George Eliot’s Early Life

George Eliot had an older sister, Chrissey, and an older brother, Isaac. Her father, Robert Evans, also had two children with his first wife who had died.

Robert Evans was land agent for the Arbury Estate. This involved managing the land and farms owned by the Newdigate family (the owners of Arbury Hall). When Eliot was a baby, the family moved to Griff House – a farm with 230 acres on the Arbury Estate.

Eliot enjoyed accompanying her father on his rounds of the Estate. She was very close to her brother Isaac. She spent much of her free time playing with him in the fields around Griff House, and walking along the canals. Eliot and her brother were separated when they went to different schools.

The relationship between siblings (Maggie and Tom) in The Mill on the Floss is said to be based on her relationship with Isaac.

Eliot had many aunts and uncles living locally who she visited with her family. They also inspired characters in her writing.