Sophia Evelyn Frances Rowley, married, July
15, 1841, Edward Nourse Harvey, Esq., and had two children —
Edward Nourse Rowley Harvey, and Frances Evelyn Harvey.
The latter married Arthur Heygate, Esq.; and has children.


George Evelyn, third but only surviving son of John
Evelyn, was born at Galway, September 16, 1791. At the
time there were present in the house Letitia and Elizabeth


From a miniature


Shee, sisters of Mrs. Evelyn, and Daniel Webb Webber. The
surgeon who attended Mrs. Evelyn was Eneas Swaile of
Castlebar, Co. Mayo, who deposed to that effect before a
Chancery Commission in 1796.

He was educated at Warminster in Wiltshire, where Dr.
Griffiths was headmaster and Mr. Lawes was assistant master.
Here he was the school-fellow of Thomas Arnold (afterwards
the celebrated headmaster of Rugby School) with whom he
formed a friendship but whom he never met after 1806.
George was the elder by three years and nine months. On
leaving Warminster he was sent to Harrow, where he was pur-
suing his studies in 1808 and where he probably remained till
he entered the army in 1810. He served under the Duke of
Wellington in the Peninsular War as Lieutenant and Captain
in the first battalion of the 3rd Regiment of Foot Guards. He
distinguished himself at the repulse of a sortie at the siege of
Bayonne in 1814. The regiment returned to England in July
1814. George was transferred from the first to the second
battalion, which he joined in Belgium before Waterloo.
During the battle he was engaged in the defence of the
Chateau of Hougoumont, and was severely wounded in the
left arm. The surgeon of the battalion, of the name of Good,
dressed his wound after the battle and told Henry Montague,
afterwards Lord Rokeby, a brother officer, that he thought it
very likely that George would die, as he had refused to have
his arm amputated, and his elbow was so severely shattered
that he did not think he could recover. After the battle,
while George was laid up at Brussels owing to his wound, his
father came out to see how he was getting on. George was
nearly twenty-four years old at this time. His father wrote
the following letter while in Brussels to his wife in England : —

" 182 Rue Royale, Bruxelles,

6 July 1 8 1 5 .

" My dear Ann, — On Monday I informed you of my
arrival in Bruxelles and of the state in which I found George,
which was more favorable than I expected. He continues
to improve, no bad symptom has appeared and the surgeon
speaks with confidence of his recovery. I deferred writing


to-day until he had dressed the wound that I might give
you the latest report. He told me George was going on
as well as possibly, and that as far as human skill and science
could judge, there was no doubt of his recovery. This is
very consoling. He is still confined to his bed, but I hope
he will be able (to) get up in a few days, and he now begins
to sit up in it, with a support to his back. I am glad I came
over, for tho' I cannot accelerate his recovery, my being with
him is a comfort. I sit with him, chat and talk over the Battle
with him, and by these means draw his attention from his
present situation. He was with a small detachment sent to
defend a farm house called Hougoumont, in front of the left
wing of our Army. The detachment consisted of 2 Com-
panies of Light Infantry, about 180 men, and about three
hundred Dutch troops. The House was a square with an
open space in the Centre and only one Gateway opening into
the middle space. The detachment took post in front of the
House, the Dutch a little in advance and the Light Infantry
in their rear. The French attacked with a much superior
force, the Dutch instantly gave way, and fled into the rear,
the Light Infantry at the same moment advancing to the '
front. From this time the fight was sustained by this handfull
of English alone. The French, confident from their number
and elated with their first success, attacked with great im-
petuosity and pressed so close that the English charged
them with the bayonet and drove them back. Three times
did this little band of Spartans charge with their bayonets
and thrice did the French fly before them, but the slaughter
was dreadfull ; out of 90 men, the complement of George's
company, 60 were killed and wounded. At last overpowered
by numbers they retreated into the house determined to
defend it to the last. They shut the Gate and barricaded
it with logs of wood on the inside. It was while
he was assisting in doing this that he received his wound,
thro' a hole in the old Gate. He sunk upon his knees, felt he
was wounded but did not know in what part, untill he saw
his arm hanging down. The soldiers took him into the
open space, seven or eight of them gathered round him, they
said the French were breaking in, and swore they would


defend him while a man of them was left alive. They brought
him their Canteens with beer, and did everji;hing possible
to cheer and comfort him. They then removed into a room
inside the building. Here he was lying with one soldier
attending him when Col. Holme rushed in, told him the house
was on fire and that they were all getting out of it. By one
of those efforts which nature always makes when not deserted
by the mind, George rose and with the soldier went out of the
room. The smoke in the passage was so thick that he could
not see his way, but fortunately made a turn without knowing
where it led to, which brought him into the open space. The
French had retired, and it is supposed they were called off
and had set the house on fire. George walked towards
our line, which was then under a very heavy cannonade,
passed thro' the intervall, and got with difficulty to the
Hospital in the rear. The Surgeon dressed his wound, telling
him that his arm must be amputated ; he then set off for
Bruxelles, and by accident met a soldier on horseback, who
lent him his horse for a certain distance. A report was spread
that the French cavalry was advancing. He was obliged to
trot which gave him extreme pain. He came up with a buggy
of the Prince's and prevailed upon the servant to convey
him some part of the way. He then saw a boy on horseback,
who agreed to carry him into Bruxelles. He was lifted on,
and the boy led the horse to Madame Santi's house. Madame
Santi received him as her own son, treated him with great
kindness, and is unremitting in her attentions. It fortunately
happened that Captain Godwin was in the house, and he im-
mediately sent for the surgeon of his regiment, reckoned the
best surgeon in the army, and his intimate friend, who has
attended him ever since and saved his arm. He told me
that it was as bad a wound as he ever saw in a limb, and that
for the first two days he had little hope of saving his arm,
and that he owed the preservation of it as much to his own
constitution, patience and fortitude, as to his skill. He never
uttered a groan nor a complaint. His only regret was that
he could not join his regiment. He said (when told that
amputation might be necessary) he would prefer dying to
the loss of his arm ; but if it was necessary to the preserva-


tion of his life he would submit to it, because he knew his
father and mother wished him to live. This is a summary
of his misfortune and sufferings. Thank God they are now
nearly terminated. It is doubtful whether his arm will ever
recover its former strength ; but as he observed to me, an
arm of any kind looks better than a sleeve of a coat. Madame
Santi insisted on my taking a bed in her house. Her husband
is returned, a very kind, good-tempered, old man. I feel
quite at home, and if I could speak French I should not care
how long I remained here. An armistice is concluded be-
tween the Provisional Government and Lord Wellington.
Louis the xviiith is to enter Paris to-day or to-morrow.
Buonaparte has retreated with his army beyond the Loire.
This is true I believe.

" Yours,

J. Evelyn.

" Send this letter to my good friend Mrs. Price. She
has taken a lively interest in poor George's misfortune."

Mrs. Price was first cousin once removed to John Evelyn.
She was the daughter of William Evelyn of St. Clere and his
wife Bridget Raymond, and was a great friend of the Evelyn

William John Evelyn used to relate the following anec-
dote with regard to his father : — While the latter was lying
wounded on the ground he found himself surrounded by
the enemy who had come up, when a French soldier approached
him, and, offering him a glass of water said, " Fortune de
guerre, monsieur, fortune de guerre."

Captain Elrington, who was in George's regiment, was an
intimate friend of his. When George was sufficiently re-
covered he rejoined his regiment in Paris. He was then
suffering frightfully with his arm, which he wore in a sling
and was fearfully wasted. Lord Rokeby described him as a
distinguished, gallant, plucky officer. After the regiment's
return to England in 1816 it was stationed for a time at the
Tower of London. The following incident took place while
the regiment was there : — George and a brother officer had an
argument which was interrupted by their having to go to


parade. The brother officer wanted to carry it on when
parade was over, but was unable to do so as George did not
appear at breakfast. The officer went down to the latter's
quarters immediately after breakfast, and, entering his room,
addressed him by saying, " To resume that discussion."
He found George in bed, who said to him, " I have gone to
bed, feeling unwell, for the express purpose of avoiding it.
Perhaps you will be good enough to leave me."

In August 1816 the second battalion of the regiment was
stationed at Windsor. George still suffered pain and in-
convenience from his wound. He sometimes carried his arm
in a sling, but when he did not it would hang down, so
that anyone could see that there was something the matter
with it. It became necessary now for him to have an opera-
tion to his arm, as he had exfoliation of the bone. It was
performed by the surgeon of the battalion, Mr. Good, who
told George's friend and brother officer. Sir William Knollys,
K.C.B., that George would always suffer inconvenience from
his wound as he had not had his arm amputated. Sir
William Knollys was present during the operation. The
battalion left Windsor in February 1817, and was then
stationed in London at St. James's.

About the year 1819 George Evelyn became engaged to
Mary Jane Massy-Dawson, eldest daughter of James Hewitt
Massy-Dawson of Ballinacourty, otherwise called the Glen,
in County Tipperary, Ireland. James Massy-Dawson was
Member of Parliament for Clonmel, and grandson of Hugh,
1st Baron Massy. The Massy family is a very old one, and
can trace back to Hame de Massy who came over at the
Norman Conquest. George was about twenty-eight at this
time. His choice of a wife was displeasing to his father,
who wished him to marry a Miss Hammond whom he had
selected as a desirable daughter-in-law. George's dis-
obedience was never quite forgiven, and in consequence of
this he was very little at Wotton during his father's life-
time. George and Mary Jane were cousins, as the maternal
grandmothers of both of them belonged to the same family
of Burke. Mary Jane's grandmother, Mrs. Dennis, whose
maiden name was Mary Burke, bought No. 28 Gloucester


Place, Portman Square, and her granddaughter, who was
devoted to her, remembered in after years how she had for-
bidden her servants to illuminate the house for Waterloo
until she knew whether George Evelyn, of whom she had
a great opinion, was safe. Mrs. Dennis was also a great
friend of George's father. The Massy-Dawsons also lived
in Gloucester Place at No. 87, where Mary was born, and
where her family went to live about 1800, and she had
known the Evelyn family since she was six years old. When
she became engaged she was about eighteen. The engage-
ment lasted two years, as there was a delay and dispute
about settlements. James Hewitt Massy-Dawson intended
to give his daughter £6000, but John Evelyn insisted on
nothing less than £10,000. Finally, Mrs. Dennis generously
gave the extra £4000.

When George came back to England in 1816, after Water-
loo, he had been out of England about five or six years, and
had not seen his cousin and future wife since she was quite a
child. She would often see him walking in the Park with his
arm in a sling. Mary Jane Massy-Dawson belonged to a very
large family. Altogether there were twelve brothers and
sisters, of whom five were boys and seven girls.

The wedding took place from 87 Gloucester Place on
July 12, 1821, at Marylebone Church, London. George
was not quite thirty at this time, and the bride was twenty
years of age, as she was born, March 22, 1801. She was
small and very pretty, with dark hair, a fresh complexion and
blue eyes. Shortly after the marriage George and his wife
went to Paris and also to Barege, where George took the
waters. When they returned from their honeymoon they
took up their residence at 28 Gloucester Place. When they
were not in London they lived at the Castle, Kingston-on-
Thames, where they were the guests of James Hewitt Massy-
Dawson. Mrs. Dennis continued to live at 28 Gloucester
Place, which belonged to her and continued to be hers as
long as she lived.

For a long time before he married George Evelyn carried
his arm in a sling, but after his marriage he left off doing so
though the left arm was never so strong as the other.

Wife of George Evelyn


George Evelyn was a Fellow of the Society of Anti-
quaries, a Justice of the Peace for the County of Kent, and a
member of the Athenaeum and Guards' Clubs. He took a
great deal of interest in all that concerned the welfare of
Deptford, and assisted his father in the management of the
Deptford estates. He was, like his father, a governor and
vice-president of the Kent Dispensary. Among the papers
left by him is a copy of a correspondence between him and
Sir Thomas Blomefield, Bart., in 1827, by which it appears
that George Evelyn was requested by his brother magis-
trates to urge on Sir Thomas the advisability of placing in the
commission of the Peace some resident Deptford gentlemen.
The following letter from George Evelyn to Michael Faraday,
the celebrated chemist and electrician, is preserved among
the manuscripts in the British Museum and shows the
interest which he took in science and literature. Faraday
was then assistant in the laboratory of the Royal Institution
of Great Britain, and was conducting a series of experiments
in the diffusion of gases. The letter relates to the founding
of the Athenaeum Club, and is dated from 28 Gloucester
Place, Portman Square, in the parish of Marylebone.

"March ^rd, 1824,
- Gloucester Place, 28.

" Sir, — In answer to a letter dated February 16th, with
which I have been favoured, I take leave to state to you
that I shall be most happy to lend my humble aid towards
the establishment of a Society founded on the principles of
encouraging Science and Literature, and I shall feel much
honoured by being constituted one of its members.

*' I am. Sir,

Your most obedient,

George Evelyn.

" Mr. Faraday,

21 Albemarle Street."

George Evelyn left the army in 1825. The following
letter was written by him to Lieut. -General Sir Herbert
Taylor, Military Secretary : —


" Kingston-upon-Thames,
August 19, 1825.

" Sir, — I am desirous of availing myself of the per-
mission contained in His Majesty's Regulations dated
25th April ultimo, and to dispose of my half-pay com-
mission at the price established by the Army Regulations in

" The period of my service is fifteen years. My first
commission was dated May 1810. In 1814 I was promoted
to the rank of Lieutenant and Captain in the 3rd Regiment
of Foot Guards, at the Battle of Waterloo I received, while
employed in the defence of the farm of Hougoumont, a
severe wound in the arm, by which I have been ever since
disabled, and am in the receipt of a pension in consequence.

" Being by this wound rendered incapable of much
bodily exertion, I exchanged from the Guards to the half-
pay of the 60th Regiment, for the sale of which commission
I am now desirous of obtaining the sanction of His Royal
Highness the Commander-in-Chief.

" I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your most obedient Servant,

George Evelyn,

Captain half-pay
60th Regiment."

On November 27, 1827, George's father died, andWotton,
which was entailed, came to him. He and his wife removed
there from Gloucester Place with their five boys, the eldest
of whom, William, was five years old. George Evelyn was
thirty-six at this time. At the time of his father's death
George was at Kingston, where he was then residing, and on
hearing of the death he came over to Wotton. Turner, his
father's butler, who had been with him since 1823, opened
the door to him and took him upstairs to the room where
his father lay. He went up to the body and knelt
down by the side of the bed. He was chief mourner at
his father's funeral, and carried his wounded arm in his


Letteh from George Evelyn to B. C. Williams, Esq., of
9 New Square, Lincoln's Inn

" Kingston, November 27th, 1S27.

" My dear Sir, — I have just received the melancholy
account of the death of my father, of which I lose no time in
informing you, as one for whom he ever entertained a lively
friendship and esteem. He died this morning on his road
from Wotton to Brighton. Life was extinct before he could
be taken from his carriage. On an event so fearfully sad I

Online LibraryHelen EvelynThe history of the Evelyn family, with a special memoir of William John Evelyn → online text (page 20 of 47)