The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.484483, -0.031071

1893 text

Evelyn purchased Sayes Court, Deptford, in 1653, and laid out his gardens, walks, groves, enclosures, and plantations, which afterwards became famous for their beauty. When he took the place in hand it was nothing but an open field of one hundred acres, with scarcely a hedge in it.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

5 Annotations

First Reading

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Sayles Court Garden

Evelyn’s plan of the garden at Sayles Court:…

From the British Library website a general discussion of Evelyn and garden theory and practice based on his papers and the unpublished manuscript of ‘Elysium Britannicum’:-…

“Evelyn believed that the proper art of gardening involved a return to biblical and ancient practices. In his extensive correspondence with Evelyn, Beale regularly drew attention to the works of classical authors on gardens, and to historical examples drawn from the Bible. He looked forward confidently to the location of the true site of paradise, and the rediscovery of the original language of Eden (which he thought might be Chinese). For his part, Evelyn began his Elysium manuscript with a discussion of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden and of their subsequent rediscovery of gardening and husbandry, arguing that ‘God had destin’d them this employment for a sweete & most agreable punition of their sinns’ (Evelyn Papers Ms.45, facing p.1). Evelyn was confident that human ingenuity and labour could return the earth to its pristine fertility and beauty, and restore paradise in a garden designed according to ancient precepts (Evelyn Papers Ms. 45, p.1):

‘Adam instructed his Posteritie how to handle the Spade so dextrously, that, in processe of tyme, men began, with the indulgence of heaven, to recover that by Arte and Industrie, which was before produced to them spontaneously; and to improve the Fruites of the Earth, to gratifie as well their pleasures and contemplations, as their necessities and daily foode.’…

‘John Evelyn’s “Elysium Britannicum” and European Gardening,’ A series of essays discussing various aspect of Evelyn and gardening:…

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Thanks Paul: the extensive interactive 'lost gardens' site devoted to Evelyn and Sayes Court has disappeared since my original post of May 6th. which is what I copied and pasted here; all that seems to be available on the BL site now is a very few reproduced pages from the Ms. Anyone interested will find the same information as the site, and very much more, in BL curator and Evelyn specialist Frances Harris's various articles, in specialist journals such as 'Garden History', and conference papers on Evelyn and the 'Elysium Britannicum' manuscript, these include lengthy discussion of the garden its possible symbolism both personal and cultural, Eden and period meditative and contemplative practice etc., alas none are available on the web.

Some of the information is included in passing in her splendid 'Transformations of Love: The Friendship of John Evelyn and Margaret Godolphin' Oxford: 2003.

For Claire Tomalin's review:-…
It won the Pepys Prize in 2005:-…

Second Reading

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.


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