House & Family History: John Evelyn was born at Wotton on October 31, 1620 and died there in 1706. Evelyn was a famous diarist and one of the principal literary sources of the life and manners of 17th century England. He wrote about architecture, art, fashion, agriculture, and pollution. His most noted work is "Silva: or a Discourse of Forest-Trees, and the Propagation of Timber," the first important work on conservation, published at a time when England's forests were being stripped of timber to build ships for the burgeoning English Navy. A friend of Charles II, Evelyn was a cosmopolitan and sophisticated man who traveled in an influential circle that included Samuel Pepys, the 3rd Earl of Burlington, and Christopher Wren. He was a founder of The Royal Society and one of the prime movers in the creation of the Chelsea and Greenwich Hospitals. The famous firm of Crabtree & Evelyn, founded in 1973 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was named in honor of John Evelyn for his work in conservation and gardening. (Evelyn lived at Sayes Court, Deptford, from 1652 until 1694, where he created his world-famous garden.) Wotton was let to the Fire Service Training College 1947-80, and to Telecom Training between 1981 and 1986. The House is today a conference center.
Collections: The Library was sold at Christie's in 1977. Robert Walker's 1648 portrait of John Evelyn was sold to the National Portrait Gallery for £294,184.
Garden & Outbuildings: The gardens laid out by John Evelyn in the 16th century have been greatly altered.
John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: 2.S. Vol. I, p. 176, 1854.
Title: Disintegration of a Heritage: Country Houses and their Collections, 1979-1992, The
Author: Sayer, Michael
Year Published: 1993
Publisher: Norfolk: Michael Russell (Publishing)
Book Type: Hardback
House Listed: Grade II*
Park Listed: Grade II
Past Seat of: John Evelyn, 17th century.
Current Ownership Type: Corporation
Primary Current Ownership Use: Hotel
Ownership Details: Today Wotton House Country House Estate Hotel
House Open to Public: By Appointment
Historic Houses Member: No