17th Century scholar and diarist (1620-1706)
Evelyn’s diaries or memoirs are largely of the same period as the other noted diarist of the time, Samuel Pepys.
Over his long life and career, Evelyn contributed to most of the fields of knowledge of his age, and was a friend to contemporaries Sir Christopher Wren, Samuel Pepys, Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle and Sir Isaac Newton.
His diaries shed considerable light on the art, culture and politics of the time. He witnessed the deaths of Charles I and Oliver Cromwell, the last Great Plague of London, and the Great Fire of London in 1666.
Over the years, Evelyn’s Diary has been over-shadowed by Pepys’s chronicles of 17th-century life. Evelyn and Pepys frequently corresponded, and much of this has been preserved. Evelyn is one of Surrey History Centre’s heroes.