Evelyn Family of Felbridge

Evelyn Family of Felbridge

This document charts the line of the Evelyn family that held Felbridge and their connections and contributions to the area.  It begins with an outline of where the family originated, how they made a considerable wealth and concentrates on the holders of Walkhamptsead also known as Godstone and Lagham, which included land at Felbridge Water that became the permanent residence of the Felbridge branch of the Evelyn family.  For ease of reading Godstone has been used throughout when referring to the interchangeable references in the historic documents of Walkhamstead/Godstone/Lagham.


Early history of the Evelyn family

Much has been written about the origin of Evelyn family based on differing interpretations of a diary entry written on 26th May 1670 by John Evelyn, on making the acquaintance of a distant relation ‘Monsieur [Guillame] Evelin (first Physitian to Madame)’.  The entry reads ‘this French Familie Ivelin of Eveliniere, their familie in Normandie, & of a very antient & noble house is gifted into our Pedigree; see in your collection, brought from Paris 1650’.  It is believed that the use of ‘your’ in the sentence is for future generations of Evelyns, John Evelyn probably not expecting his diary to be published for the public domain.


In 1915, Helen Evelyn in her book, The History of the Evelyn Family, writes: ‘The Evelyn family is traditionally descended from the French family of Evelin.  This family took a prominent part in the Crusades, and in fact took its name from Ibelin, a locality in Palestine lying between Joppa and Ascalon.  John Evelyn, author of Sylva, translated a French Herauld’s Book brought over to England in 1650.  It relates how a member of the family went over to the Holy Land with Robert, Duke of Normandy, and came possessed of Baruth, a sea port.  It also states the Evelins intermarried with the royal families of Jerusalem and Cyprus.  A member of the family, Henri Evelin, returned to France in 1475 and bought a fief [property or fee granted by a lord in return for service] in Normandy which he called Eveliniere’.  It is obvious from Helen Evelyn’s research that the ‘collection’ recorded in John Evelyn’s diary refers to the French Herald’s Book.

However, writing in 1929, eminent antiquarian Uvedale Lambert interprets John Evelyn’s statement to mean that the Evelyn family hailed from Avelin [Evelin/Ivelin], which is located within the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, close to the border with Belgium, although he notes that no ‘collection’ is to be found in the diary for 1650.  Lambert also points out that Avelin was not in Normandy and believed John Evelyn to have made a ‘blunder’.  Based on Lambert’s interpretation, the Evelyn family came form Evelin/Ivelin now known as Avelin which was once the ancient capital of French Flanders, and is a village a few miles south of Lille.  Lambert continues that the first appearance of the family name Evelyn in England is in 1476 on the death of John Avelin or Evelin of Harrow-on-the-Hill in Middlesex.  In Lambert’s pedigree John’s son Roger of Stanmore in Middlesex inherited his lands in Harrow.  Roger’s son John purchased lands at Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey and on marriage to the daughter and heir of David Vincent acquired lands at Long Ditton (sometimes referred to as Tolworth in documents) in Surrey.  John’s only son George, later of Kingston, Long Ditton, Godstone and Wotton (see below), inherited the Kingston and Long Ditton properties and bought the Wotton estate and the manors of Marden and Godstone in Surrey.


Yet another interpretation comes from Philip Beddows in his article Goldstone, the story of a Shropshire manor and its people for more than 800 years, who states ‘the pedigree that John Evelyn brought from France differs slightly from the one for the Evelins which appears in Du Cange's Lignages d'Outre Mer’.  Berddows continues ‘the first of John Evelyn's family to be in England was supposed to have been a Guillaume (William) Evelyn of Harrow-on-the-Hill who died in 1476 [Lambert records this relative as John].  So, he [John Evelyn the diarist] is not likely to be descended from Guillaume Evelin who was said to have gone from France to England in 1489.  However, this doesn't mean that they weren't close relations, and it is interesting that the French Evelins were so certain of the relationship and that John Evelyn wrote about how the Evelins' pedigree grafted into his own’.  Beddows speculates that ‘Perhaps the date for Guillaume Evelin coming to England was incorrectly recorded’ or perhaps the Evelin who died from Harrow-on-the-Hill in 1476 was actually John as stated by Lambert, although Helen Evelyn concurs with Beddows in stating that the first Evelin recorded in England was William, of Harrow-on-the-Hill.  However, all three authors agree that the son was called Roger and that he had a son John (although he also had a son Roger), and that John had an only son George later of Kingston, Long Ditton, Godstone and Wotton (see below).


Beddows continues ‘In the pedigree that appears in the Lignages d'outre Mer Guillaume Evelin who went to England in 1489 and never returned is shown as the son of Henri Evelin, whose father Henri Evelin went to Normandy in 1475 and bought Evelinière, near Coutances.  This elder Henri was the son of ___ d'Ibelin, whose own parents were Guy (or Balian) d'Ibelin, Seneschal of Cyprus and Isabella, daughter of Baldwin d'Ibelin.  The Guillame Evelin who John Evelyn met in England was descended from Henri Evelin of Eveliniere's son Jean Evelin, who lived at Rohan’.


As can be seen there are several interpretations of the origin of the Evelyn family in England, all of which have some overlapping elements.  The interpretations have been presented so it is now up to the reader to make their own interpretation.  However, based on the research of the three authors, it can be concluded with some certainty that the Evelyn family did not come over to England with William the Conqueror in 1066 as so many French families did but that their arrival in England was triggered by something else in the mid to late 1400’s.  The most likely trigger was the end of the Hundred Years’ War between England and France which concluded in 1453 with the Battle of Castillon.  Whether William Evelin originated from French Flanders or Normandy makes little difference as both territories had, before the War, been ruled by the English.  However, the Hundred Years’ War began the process of transforming France from a feudal monarchy to a centralized state, the kingdom of France.  It is quite possible that the Evelin family decided their loyalties remained with England and therefore opted to move from France. It is also evident, from the Evelyn pedigrees, that the Felbridge branch of the family descend from the Godstone branch and ultimately from George Evelyn of Kingston, Long Ditton, Godstone and Wotton.


George Evelyn of Kingston, Long Ditton, Godstone and Wotton

George was born in 1526 and in about 1550 he married Rose, daughter and heiress of Thomas Williams.  George and Rose had a family consisting of ten sons and six daughters, most dying at a young age.  Surviving children from this marriage include Mary born about 1550, Thomas born about 1551, John born in 1554 and Robert born about 1556.  The first three of these surviving children were born in Long Ditton and the last in Godstone.   Rose sadly died in 1577 and George re-married on 23rd April 1578, a widow by the name of Joan Rogers née Stint.  George and Joan had six children, again most of which died young.  Surviving children from this marriage included Richard born in 1579 in Wotton and Catherine born in 1582.  As a point of interest, it is from the marriage of Richard Evelyn and his wife Eleanor Stansfield that diarist John Evelyn was born in 1620 and who inherited Wotton House in 1698.


George Evelyn appears to have spear-headed the manufacture of gunpowder in England and is recorded in the History of the Evelyn Family, researched and written by Helen Evelyn, to have  been granted the monopoly of gunpowder making by Queen Elizabeth I in about 1565.  From the will of George’s grandfather, proved in 1508, it is evident that the Evelyn family had some considerable wealth but from the bequests it was based on land, farming and agriculture.  There is no surviving will for George’s father so it has not been possible to determine if he followed in his father’s agricultural footsteps or branched into another business.  What is certain is that for George to have been granted the monopoly of gunpowder making he must have learnt the trade from some where, and Flanders and the Low Countries were at the forefront of European production of gunpowder in the early 16th century.


According to a paper written in 1862 called Black Powder, the History of the first establishment of Gunpowder Works in England, written by Col. Samuel Parbly, he states: ‘The first establishment of gunpowder mills of any importance appears to have been at Long Ditton, near Kingston, in Surrey, by George Evelyn, grandfather of the celebrated Sir John Evelyn [of Kingston, Godstone and West Dean].  He had mills also at Leigh (also known as Lee) Place, near Godstone, in the same county.  The Evelyn family is said to have brought the art over from Flanders.  The mills at Faversham, in Kent, were in operation as far back as the time of Elizabeth [I]; but those of the Evelyns, at Godstone, were at this time of the greatest importance’.  It appears also from his paper that on 28th January 1589, Queen Elizabeth I granted George Evelyn, Richard Hills and John Evelyn an eleven year license to ‘dig, open and work’ for saltpetre, a constituent of gunpowder, through England, barring a few exceptions that included the ‘city of London and two miles distant from the walls’.  This all adds credence to the claim made by diarist John Evelyn in a letter dated 8th February 1675 that ‘Not far from my Brother’s House (Wotton) upon Streams and Ponds, since filled up and drained, stood formerly many Powder Mills, erected by my Ancestors, who were the very first who brought that Invention into England; before which we had all our powder out of Flanders’.


Gunpowder manufacture provided the wealth enabling George to purchase several large estates during his life time.  In 1564 George purchased the manor of Tolworth (now the site of Tolworth Court Farm) from Ambrose Cave, and in 1567 he purchased the manor of Long Ditton from his uncle Thomas Vincent.  Also in 1567 George purchased Hill Place and 139 acres of land in Surrey and part of the manor of Wotton, plus lands in Wotton, Abinger, Dorking and Shere in Surrey from his son-in-law Richard Hatton, and in 1579 George purchased the moated manor house of Wotton, he also purchased [date not known] the gunpowder mills at Wooton and Abinger.  On 24th April 1588 George purchased his Godstone estate from Thomas Powle for the sum of £3,100.00.  This included the manor of Marden and Leigh Place in Godstone, and it is through the purchase of the manor of Godstone that George Evelyn acquires his interest in Felbridge.  Later in 1588 George purchased Norbiton Hall and lands in Kingston-upon-Thames.


The diarist John Evelyn records that there were gun powder mills at Wotton (see above) and even records occurrences when two mills exploded.  The first occurrence related describes ‘the breaking of a huge Beam of fifteen or sixteen Inches Diameter in my Brother’s House [Wotton] (and since crampt with a Dog of Iron) upon the blowing up of one of those Mills’.  There were no causalities in this instance but of the second occurrence he writes ‘another [powder mill] standing below Shire [Shere], shot a piece of Timber thro’ a Cottage, which took off a poor Woman’s Head as she was spinning’.


However, it is believed that George initially set up his gunpowder mills at Long Ditton using water supplied by the Hogsmill River that flows into the Thames at Kingston.  It is known that the Evelyn family acquired lands at Long Ditton on the marriage of John Evelyn of Stanmore and the daughter of David Vincent (see above) c1545.  According to information supplied by the Royal Gunpowder Mills the Evelyn family are thought to have been manufacturing gunpowder at Tolworth (sometimes referred to as Long Ditton) from the mid 1560’s.  It is known that George purchased the manor of Tolworth in 1564 so possibly matching the mid 1560’s date referred to by the Royal Gunpowder Mills.


Documents also record that the Evelyn powder mills were transferred ‘from Wotton to Chilworth’, using the water of the Tillingbourne to operate the mills, and again George Evelyn is known to have purchased land near Chilworth at Abinger Hammer and Shere past which the Tillingbourne flows.  However, it is generally believed that the Evelyn family moved their gunpowder-mills from the Hogsmill River to Godstone in 1589 after Leigh Mill, situated on Gibb’s Brook, came into the hands of George Evelyn on his purchase of Leigh Place in 1588, thus making Godstone the chief area for making gunpowder in England.


George eventually transferred his patent to his son John Evelyn of Kingston, Godstone and West Dean.  John’s involvement in the manufacture of gunpowder at Godstone can be found in a letter dated September 1613 written by the Earl of Worcester to the Lord Mayor informing him that ‘the King [James I] had by Letters Patent committed to his charge the making of all Saltpetre and Gunpowder for the use of His Majesty, within in dominions, with power to appoint Deputies, and requiring the Lord Mayor and Aldermen to prevent any persons from digging for or making Saltpetre within the City and Liberties, except John Evelyn, Esquire of Godstone, Surrey, or his factors, servant, &c. to aid him in the performance of the business, and in the event of any other persons being found working, to require them to cease, taking bond from them either to do so, or appear before the Privy Council’.


George died at the age of seventy-seven at midnight on the 29th/30th May 1603 and was buried at Wotton.  Although George was listed of Kingston, Long Ditton, Godstone and Wotton, his main residence was at Wotton and on his death his youngest surviving son Robert inherited the manor of Godstone having previously been given the manor of Marden in 1590.


Robert Evelyn of Godstone

Robert was the third surviving son of George Evelyn of Kingston, Long Ditton, Godstone and Wotton, inheriting the manor of Godstone on the death on his father.  On 19th October 1590 Robert married Susannah, the daughter of Gregory and Susannah Young, and they had at least ten children, including three sons, the eldest surviving being Robert born in 1592/3 and James born in 1597.


Robert was also engaged in the family business of the manufacture of gunpowder but failed to make it pay.  As a result of suffering severe losses, Robert sold the manors of Godstone and Marden to his older brother John in 1609/10, and emigrated with his family to Virginia where he founded the American branch of the Evelyn family.


John Evelyn of Kingston, Godstone, West Dean and Everley

John (brother of Robert) was the second surviving son of George Evelyn of Kingston, Long Ditton, Godstone and Wotton, inheriting Kingston-upon-Thames on the death of his father


On 10th June 1580 John married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of William Stevens of Kingston-upon-Thames, and they had eleven children including: George born in 1581, Elizabeth born 1583, Frances born in 1585, Ann born in 1587, Joan born in 1589, John born in 1591, James born in 1596, Margaret (date of birth not known), Sarah and Susan (dates of births not known but who all died as infants), and a second Elizabeth (date of birth not known).


John, like his brother Robert, was also engaged in the family business of the manufacture of gunpowder, but unlike Robert appears not to have suffered losses and in 1590 was made one of the six clerks of the Chancery Court.  John made his main residence at Kingston but in about 1605 he purchased the manors of West Dean and Everley in Wiltshire and in 1608 alienated the manors of Godstone and Marden to Sir William Walter and William Wignall to hold for his eldest son George.


John died aged seventy-three, two years after his wife at West Dean on 17th April 1627.  A statue to the couple was erected in the Mortuary Chapel at West Dean.  When John died, his son George inherited the manors of West Dean and Everley.


George Evelyn of West Dean and Everley

George was the eldest son of John Evelyn of Kingston, Godstone, West Dean and Everley, inheriting West Dean and Everley on his father’s death.


In about 1600, George married Joan, daughter of Sir John Rivers of Kent, and they had three sons and a daughter; John born in 1601, Arthur born about 1613, son (name and date of birth not known) and Elizabeth (date of birth not known).


In 1632 George received the manor of Fleur [Flore/Flowers] in Surrey from his father-in-law Sir John Rivers and in 1634 he transferred this to his brother John of Kingston.  George like his father was also one of the six clerks of the Chancery Court, and his main residence appears to have been Everely.


George died aged fifty-six, at Everley on 19th January 1637.  On his death his son John inherited the manors of West Dean and Everley, and the alienation of Godstone and Marden held by Sir William Walter and William Wignall.


Sir John Evelyn of West Dean and Everley

John was the eldest son of George of West Dean and Everley, inheriting West Dean, Everley, Godstone and Marden on the death of his father.


On the 2nd April 1622 John married Elizabeth Cockes and they had two daughters, Elizabeth and Sarah.  Little else is known about this line of the Evelyn family except that John was MP for Ludgershall and a distinguished Parliamentarian, known as Sir John the Roundhead, being proclaimed a traitor by Charles I but pardoned by Charles II.


In 1634 John sold Fleur House to his uncle Sir John Evelyn of Leigh Place, Godstone and Marden, and the manor of Marden to his brother Arthur, who transferred it to the same uncle.  John of West Dean and Everley died aged eighty-four in 1685 and on his death he disinherited his daughter Sarah and left his daughter Elizabeth West Dean and Everley.  Having no male heir, the manor of Godstone passed to his uncle John, son of John Evelyn of Kingston, Godstone, West Dean and Everley.


Godstone branch of the Evelyn family

Sir John Evelyn of Leigh Place, Godstone and Marden

John, uncle of Sir John of West Dean and Everley, was the brother of George of West Dean and Everley, and the second son of John Evelyn of Kingston, Godstone, West Dean and Everley, and on the death of his nephew, Sir John Evelyn of West Dean and Everley, John inherited the manor of Godstone.


On 24th November 1618, John married Thomasine, the daughter and co-heir of William Heynes [Haynes] of Chessington, Surrey, and they had seven children, George born 1629 (died within two months), Jane born 1631, John born 1632/33, Thomasin born 1634/35, Richard born 1637, Elizabeth born 1638 and George born 1641.


John was the elected MP for Bletchingly in 1627, 1628 and again in 1640 and was knighted by Charles I on 25th June 1641.  It is believed that the red brick Jacobean Leigh Place was built by John replacing an earlier medieval structure.  John purchased the manor of Norbright in Surrey in 1630, acquired a moiety of Tandridge Priory and the Rectory and Advowson of Godstone in 1633 and as already established acquired the manor of Marden from his nephew Arthur in 1634, as well Fleur (Flore/Flower) House from his nephew Sir JohnEvelyn of West Dean and Everley.


It would appear that John was probably the last member of the Evelyn family to have any connections with gunpowder as it is believed that the family ceased their powder mill operation in Godstone sometime during the Civil War [1642 – 51].


John died aged seventy-one in June 1663 and was buried in the family vault at St Nicholas Church, Godstone.  His altar tomb with effigy, together that of his wife Thomasin, are located in the Evelyn chapel beyond the north isle.  The chapel is also dedicated to several members of this branch of the Evelyn family and was probably built by John’s family.  However, the north aisle dates to 1845 and the whole of St. Nicholas Church was remodelled by Gilbert Scott in 1870/1 in the Gothic style.


After the death of Sir John Evelyn of Leigh Place, Godstone and Marden there was a legal wrangle between his eldest surviving son John and his widow Thomasin and second son George, the eldest surviving son believing that he had been defrauded of his inheritance whilst being over seas at the time of his father’s death.  John believed that during his father’s lifetime he had owned ‘the manors of ‘Godstone alias Walkhansted, Flowre [Fleur], Nolread [Norbright], and other manors in the Godstone, Oxstead [Oxted], Bletchingley, Limpsfield and elsewhere in Surrey and other counties of over the yearly value of £1,400, and the rectory and parsonage of Godstone.  About the year 1653 and 1658, the lands mentioned, and in particular certain farms called Burgesses Farm, Bennet’s Farm, Goales Farm, Lanes Farm – lands in the occupation of Thomas Smith and other of Earbie – were settled upon Dame Thomazine [Thomasin] Evelyn, the petitioner’s [John Evelyn] mother, for her life, and the remainder of the lands were to come to the petitioner, with remainder to George Evelyn his brother, and a great part of the remainder of the lands settled on the petitioner and Mary, his late wife, and should have come to him on his father’s death’.  John claimed that his father had made his will (in which there is no mention of his eldest surviving son John [the petitioner]) whilst John was overseas, making his widow Thomasin the overall executrix.  John believed that on the death of his father all the lands except those settled on his mother Thomasin and brother George should have come to him.  However, John believed that as he was oversees at the time of his father’s death, his mother Thomasin ‘had taken advantage of the petitioner’s [John] absence’ and under advice of his brother George, settled everything on George, claiming that they had taken all the paperwork concerning the lands ‘which would show the petitioner’s [John] rights to them’, which they refused to give up.


Answering these accusations George claimed not to have advised his mother to settle the estate on him or that he had any paperwork stating that the lands should go to his brother John.  Thomasin answering John’s claims said that she had not taken any land not settled on her or her son George, in fact some of the land she was entitled to had not been handed over to her by her son John but that she would not be prepared to take out a law suit against her own son.  Thomasin also stated that she was willing to hand over any deeds in her possession but that many had perished in the Great Fire of London in 1666.  In answer to Thomasin, her son said ‘the defendant’s [Thomasin] answers are untrue and that he would prove it’.  In conclusion to the wrangle, John inherited his father’s title becoming Sir John Evelyn of Leigh, Marden and Fleur, being the eldest surviving son, but not the inheritance of lands he believed were his.


John seems to have been the ‘black sheep’ of the family; the diarist John Evelyn writes: ‘… the house built here [at Godstone] cost 9000 Pounds, and was raised by Sir John Evelyn [of Leigh Place, Godstone and Marden] whose father [John Evelyn of Kingston, Godstone, West Dean and Everley] was then the only Powder Maker in England and demolish’d by his son Sir John because his younger brother George would not supply him with Money to gratify his vicious Inclinations, he gave 500 pounds to his Mistress [Mary Gittings], and but 500 pounds to his Daughter [Frances] and Heir by his wife, Daughter of Judge Glynn’.


On the death of John on 10th August 1671 he repudiated [rejected, severed] the inheritance of his daughter Frances by his second wife Anne [née Glynne] in preference of his mistress Mary Gittings and her daughter Mary, who inherited the Evelyn properties of Marden and Fleur, promptly selling them to Sir Robert Clayton.


Felbridge Branch of the Evelyn family

As established above, the Evelyn family acquired their first interest in the Felbridge area in 1588, when George Evelyn of Kingston, Long Ditton, Godstone and Wotton purchased the manor of Godstone.  The Felbridge interest has always been written by antiquarians as consisting of seventy acres at the extreme southern end of the Godstone adjoining the county boundaries of Surrey and Sussex, frequently stated as made up of thirty acres of Heath adjoining Felbridge Water and forty acres being the Star Barn fields (see below).  It has been suggested that as the family had made their fortune from the manufacture of gunpowder, first at Wotton and then in Godstone at Leigh, that their interest in the Felbridge area was due to the abundance of wood, a raw material in the making of gunpowder and water to power powder mills.  However, there is no evidence of a powder mill in Felbridge and the Evelyn interest was probably just a consequence of owning the manor of Godstone, although the family may have been attracted by the burgeoning iron industry that had be established in the area by the Gage family in the mid 1500’s, an industry that was casting cannon and mortars that required powder to fire them [for further information see Handout, Warren Furnace, SJC 01/00].



George Evelyn of Nutfield

George was the second surviving son of Sir John of Leigh Place, Godstone and Marden, and after extensive legal wrangles upon the death of his father (see above) he eventually inherited the manor of Godstone and thus the Felbridge area on the death of his older brother Sir John of Leigh, Marden and Fleur in 1671, although his brother had done much to destroy their father’s estates.  On the death of his brother John, George brought a court case against John’s mistress Marry Gittings proclaiming that she had exerted pressure upon his brother to leave her Marden and Fleur after his death, however, this was not up held, thus Marden and Fleur did not pass to the Felbridge branch of the Evelyn family (see above).


George attended Christ Church College, Oxford, entering it on 31st July 1658 after which he became a barrister-in-law at the Middle Temple, later becoming MP for Bletchingley between 1678 and 1681 and Gratton between 1696 and 1698, and was a JP and Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey.  George made his home in Ventris House (now known as Nutfield Court House), Nutfield in Surrey.


George married three times during his life and had eleven children.  His first marriage was to Mrs Mary Longley of Coulsdon, Surrey, a widow, on 8th September 1664.  They had no children and Mary died in January 1673.  George’s second marriage took place five months later in June 1673, to Margaret, daughter and heir of William Webb of London.  George and Margaret had eight children, Margaret born 1674, Thomasin born in 1675, Annie born in 1676, John born in 1677, George born in 1678, Mary born 1679, Edward, born in 1681 and Frances born in 1683 (died an infant in 1683).  Sadly, George’s wife Margaret died in 1683 and he took a third wife, Frances the daughter of Andrew Bromehale/Broomhall of Stoke Newington.  George and Francis had three children, Richard born in 1685, William born in 1686 and Frances born in 1692 (who died aged six in 1698).


It is known that sometime between 1671 and 1692 George had a dwelling house built, called Heath Hatch, on the lands at Felbridge Water.  This dwelling is believed to have been situated in the vicinity of what is now Whittington College and on 24th/25th November 1692 he settled the new house along with about seventy acres of land in Felbridge on his youngest son William, then aged six, the description given in the document as follows:

All that messauge called Heathhatch and 60 acres of land lying in the said parish of Godstone and Tandridge and another messuage and 7 acres of land in the parish of Godstone and 2 crofts adjoining and ½ acre of ground and also an acre and a ½ of ground and a moiety of a messuage and all the Gardens and Orchards belonging thereto and two cottages and also a Common called Felbridge Heath Common all of which last premises are situate in the said parish of Godstone and all the Tithes of corn and grain yearly arising out of such part of the premises are lying in the said parish of Godstone.


Although not itemised in the original conveyance of 1588, the antiquarians Owen Manning and William Bray wrote in 1814 that [Felbridge House] ‘stands in a park bounded on the south by a stream called Felbridge Water which divides the counties of Surrey and Sussex; but 30 acres of the park adjoining the water are in Tandridge.  About 70 acres belonging to it (of which the above mentioned 30 acres are part) near Felbridge Water in the parish of Godstone and Tandridge were settled on William Evelyn in 1692’.


Ivan Margary used this description to identify the land in Tandridge to be the Star Barn Fields now the site of the Sussex Bed Centre, Hydropool, Kwik-Fit and the cricket ground.  The 1692 document detailed the acreage which Manning and Bray approximated to 70 acres; however, more importantly the 1692 document also lists the ‘Common called Felbridge Heath Common’ in Godstone which is in addition to the detailed lands associated with Heath Hatch.


When trying to establish the land owned by the Evelyn family in Felbridge that had been purchased in 1588, there is perhaps some evidence for the site of the thirty acres referred to in antiquity that appears in a lease and release for life between Edward Evelyn and his son James (George’s son and grandson), Francis Leicester and James Turner that was made on 21st/22nd April 1740.  The description of the land is given as: ‘All those 30 acres of arable, meadow, pasture and Woodland with the Hop Garden thereof containing an acre being part of 60 acres which with the messuage therein are called Heath Hatch then in the occupation of the said Edward Evelyn, 29 acres thereof being in the parish of Tandridge and the other acre being the Hop Garden in the parish of Godstone’.


Trying to identify the 30 acres in Tandridge that were part of the 70 acres purchased in 1588, the 1748 Bourd map of the Felbridge Estate shows the land that the Evelyn family had amassed.  The only lands within Tandridge parish are part of ‘Lower Ground’ that straddles the parish boundary and lay north of Wards Farm and east of Coopers Moors, the other lands in Tandridge are four fields on the south side of the Newchapel Road, east of Rabies Farm.  The lands at Newchapel Road were called Tanners and were listed in the sale from Gage to Edward Evelyn in 1747 so these could not have been the lands purchased by Evelyn in 1588.  This leaves ‘Lower Ground’ as a potential location of the 30 acres.  The area of Lower Ground on the Bourd map is 33 acres but only 9 acres are within Tandridge, it does however have a ‘hop garden field’ with 1 acre of that field being in the Godstone parish.


Ivan Margary’s suggestion that the 30 acres purchased in 1588 equated to Star Barn Fields as shown on the 1844 Tandridge Tithe map.  In 1844 these fields were in the occupation of the Saunders family who also occupied the Star Inn, but the lands were owned by the Atkins family, not the Evelyns.  In the 1780 Land Tax shows the land owned by Atkins and only occupied by James Evelyn.  In 1720 the Star Barn fields are called Felbridge Lands in the ownership of Frith on the Magnus Deo map.  Felbridge Lands were part of the manor of Imberhorne and the 1596 Buckhurst Terrier lists the land as being held by Michael Sands.  It therefore seems highly unlikely that George Evelyn had purchased Felbridge Lands in 1588 and then sold them on again before 1596.  Therefore Lower Ground is the most likely candidate for the 30 acres of land purchased in 1588.


The original purchase of 1588 included a dwelling that is now at the heart of the Star Inn [for further information see Handout, Eating and Drinking establishments of Felbridge, Pt. II, JIC/SJC 03/08].  Parts of the structure pre-date 1588 and the surrounding area, known as Heath Hatch, appears in the Court Books for the manor of Lagham [Walkhamstead alias Godstone] from at least 1560.  It is believed that with the construction of the new house at Heath Hatch by George Evelyn, the dwelling now known as the Star Inn equates to the ‘message and 7 acres of land’ in the 1692 description.  George Evelyn’s new house was the ‘messuage of Heathhatch’ set in 60 acres of land, which is believed to be on or near to the site of what is now Whittington College.  A pictorial representation of the new dwelling known as Heath Hatch can be found on the Bourd map of the Felbridge estate commissioned by William’s half brother Edward in 1748 and the Budgen map of 1724 clearly states ‘New House’ against the dwelling depicted on the site of Whittington College.  As for the moiety of a messuage and the ‘two cottages’, their sites have not yet been identified as there are no contemporary maps depicting them.  However, using the Bourd map, which is the most detailed map closest to the date, there are two dwellings depicted in the vicinity of the ‘New House’.  One of these dwellings is depicted slightly smaller than ‘New House’ but large enough to be classed as a messuage and the other dwelling is depicted as a small dwelling or possibly two adjacent cottages.


The ‘Common called Felbridge Heath Common’ has been identified to include the triangular piece of land bounded by the Crawley Down Road, Rowplatt Lane and the line of the old Hedgecourt Road (now Twitten Lane, the rear gardens of several houses along the southern side of Copthorne Road, the track running through the woodland at the rear of the Village Hall grounds and the School grounds).  This piece of land was enclosed about 1714 to form ‘New Fields’ and was part of about fifty acres referred to in a sale between Edward Evelyn and Charles Boone in 1733/4 (see below) as ‘Felbridge Common’ [for further information see Handout, The Felbridge Triangle, SJC 03/05].


Just seven years after settling Heath Hatch and the Felbridge area on his son William, George died unexpectedly aged fifty-seven on 24th June 1699 and was buried at Godstone.



William Evelyn-Glanville of St Clere

William was given Heath Hatch and seventy acres of land and the Common in Felbridge by his father George Evelyn in 1692, when William was a minor aged six years.  In later life William was MP for Hythe and bought the manor of St Clere alias West Aldham, in Ightham, Kent, and Rathbone Place in London.


William Evelyn married twice and had five children.  His first marriage was to Frances the daughter and heir of William Glanville, on 12th February 1717.  Frances was also the grand-daughter of William Glanville and Jane Evelyn, Jane being William Evelyn’s half 1st cousin twice removed and also the sister of the diarist John Evelyn.   William and Frances had one daughter named Frances born at St Clere on 23rd July 1719, but sadly mother Frances died shortly after childbirth on 9th June 1719.  On their marriage in 1719, William Evelyn had adopted his wife’s surname and became Evelyn-Glanville, but on the marriage of their daughter Frances to Admiral Hon. Edward Boscowan in 1742, William resumed his original name of Evelyn to enable Frances to carry his estate to the Boscowan family.


William’s second marriage was around 1730, to Bridget, the daughter of Hugh Raymond of Sealing Hall, Essex, and sister and co-heir of her brother James Raymond.   William and Bridget had four children, Bridget born in 1732, William born about 1734, Sarah born in 1735 and George Raymond born about 1738.  William’s wife Bridget died aged about fifty-one, on 1st December 1761, in Godstone and William died aged seventy-nine on 19th October 1766, in Godstone.


Evelyn Chestnuts in Felbridge

It is believed that William was responsible for planting the two rows of Sweet Chestnuts Castanea sativa, also known as Spanish Chestnut, that form a ‘V’ shape along Crawley Down Road and the line of the old Hedgecourt Road now hidden within the grounds of Felbridge School, the Felbridge Village Hall and along Twitten Lane leading to Rowplatt Lane.  The trees, originally 104 in total, were either planted to celebrate the date of succession of George I in 1714 or to celebrate the Oath of Allegiance in 1718 that marked the guaranteed return of the Protestant religion to England, [for further information see Handout, Evelyn Chestnuts, JIC 09/00]. There is some speculation that the choice of planting Sweet Chestnut was influenced by the diarist John Evelyn who was a great personal friend and cousin of William’s father George.  Writing in Sylva, his book about trees, John Evelyn advocated planting Sweet Chestnut for ‘they are a magnificent and royal Ornament’, it would therefore seem appropriate that William should choose to plant avenues of Sweet Chestnuts to celebrate either royal occasion.


In 1719, William decided to sell his interest in Felbridge described as ‘Heath Hatch and its sixty acres, together with the messuage and seven acres, the messuage with the moiety, two cottages and Felbridge Heath Common’ to his half-brother Edward.  It is interesting to note that this is the same year that William lost his first wife Frances which may have been the catalyst for the sale.


Col. Edward Evelyn of Heath Hatch and Felbridge

As established above, in 1719, Edward Evelyn purchased the property known as Heath Hatch together with the seventy acres of land and Felbridge Heath Common from his half-brother William.


Edward Evelyn was educated at Pembroke College, Oxford, entering on 23rd July 1698, interestingly being recorded aged eighteen and from Felbridge, implying that perhaps he was residing at Heath Hatch.  By 1700 Edward was a student of the Inner Temple, following in the footsteps of his father as a barrister-at-law.  However, by 1707 Edward had chosen a military career and was by that date a Captain, rising to the rank of Major by 1711 and Colonel by the first half of 1713 [for further information see Handout, The Commonplace Book of Colonel Edward Evelyn, JIC/SJC 09/07].


There is a portrait of Edward Evelyn, now in a private collection in America, which, from the style of clothing and his appearance, was painted in the first quarter of the 18th century.  The portrait shows him wearing a red jacket or coat and matching waistcoat, with red buttons down the front of both garments and a button at elbow height on the jacket sleeve with possible deep, turn-back cuffs.  He wears a neck cloth loosely tied and his hair, or possibly wig, is dark with a centre parting with long, loose curls to the shoulder that was fashionable up until about 1715.  His facial features show him to have had a high forehead, long oval face and fairly long nose, very similar to that of a portrait of the diarist, John Evelyn, to whom he was distantly related as Edward’s great, great grandfather was John’s grandfather.


It is possible that Edward’s portrait was painted to mark a significant point in his life and would fit well with the date of his marriage in June 1713 to Julia Butler, the daughter of the James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde, related to the Boleyn family.  James Butler had been born on 29th April 1665, and married Anne Hyde, the daughter of Laurence Hyde, 1st Earl of Rochester on 15th July 1682.  Unfortunately, Anne died around 1684 and James married Mary Somerset, the daughter of Henry Somerset, 1st Duke of Beaufort.  It is generally accepted that Mary was the most likely mother of Julia who was born about 1687 in Cloughrenan, Carlow, Ireland.


In 1714 Edward and Julia Evelyn had a son, unfortunately his name is not known and as no further records exist, the implication is that he did not survive past infancy.  A year later, they had a daughter, Julia Margaret, who was christened on 15th September 1715 at St Margaret’s church, Westminster, followed by a second son, James, who was christened on 18th August 1718 at Felbridge.  In 1719, Edward Evelyn retired from his military career and purchased Heath Hatch, settling with his family in Felbridge, where a third son called John was born, being christened on 4th May 1725 at St Margaret’s, Westminster, again like their first son, there are no further records on John suggesting that he too did not survive infancy.  Julia Margaret married, at the age of thirty-eight, James Sayer, on 19th July 1755 in Chelsea.  James Sayer’s family originated from Worsall near Yarm in North Yorkshire before moving to London in the early 1700’s, being later granted the manor house at Marsh Gate, Richmond, by George III.  James became Deputy Steward of Westminster and Steward of the manor of Richmond.  Julia and James had at least one child, Frances Julia born about 1757 who later married Monsieur de Pougens, who was a distinguished litterateur and a prominent member of the Institute of France [for further information see Handout, Madame de Pougens, Grand-daughter of Edward Evelyn, SJC11/08].


In 1702, Edward’s older brother, John, died of small pox in London and Edward inherited the manor of Godstone, then in 1719 Edward purchased Heath Hatch from his brother William.  In 1724, Edward’s brother George died and Edward inherited the Advowson and Rectory of St Nicholas Church, Godstone, which had passed in succession through his older brothers, John and George.  Finding the manor of Godstone saddled with various ‘encumbrances and debts’, Edward sold part of it in 1733/4 to Charles Boone, the second husband of his sister-in-law, Mary Evelyn, widow of his brother George, Edward retaining: ‘the Borough of Blindley Heath, with the cottages on it, and also Felbridge Heath Common, lately purchased of William Glanville, with a smith’s house and shop and several acres of Felbridge Common, with two cottages and two newly enclosed fields of 5 and 8 acres, the common being marked by stone bounds against Horne on the north and East Grinstead on the south, and with a boundary cross cut on the east side against Tandridge.  Felbridge Common containing 50 acres or upwards’.


In 1741 Edward purchased a ‘messuage at Park Corner’ and some 130 acres of land being part of the manor of Hedgecourt from William Gage [for further information see Handout, Park Corner Farm, SJC 05/09].  This purchase, being part of what is now the site of Whittington College and a small farmhouse at Park Corner at the end of Mill Lane together with his 1719 purchase of Heath Hatch, were the catalyst for the creation of the Felbridge estate.  It is perhaps significant that in 1747, just two years after the death of his father-in-law, James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde, Edward purchased the remainder of the manor of Hedgecourt that included Snow Hill Farm, Chapel Farm and Forge Farm, as well as Woodcock Hammer and forgeman’s house, Furnace, Mill and Forge ponds [Furnace, Hedgecourt and Wiremill Lakes], and woodland including, Thorny Park, Roughlet Park, Denshire Cuttings, Snow Hill Wood, Mill Wood, Warren and Cuttinglye, from the trustees of William Gage for the sum of £8,260, possibly through an inheritance of his wife Julia.  All these properties were then deeded to his son James on 9th May 1748.  Also in 1748, Edward commissioned John Bourd to produce a map of the newly formed estate of Felbridge that extended to 1536 acres 2 roods and 34 perches.


It is evident from his commonplace book that Edward also owned property in the Blindley Heath and Tandridge areas, as his general accounts detail receipt of payments from tenants that include, John Baukum [Bawcombe] who occupied Hurst Farm otherwise Blindley Heath Farm, now Blue Anchor Farm [for further information see Handout, The Blue Anchor, JIC/SJC 03/12], William Bysh [Bish] who occupied Snouts Farm, now the Red Barn, both at Blindley Heath, and Stephen Bassett, a blacksmith of Oxted who had taken out a twenty-one year lease with the Evelyn family on his property (un-identified) in 1700.


Sadly Edward did not enjoy his newly created estate for long as he died aged seventy on 20th November 1751, and in his will (proved on 21st February 1752) he left to his son James, his ‘farm at Felbridge Water where I now dwell’, plus ‘all timber lately purchased of William Gage’ with the stipulation that it could not be used for two years.  He also stipulated that James was not to build ‘a house with outbuildings and garden’ that exceeded £1000.  He also left to James, two cottages called Hassels, plus ‘a now erected house at the sign of the Star [the Star Inn] and the smith shop [Felbridge Forge now the site of the Sussex Bed Centre], along with ‘all that common of Felbridge purchased of my brother Glanville, the farm in the occupation of Thomas Cowper with land and tithes, the cottage, outhouses and closes called Crab Cross, all of which above are in Godstone and Tandridge’.  To his daughter Julia he left £2000, to be inherited after the death of his wife, plus £1000, along with ‘all other land purchased by me of the Col. John West, in trust’.   The remaining £250 was to go to his son James after the death of his wife Julia.  He also requested that he be buried, simply and without fuss, in the family vault in St Nicholas Church, Godstone ‘in a strong lead coffin with a small monument to be inscribed Ens Eentium Miserere Mei [Father and source of being, have mercy upon me (God - Have mercy on me)].


Edward’s wife Julia continued to live on until 19th February 1771 when she died aged eighty-four years.


James Evelyn of Felbridge

James was the only surviving son of Edward Evelyn of Heath Hatch and Felbridge.  Like his father, James pursued a training in law and gained a LL.D. (Doctor of Laws), a doctorate-level academic degree in law. The double L in the abbreviation refers to the early practice in the University of Cambridge to teach both Canon Law and Civil Law, the double L indicating the plural, Doctor of both laws.  In former years, Doctors of Law were a distinct form of Attorney-at-Law who were empowered to act as advocates in the ecclesiastical, probate and admiralty courts.


James married Annabella Medley on 1st May 1755; Annabella having been born 1725, the daughter of Thomas Medley (of Friston and later Hogge House, Buxted) and his wife Annabelle, daughter of Sir Samuel Dashwood, Lord Mayor of London [for further information see Handout, Buxted Park, SJC 04/00].  James and Annabella had one daughter called Julia Annabella born at Felbridge on 7th January 1757, but sadly Annabella died a year later on 23rd December 1758, aged just thirty-three.


James took a second wife on 28th May 1761, Jane Fane née Cust (a widow whose husband Francis Fane had also died in 1758).  Jane Cust had been born in Pinchbeck, Lincolnshire, in about 1710, the daughter of Sir Richard Cust 2nd Baronet and his wife Anne Brownlow.  James and Jane had one daughter called Anne born on 18th December 1767.  Jane died on 11th January 1787 aged seventy seven, and sadly Anne died just four years later, aged just twenty four, on 16th November 1791 after her gown caught fire.  This tragic accident left James’ only daughter Julia by his first wife Annabella, sole heir to his estate.


James Evelyn inherited his father’s ‘farm at Felbridge Water’ known as Heath Hatch in 1751 and after his first marriage made Felbridge his sole residence.  One of the first things James did was to have a new house known as Felbridge House constructed near to or on the site of his father’s dwelling of Heath Hatch.



Felbridge House

Felbridge House was described by antiquarian E W Brayley in his book the Antiquities of Surrey, as ‘a handsome house at the southern extremity of Godstone… It stands in a park, bounded on the south by a stream called Felbridge Water, which divides the counties of Surrey and Sussex’.


The house that James Evelyn commissioned was built in the Italian style in brick and tile, and of modest proportions as requested by the terms of his father’s will.  WR Pepper writing in East Grinstead and Its Environments states that ‘the house is a fair-sized mansion, built of light-coloured and ornamental bricks, and is of the composite style of architecture’.  On the floor of the mansion there was a floor tile with the inscription ‘William Barnes, July 1763’, which is believed to be the name of the builder or tile maker and the date of construction.  It is also believed that this house either replaced or extended a previous house that was built circa 1690 by George Evelyn, which was called Heath Hatch.


The house was set on a slight eminence with commanding views of Hedgecourt Lake and the woodland beyond.  The elevation gained further views from the parapet balustrading of the tiled roof of the loggia of enriched brick-work on stone columns that ran along the length of the southwest side and around the bay of the main façade.


The main entrance to the house was on the northwest side under a porch that opened into a hall.  Leading from the hall was a dining room that had an apartment conveniently planned for service from the offices.  On the opposite side of the hall was the drawing room that had a carved marble mantel, the room opening through three large casement windows onto the Loggia and Terrace.  This room was considered to be expensively decorated with a painted ceiling, enriched cornices and panelled walls, with painted styling and gilded mouldings.  Next to the drawing room was the library, which also had large casement windows to the Loggia and Terrace.  Still on the ground floor there was a gunroom and the ground floor offices.  The domestic offices were well shut off from the dwelling and included a spacious kitchen fitted with a range, servant’s hall, scullery and butler’s pantry, and in the basement there were extensive wine and beer cellars.


Jutting out at a right angle from the offices, and forming one side of a walled fruit garden, was an assortment of outbuildings.  These included a brew and bake house, wash house, pump house with a good well, as well as various fuel sheds.  The outbuildings also included a substantial brick-built stable block, mounted with a clock in a turret and comprised of six loose boxes and a coach-house for four or five coaches with a loft above.  There was also accommodation for a coachman that comprised of two bedrooms, a living room and a scullery, and a groom’s mess room and detached harness room.


Returning to the house, the first floor was approached by a galleried staircase and a secondary staircase that led to a fine balustraded landing.  Here there were seven best bedrooms and several dressing rooms.  On the second floor there were nine secondary and servants’ bedrooms.  The landings were spacious and from the principal bedrooms there were beautiful views over the parkland and beyond, especially from the rooms on the southwest side which opened out on to a balcony running along the top of the Loggia.


The gardens included a productive walled kitchen garden, well stocked with fruit trees.  There was a heated peach and nectarine house, two vineries and a forcing house.  There were also three ranges of cold pits and a heated greenhouse in a small orchard.  The ‘pleasure grounds’ extended from a broad terrace with lawns and flower gardens to some six acres of rhododendrons, shrubs,  old yew hedges and species trees, including a fine old cedar tree and sequoia.  Within the grounds were woodland walks and after 1786, the Evelyn Monument (see below).


In 1763 Felbridge was not a village but a country estate and the only residents of Felbridge were the estate workers and their families.  It would appear that James was an enlightened man for his era and a caring master to work for and as a member of the Evelyn family, probably had the most impact upon Felbridge.  During his time at Felbridge not only was he responsible for the construction/remodelling of Felbridge House, but also the foundation of the School in Felbridge, now the oldest continually used school building in Surrey, the construction of a large monument to his parents Edward and Julia Evelyn, the construction of a Chapel within the grounds of Felbridge Park, and the foundation of a charitable trust for the welfare of the people of Felbridge known as the Beef and Faggot Charity.


Felbridge School

The school was founded and endowed by James Evelyn on 3rd November 1783 for the instruction of twelve poor children to be taught by a schoolmaster in a schoolhouse.  The site of the School consisted of one and half acre inclosure at the northeast end of Felbridge Heath, where a new house was built and appointed to the use of the school and the schoolmaster.  To maintain the school, James conveyed the property to Rev. George Bethune of Rowfant, and his heirs, and granted him an annuity of £21 per annum gained from the rents of two properties in Bletchingley in his ownership.  The annuity was to be used to keep the school in good condition and was to be used first on repairs of the schoolhouse, the fences and grounds and insuring the building, with the remainder to be paid to the schoolmaster in quarterly payments.  The rules written by James Evelyn give an insight into his character along with his religious and educational intent for the school.


School Rules

1) The schoolmaster was to be appointed by James Evelyn for the duration of his life and on his death by his wife and then their heirs.  If the heirs were infants then the Rectors or Vicars of East Grinstead, Worth, Godstone and Horne were to make the appointment jointly.

2) The schoolmaster could have the possession and use of the schoolhouse, grounds, gardens and other premises on the land.

3) The schoolmaster was to teach the children of the School the 3R’s, (arithmetic, reading and writing), and the catechism (a short book giving, in question and answer form, a brief summary of the basic principles the Christian faith).

Parents were not to be charged for anything except primers (school textbooks that covered the basic subjects), Testaments and writing books, and the schoolmaster had to provide quills, ink and books, and teach the children how to make their own pens.

4) The hours of teaching from Candlemas (2nd February) to 1st November were to be 8am to 4pm and the rest of the year from 9am to 3pm.  On Thursdays and Saturdays the School was to finish at 12 midday.

5) The School was to be open for forty-seven weeks a year, with one week’s holiday at Easter and Whitsun and three weeks at Christmas.

6) The schoolmaster was at liberty to teach up to twelve other children on his own account.  The boys were to be between the ages of six and ten, and girls between the ages of six and thirteen.

7) The schoolmaster was to instruct twelve poor children, eight boys and four girls from the four surrounding parishes, one girl from each parish and one boy from East Grinstead, two boys each from Worth and Horne and three boys from Godstone, and the children had to live within two and half miles of the school.

8) The children to attend the School were to be nominated by James Evelyn for the duration of his life and on his death by his wife and then their heirs.  If the heirs were infants then the Rectors or Vicars of East Grinstead, Worth, Godstone and Horne were to make the decision jointly.

9) The schoolmaster had to be of Protestant faith and not practise any mechanical trade.  When the children assembled each day the schoolmaster had to say the Lord’s Prayer and teach the children to repeat it after him, even before they could read or write.

10) The schoolmaster could also be dismissed by James Evelyn for the duration of his life and on his death by his wife and then their heirs.  If the heirs were infants then the Rectors or Vicars of East Grinstead, Worth, Godstone and Horne were to make the dismissal decision jointly [for further information see Handout, Felbridge School, SJC 09/05].



Evelyn Monument

In 1785, despite the request by Edward Evelyn that there should be no large scale monument to his life, his son James commissioned Sir John Soane to design a monument to both his parents to be constructed within the grounds of Felbridge Park.  The commission was an unusual one for Soane as his early commissions were mostly for additions or alterations to houses.


The monument was constructed of Turners Hill stone and was designed with a single square step on which a circular drum was to stand.  The use of a circular drum was unusual as most surviving columns stand on square pedestals.  Soane probably used the circular drum to be able to use the allegory of the snake devouring its own tail that naturally suited a round form.  In Soane’s time this symbolised eternity and was in common use.   Edward Foxhall was engaged to carve the snake.  On the drum above the snake is the Wykehamist motto ‘Manners Makyth Man’ on the opposite side to the snake’s head.  Above the drum there was a 75ft (23m) tapering column, although the actual drawings show the column to be 57ft (17.5m) tall.


The Latin inscription on the column reads:

Jacobus Evelyn, Filius Edwardi Evelyn

Et Juliae Uxoris Ejus

(O! Benignissimi Parentes)

Hanc Columnam

Hac Terra (Natale Solum)


Pientissime Gratissimeque




Johannes Soane


James Evelyn son of Edward Evelyn

and of Julia his wife

(O kindest of parents)

most piously and gratefully had this column placed on this land

(the place of his birth)


AD 1786




The monument was completed in 1786, and stood in what is now part of the back garden of Tall Acre, 78, Copthorne Road, until 1927 when it was dismantled and rebuilt within the grounds of Lemmington Hall, Alnwick, Northumberland, by Sir Stephen Aitchinson [for further information see Handout, The Felbridge Monument, SJC 08/99].


Evelyn Chapel at Felbridge

During all the preceding years that Felbridge and its surrounding area had been in the ownership of the Evelyn family, they had worshipped at the church of St Nicholas in Godstone, where the family of Sir John Evelyn ofLeigh Place, Godstone and Marden had erected a Chapel (see above).  On making Felbridge Park his sole residence, James Evelyn decided to commission a Chapel to be built in his own grounds [for further information see Handout, The Felbridge Chapel, SJC05/00].  It has not yet been possible to verify who designed and built the Chapel but in 1786 Sir John Soane submitted designs for the project.  Having previously been commissioned by James to design the Evelyn Monument in Felbridge Park it is possible that it was his designs that were used.


The Chapel doors opened in 1787 endowed with a silver cup, platen and flagon emblazoned with the Evelyn crest.  Funding was secured for the Chapel’s continued use after the death of James by the formation of a charity by a codicil of his will in which he requested that the sum of £1166. 13s. 4d was to be invested, also giving the names of several trustees to administer the terms and conditions of the charity.  The fund gave £30 a year for the officiating minister, £2. 10s for the clerk, £2. 10s to find bread and wine for the Sacraments and the remainder for repairs of the chapel.  It was declared that the owner of the Mansion House at Felbridge was to appoint the chapel keeper and could ‘remove him at their pleasure’.  They were also to appoint the minister who was to be a Clergyman of the Church of England, in priests’ orders and again the owner could ‘remove him for sufficient cause’.  The minister was to perform ‘divine service’ every Sunday morning at 11 o’clock, and on Good Friday and Christmas day, the Sacrament was to be administered on Good Friday, Christmas day and Whit Sunday, and every first Sunday in the month, except such Sunday that should follow these festivals.  The minister was also to catechise the children every Sunday.


The Chapel remained open until 1865 when it was replaced by St John the Divine Church that had been commissioned by the Gatty family who had purchased Felbridge Park from descendents of the Evelyn family in 1856.  The church was constructed opposite the Chapel and a condition of the new church was that the Chapel be demolished.  The Chapel silver moved across the road and joined a new cup and platen that had been endowed by the Gatty’s, along with the top of the altar, the lectern, pulpit and font.  The carved stone crest of the Evelyn family that had adorned the Chapel was given back to descendants of the Evelyn family and accepted by Cecil George Savile Foljambe, 1st Earl of Liverpool, Lord Hawkesbury, great, great grandson of James Evelyn (see below).


Beef and Faggot Charity

It is evident that during his life, James was a model lord of the manor, providing for both the educational and spiritual needs of his estate workers and tenants in Felbridge.  It is also evident, from a codicil of his will referring to the Beef and Faggot Charity, that he also provided for the welfare of these people, especially the poorer members of the community, as the codicil recommended that 4-stone (56lbs/25.2kg) of beef should be provided and made into broth and distributed, ‘as during my lifetime’, from the first Thursday in November until the last Thursday in April, and that a round of beef, weighing not less than 2-stone 2lbs (58lbs/26.1kg), should be provided every Sunday of the year, ‘as during my life time’.


The codicil stipulated that the preparation and cooking of both the beef broth and beef should be done by the Schoolmistress, who would receive 200 faggots of wood a year to ‘dress’ [prepare and cook] the meat.  The codicil also made provision for beer and bread to be served with the broth and beef by allowing the Schoolmistress the rate of 1d per head for beer and 1d per head for bread for those who partook of the charity.  The codicil also stated that the number of people to benefit from the charity of receiving the beef broth and the prepared beef was ‘not to be less than twelve nor more than fourteen’.


The codicil of James Evelyn’s will ensured that the provision of beef broth and a roast dinner continued with the formation of the Beef and Faggot Charity, which, in a modified form, still continues to this day [for further information see Handout, The Beef and Faggot Charity, SJC 03/03].


On the death of James Evelyn on 7th November 1793 the Felbridge estate passed to his only surviving daughter and sole heir Julia Annabella, wife of Sir George Augustus Shuckburgh.


End of the Evelyn Era in Felbridge

Although the Felbridge estate was to remain in the ownership of descendents of the Evelyn family for the next sixty-three years it was to pass down the generations through the female line and thus it was no longer the main residence, so ending the direct association of the Evelyn family with Felbridge that had lasted for two hundred and five years.


Julia Annabella Shuckburgh-Evelyn née Evelyn

Julia inherited the Felbridge estate and the Advowson of the Chapel from her father James on his death in 1793.  Julia had married George Augustus Shuckburgh at St Margret’s Church, Westminster, on 6th October 1785 and they had one daughter, Julia Evelyn Medley Shuckburgh born on 5th October 1790.  In order to inherit her father’s estate Julia and her husband George were requested in the will of James Evelyn to add Evelyn to their name so their last name became Shuckburgh-Evelyn.


George Augustus Shuckburgh had been born at Shuckburgh Park, Daventry, Warwickshire, on 23rd August 1751, the son of Richard Shuckburgh and his wife Sarah née Hayward.  Shuckburgh Hall, which incorporates a 14th century timber framed building, had been the home of the Shuckburgh family since the 11th century.  In 1773 George succeeded his uncle Sir Charles Shuckburgh as 6th Baronet Shuckburgh, his father having died the year previously.  George’s interest included mathematics and astronomy and in 1774 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1777 a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.  In 1798 George was the Winner of the Copley Medal of the Royal Society for his work with microscopes.  He also made several astronomical observations which he published in twelve volumes between 1774 and 1797, and in 1791 he had a telescope installed in his private observatory at Shuckburgh which enabled him to make measurements of lunar surface features.  As a result of his work one of the craters discovered on the moon is named after him.


In 1780 George began his career as MP for Warwickshire, serving in the House of Commons until just before his 1804.  In 1782 George had married Sarah Johanna Darker, but sadly she died within a year of their marriage, thus he married Julia Annabella Evelyn.


As already established, in 1793 Julia inherited the Felbridge estate but as the Shuckburgh-Evelyn family resided at Shuckburgh Hall they had no requirement for Felbridge Park as a family home and it would appear that the property was leased out, possibly to John Nicholls esquire (formerly of Epsom), as he is recorded as the tenant in the first years of the 1800’s.


Julia pre-deceased George on 14th September 1797, aged forty-six, and Felbridge Park remained under the control of George until his death on 11th August 1804, aged fifty-two, when the property passed to their only daughter Julia Evelyn Medley Shuckburgh.  Having no need of Felbridge Park as a home, the property continued to be leased to John Nicholls esquire until circa 1808.


Julia Evelyn Medley Jenkinson née Shuckburgh-Evelyn

Julia inherited Felbridge Park and the Advowson of the Chapel as a minor aged just 14½ years, on the death of her father.  On 19th July 1810 (at the age of 19½ years) Julia Evelyn Medley Shuckburgh-Evelyn married Hon. Charles Cecil Cope Jenkinson, 3rd Earl of Liverpool, and they had three daughters; Lady Catherine Julia born on 23rd July 1811, Lady Selina Charlotte born on 3rd July 1812 and Lady Louisa Harriet born on 28th March 1814.


Charles Cecil Cope Jenkinson had been born on 29th May 1784, the son of Charles Jenkinson, 1st Earl of Liverpool, and his second wife Catherine, the daughter of Sir Cecil Bishopp, 6th Baronet, of Parham, Sussex. Charles CC was educated at Charterhouse School and Christ College, Oxford, and in 1805, during the Napoleonic Wars, served as a volunteer in the Austrian Army at the Battle of Austerlitz.  In 1807 Charles CC was elected as MP for Sandwich, Kent, a seat he held until 1812 when he sat for Bridgnorth, Shropshire, which he held until 1818 before becoming the MP for East Grinstead, Sussex, until 1828.  Charles CC succeeded in the earldom of Liverpool in 1828 on the death of his older half-brother, Robert Bankes Jenkinson, becoming 3rd Earl Liverpool, 3rd Lord Hawkesbury.


Julia Evelyn Medley Jenkinson pre-deceased Charles CC on 8th April 1814, at the age of just twenty-four, and her interest in the Felbridge estate passed to her husband Charles CC who remained a widower until his death on 3rd October 1851, when the Felbridge estate passed in trust for their second daughter Lady Selina.  On his death the Barony of Hawkesbury which Charles CC held and the Earldom of Liverpool became extinct.  However, in 1905 the Earldom was revived and was passed to his grandson Cecil George Savile Foljambe, the son of his second daughter, Lady Selina, Viscountess Milton (see below).


Like the previous female descendants of the Evelyn family Felbridge Park was not needed as a family home and after John Nicholls esquire,the property was leased to Rt. Hon. Lady Jane Long (formerly Maitland) of Carshalton, between 1808 and 1812 when Robert Jenner esquire of Glamorgan, took out a seven year lease.  In 1819 the property was again leased for seven years, this time to Charles Jevon esquire.  At the end of this lease in 1826, George Raikes esquire, of Fulham, took out a twenty-one year lease on Felbridge Park.  On the death of George Raikes on 16th January 1840, his wife Marianne [Maria] (the daughter of Banker Isaac Currie of the Currie & Co. Bank) assumed the lease.


Lady Selina Charlotte Foljambe née Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, née Jenkinson, Viscountess Milton

Lady Selina inherited Felbridge Park and the Chapel in trust on the death of her father in 1851.  At that time Felbridge Park was in the occupation of Thomas P Hutton, listed as a curate of Lingfield, Surrey.


Lady Selina had married the Hon. William Charles Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, Viscount Milton (son of the 5th Earl Fitzwilliam), on 15th August 1833, and they had a daughter, Hon. Mary Selina Wentworth-Fitzwilliam born on 9th January 1836, two months after the death of her father on 8th November 1835.  Lady Selina, Viscountess Milton, married again on 28th August 1845, George Savile Foljambe, being his second wife, and they had four children: Cecil George Savile born 7th November 1846, Elizabeth Anne born 17th October 1847, Frances Mary born 17th October 1848 and Caroline Frederica born 16th October 1850.


George Savile Foljambe was born on the 4th June 1800 at Aldewick, Yorkshire, the son of John Savile Foljambe and Elizabeth Willoughby.  George married, firstly, Harriet Emily Mary Milner on 9th December 1828 at Bolton Percy, Yorkshire, and they had one child, Rt. Hon. Francis John Foljambe born on 9th April 1830.  Sadly Harriet died on 28th December 1830 and George re-married, Lady Selina, their marriage conducted in the private chapel at Wentworth House.


In 1814, George had inherited Osberton in Northamptonshire from his uncle and this became his family home on reaching adulthood in 1821.  Shortly after his marriage to Lady Selina, George made considerable additions to the house at Osberton by adding a kitchen wing and a museum to house his collection of natural history.  George was the High Sheriff of Nottingham and stood as a Liberal candidate in the General Election of 1837.  It is said that George was a liberal landlord and high-minded country gentleman, ready to contribute to every good work.  In his early life he had been a keen sportsman, especially in the hunting field and was for many years the owner and master of the Sandbeck pack of hounds.  George died on 18th December 1869 at the age of sixty-nine.


Lady Selina was gifted in the arts and painted and had two books published: Three Years on the Australian Station published in 1868 (a book about the British Admiralty command post in Sydney established in 1859) and Short Readings on the Four Gospels published in 1872.  Again, with a large family estate in Nottinghamshire, Lady Selina had no need for Felbridge Park as a home when she inherited it in 1851 and it continued to be leased.   In 1855 the property was taken on by George Gatty of Crowhurst Park, Sussex, and on 20th March 1856 he purchased Felbridge Park, amounting to an estimated 1,740 and the Advowson of the Chapel, thus ending the connection between the Evelyn family and Felbridge.



Lady Selina continued to live at Osberton until her death on 24th September 1883, aged seventy-six.  In 1895, her son Cecil George Savile Foljambe, 1st Earl Liverpool, Lord Hawkesbury, erected a brass plaque in the church of St John the Divine in Felbridge, with the inscription:










Godstone, A Parish History, by Uvedale Lambert

Diary of John Evelyn, edited by William Bray, 1879

Diary of John Evelyn, edited by Guy de la Bedoyere, 1999

The History of the Evelyn Family, by Helen Evelyn

Goldstone, the story of a Shropshire manor and its people over more than 800 years, by Philip Beddows

The Hundred Years War 1337-1453, by Anne Curry

Black Powder, the History of the first establishment of Gunpowder Works in England, by Col. Samuel Parlby, 1862

Powle/Evelyn conveyance, 1588, CP 25/2/227/30ELIZITRIN TNA

Handout, Eating and Drinking establishments of Felbridge, Pt. II, JIC/SJC 03/08, FHWS

Ivan Margary notes, FHA

Felbridge Parish and People

Budgen Map 1724, FHA

The Story of Surrey’s Watermills, A journey of Enchantment by RC Elliot, Surrey Mirror article, 1978, FHA

'Monopolies', Analytical index to the series of records known as the Remembrancia: 1579-1664 (1878), III 108

Liverpool papers, Add Ms 38480, BL

The History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey, Manning & Bray 1814

Bourd map of the Felbridge estate, 1748, FHA

Tandridge Tithe map and apportionment, FHA

Tandridge Land Tax, QS 6/7 SHC/LL

Magnus Deo Manorial map 1720, LL

Buckhurst Terrier SRS v39, FHA

Court Books for the manor of Lagham, P25/21/11, SHC

Handout, Lagham Manor, SJC 10/99, FHWS

Evelyn/Boone conveyance of Godstone manor, 1733/4, Greenwell papers, SHC

Handout, The Felbridge Triangle, SJC 03/05, FHWS

Handout, Warren Furnace, SJC 01/00, FHWS

Handout, Evelyn Chestnuts, JIC 09/00, FHWS

Handout, Park Corner Farm, SJC05/09, FHWS

Handout, The Blue Anchor, JIC/SJC 03/12, FHWS

Handout, The Commonplace Book of Colonel Edward Evelyn, JIC/SJC 09/07, FHWS

Handout, Madame de Pougens, Grand-daughter of Edward Evelyn, SJC 11/08, FHWS

Handout, Buxted Park, SJC 04/00, FHWS

Antiquities of Surrey by EH Brayley

East Grinstead and Its Environments, by WR Pepper

Felbridge Place Sale Catalogue, 1911, FHA

Handout, Felbridge School SJC/0905, FHWS

Handout, Felbridge Monument, SJC 08/99, FHWS

Handout, The Felbridge Chapel, SJC05/00, FHWS

Handout, Beef and Faggot Charity, SJC 03/03, FHWS

Various Evelyn and associated family pedigrees, www.thepeerage.com


Texts of all Handouts referred to in this document can be found on FHG website: www.felbridge.org.uk

JIC/SJC 09/13