History

Newton Surmaville from the hill
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Renovations

The house was hugely restored from 2007 onwards when the previous occupants rescued it from a long period of decay. Again, more recently, the current owners have heightened the level of luxury even further with the skills of the renowned New York interior designer, Jeffrey Bilhuber.

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History of the House

Newton Surmaville enjoys a proud history dating back to the medieval times when the first occupants occupied the site. The house has mainly been lived in since then by the Harbin family, who until very latterly did an amazing job of preserving the estate.

Read About the House History
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Local Area
Newton Surmaville is located on the southern part of Somerset and very near the border with Dorset. The house is close to a mass of local attractions and on the outskirts of the traditional market town of Yeovil.
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History

The Story Behind Newton Surmaville House

Newton House, as it was originally known was created by two men. The first, Robert Harbin, was responsible for building the present house, which replaced a medieval property and which was completed in in 1612. Much later a descendant George Harbin significantly enlarged the house and made a lot of internal alterations and improvements. When Robert Harbin bought the estate in 1608 the medieval house was completely demolished, although a couple of arched windows do survive from this period. However, once the new house was built remarkably little was changed for the next three centuries, when major alterations were finally required.

Before George Harbin made many improvements the house was not very practical, as access to one room could only be achieved by going through another. This was one of the things George Harbin addressed in the 1820’s and he also built a lobby on both floors as well as altering the main staircase to fit the new extension. He built new corridors which greatly added to the general feeling of privacy within the house and introduced ornate ceilings to the justice room, drawing room, dining room and main bedroom. George was responsible for a huge amount of improvements to the house and he went on to build a morning room which later became the music room and which allowed the family easy access to the gardens. George also demolished the stables and rebuilt them to the rear of the property. He altered the position of the driveway, constructed the garden walls and built the outbuildings. So, there is no doubt that George Harbin or ‘the Squire of Newton’ as he was known, hugely contributed to the house becoming the magnificent home it is today.

1608

Newton house is purchased by Robert Harbin and rebuilt.

Local merchant Robert Harbin bought a medieval dwelling standing on the site, which he demolished and then built a new house, which was completed in 1612. The original house was owned by a Norman family called de Salmonville who came over from Rouen in the 12th Century. Robert Harbin married another merchant’s daughter from Blandford and they had three sons and six daughters. Robert died in 1621 and was succeeded by his son John.
1820

Later family member George Harbin massively upgrades the property for a new style of living.

The estate came under the care of George Harbin (1800-1880) who eventually succeeded his Uncle Wyndham and who embarked on major alterations and improvements to the house. These made Newton a more practical home for the family to live in, a lot more spacious and in certain rooms much more decorative. George also made improvements to the grounds and outbuildings creating a lot of what we see today.
1960

A period of decline at Newton when the house fell into disrepair.

This was a period of sad decline for Newton House when the owners Sophie (daughter of Hilda Bates Harbin) and her husband Cosmo Rawlins sadly had neither the funds or the estate management skills to look after the property. The whole estate which had been much reduced in size gradually fell into disrepair and decay with only very basic maintenance being done. Cosmo died in 1983 and Sophie continued to live at Newton in rather reduced circumstances until her death in 2006.
2007+

The house is rescued and comes back to life.

The home was purchased in 2007 by Robin and Jane Cannon, along with 62 acres of grounds and they took on the huge challenge of restoring the property. Over subsequent years, the house & grounds were extensively restored and updated; a new heating system installed and a lot of interior decoration took place. The gardens were hugely restored and expanded. In 2020, the baton was passed to a new family, who reside in the States but who have close ties to the Harbin family. They have made significant further refurbishments to the house, with the aid of a top New York interior designer and there are further improvements in the pipeline.
Newton Surmaville Fluorish Graphic
Newton Surmaville Fluorish Graphic
Newton Background Pattern

Our Guests

Newton Surmaville from the walled garden

Three Special Features of Your Somerset Stay.

Renovations

The house was hugely restored from 2007 onwards when the previous occupants rescued it from a long period of decay and again more recently by the new owners who have heightened the level of luxury even further.

Read More

Newton Surmaville has always been an elegant and imposing home but by the time the Cannons arrived in 2007, it was in urgent need of many upgrades to bring it up to modern day standards. Aside from a new central heating system, electricity is now provided to all rooms, new bathrooms have been installed, plus a laundry and ironing room. There is also a cinema room and a kids playroom. However only very modest alterations have made to the structure of the house and despite further extensive refurbishments by the current owners, all the character, charm and original features of the house have been maintained. 

Externally in 2007, the entire gardens were on the verge of irredeemable decline. The meadows had been fenced where cattle used to graize, the walls were encased with ivy, the walled garden which had once been so productive with fruit and vegetables now just contained the odd gooseberry bush and the rest of the gardens were left unkempt or with long grass that was not tended. Amazingly the Cannons managed to take on this huge task and restore all these areas to their former glory. This involved a huge amount of planning and hard work by the owners and their wonderful team of gardeners.

Tapestry Room 1600

History of the House

Newton Surmaville enjoys a proud history dating back to the medieval times when the first occupants occupied the site. The house has mainly been occupied since then by the Harbin family, who until very latterly did an amazing job of preserving the estate.

Read More

Newton House, as it was originally known was created by two men. The first, Robert Harbin, was responsible for building the present house, which replaced a medieval property and which was completed in in 1612. Much later a descendant George Harbin significantly enlarged the house and made a lot of internal alterations and improvements. When Robert Harbin bought the estate in 1608 the medieval house was completely demolished, although a couple of arched windows do survive from this period. However, once the new house was built remarkably little was changed for the next three centuries, when major alterations were finally required.

Before George Harbin made many improvements the house was not very practical, as access to one room could only be achieved by going through another. This was one of the things George Harbin addressed in the 1820’s and he also built a lobby on both floors as well as altering the main staircase to fit the new extension. He built new corridors which greatly added to the general feeling of privacy within the house and introduced ornate ceilings to the justice room, drawing room, dining room and main bedroom. George was responsible for a huge amount of improvements to the house and he went on to build a morning room which later became the music room and which allowed the family easy access to the gardens. George also demolished the stables and rebuilt them to the rear of the property. He altered the position of the driveway, constructed the garden walls and built the outbuildings. So, there is no doubt that George Harbin or ‘the Squire of Newton’ as he was known, hugely contributed to the house becoming the magnificent home it is today.

Newton Surmaville Ornate Stone Crest

Local Area

Newton Surmaville is located on the southern part of Somerset and very near the border with Dorset. The house is close to a mass of local attractions and on the outskirts of the traditional market town of Yeovil.

Read More

The house stands proudly but quietly on the edge of Yeovil, which is on the main Roman road from Dorchester to the Fosse at Ilchester. Newton Surmaville House is situated in an unassuming valley whose principal resident is the River Yeo, which has meandered through for thousands of years. The river then flows through Yeovil itself and onto the Somerset levels. The other main inhabitant of the site is the wildlife! There is a large collection of newts in the ponds, kingfishers on the river, deer, foxes and badgers in the woodlands, buzzards patrolling the skies, rooks in the chimneys and a mass of other bird life, plus bees from the neighbour’s hives, butterflies and dragonflies in the summer but sadly no trout in the ponds as they were eaten by the otters.

The bridge over the River Yeo at Newton Surmaville

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