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History

In the early C13, Newton Surmaville was in the possession of the de Salmonville family, from which the estate derives its name (CL, 1952). The estate descended through the de Salmonville's female descendants until 1510 when John Burnell sold it to John Compton. The property was again sold in 1608 when it was acquired by Robert Harbin (b 1526), a wealthy mercer from Blandford Forum, Dorset. Despite his advanced years, Harbin proceeded to demolish the existing house and build a new mansion which was completed in 1612. Robert Harbin died in 1621 and was succeeded by his son John, who served as High Sheriff of Dorset in 1623. The estate suffered from fines during the Commonwealth, but continued in the Harbin family. In the early C18, Wyndham Harbin (d 1741) kept a diary which records work in the garden including planting apple trees and asparagus beds (CL, 1952). Wyndham Harbin's son, Swayne, constructed a summerhouse on the summit of Newton Hill, now Summer House Hill, in the mid-C18, benefiting from extensive southerly views across Barwick Park (qv). Swayne Harbin (d 1780) was probably also responsible for planting the hillside between the house and summerhouse. Swayne Harbin's son, Wyndham, made Newton Surmaville over to his widowed mother until her death in 1809. Between 1809 and 1823 the house was unoccupied, although Wyndham Harbin passed control of the estate to his nephew, George Harbin, who occupied the house until his death in 1880, undertaking a scheme of restoration and improvement in the 1860s and 1870s (CL, 1952). George Harbin was also responsible for ensuring that the track for the Yeovil Branch of the London and South Western Railway was laid on the farther, Dorset, bank of the River Yeo, thus preventing intrusion within the park. George Harbin's widow occupied the house until 1898 when it passed to an elderly nephew, Henry Harbin, who died in 1909. The estate was inherited by Henry Harbin's nephew, the Revd Edward Bates, who took the name Harbin and moved to the estate from nearby Puckington where he was Prebendary of Wells Cathedral. With his wife, Hilda, the Revd Bates Harbin developed the gardens around the house in the early years of the C20. He died in 1918, but the estate continued to be occupied by his widow and she was responsible for further development of the gardens up to the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. A small area of park was developed as part of the Yeovil Golf Club course in the mid-C20. Mrs Bates Harbin died in 1962, and the house was inherited by her daughter Sophie Rawlins (nee Sophie Bates Wyndham Harbin). The current owners purchased the house in 2007, and today (2014) the site remains in divided ownership.

Features

pond

boat house

kitchen garden

Feature created: 1800 to 1850

Walled kitchen garden

rockery

urn

summerhouse

Feature created: 1750