Shuckburgh-Evelyn, George Augustus William (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 52
Shuckburgh-Evelyn, George Augustus William

by Edward Irving Carlyle

SHUCKBURGH-EVELYN, Sir GEORGE AUGUSTUS WILLIAM (1751–1804) sixth baronet, mathematician, born on 23 Aug. 1751, was the eldest son of Richard Shuckburgh (1728–1772) of Limerick, by his wife Sarah, daughter of John Hayward of Plumstead, Kent, captain R.N., and widow of Edward Bate. Sir Richard Shuckburgh [q. v.], whose son John was created a baronet on 26 June 1660, was his great-great-grandfather.

George entered Rugby school in 1760, and matriculated from Balliol College, Oxford, on 22 April 1768, graduating B.A. in 1772. On quitting the university he devoted three years to travel in France and Italy, occupying himself with scientific investigations. On the death of his uncle, Sir Charles Shuckburgh, fifth baronet, on 10 Aug. 1773, he succeeded to the baronetcy and family estates at Shuckburgh, Warwickshire. On 27 Sept. 1780 he was returned to parliament for the county of Warwick, and retained his seat until his death (Official Returns of Members of Parliament, ii. 169, 182, 195, 208, 222).

Shuckburgh was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 22 Dec. 1774, and on 4 Dec. 1777 a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. In 1777 and 1778 he communicated to the Royal Society the results of investigations made by him and Major-general William Roy (1726–1790) [q. v.] in Savoy concerning the measurement of the height of mountains by the barometer. His treatise was published with the title ‘Observations made in Savoy to ascertain the Height of Mountains by the Barometer,’ London, 1777, 4to. In 1798 Shuckburgh communicated to the Royal Society the result of experiments made with a view to determine the relation between the English yard and some invariable standard. Shuckburgh's results have since been found to be correct within .00745 of an inch. To record his conclusions he employed Troughton to construct for him a brass bar on which the length of five feet was engraved, divided into tenths of an inch. The scale is now in the possession of the Royal Society. He made similar investigations regarding the measures of capacity and weight, details of which were also given in his paper. Most of his experiments were carried out in an observatory which he caused to be constructed for his use at Shuckburgh.

Shuckburgh died at Shuckburgh on 11 Aug. 1804. He was twice married: first, on 3 July 1782, to Sarah Johanna, younger daughter and coheir of John Darker of Gayton, Northamptonshire. She died on 10 April 1783, leaving no children. He married, secondly, on 6 Oct. 1785, Julia Annabella, daughter and heir of James Evelyn of Felbridge, Surrey. On the death of his father-in-law in 1793 he assumed the additional surname of Evelyn. By his wife, who died on 14 Sept. 1797, he had a daughter, Julia Evelyn Medley Shuckburgh-Evelyn, who was married to Charles Cecil Cope Jenkins, third earl of Liverpool [q. v.] The baronetcy descended to Sir George's brother, Sir Stewkeley Shuckburgh (1757–1809).

Besides the work and papers already mentioned, Shuckburgh was the author of ‘An Account of the Equatoreal Instrument’ [London? 1793?], 4to [see Ramsden, Jesse], and of further contributions to the ‘Transactions’ of the Royal Society.

[English Cyclopædia, Biography, v. 488; Colvile's Worthies of Warwickshire, p. 691; Register of Rugby School, 1675–1849, p. 39; Foster's Alumni Oxon. (later ser.); Gent. Mag. 1804, ii. 793; The Beauties of England and Wales, 1814, xv. 96; Miscell. Geneal. et Herald. (2nd ser.), iii. 279, 280, 357; Nichols's Literary Anecdotes, ii. 638, iii. 623, viii. 16; Thomson's Hist. of Royal Soc. App. p. lv; Hutton's Philosophical and Mathematical Dictionary, 1815.]

E. I. C.