DiCamillo Companion

Newton Surmaville (Newton House)

  • Earlier Houses: There was an earlier house on the site of the current house.

    Built / Designed For: Robert Harbin

    House & Family History: Newton Surmaville was built in the early 17th century for Robert Harbin, a wealthy Yeovil wool merchant. The estate remained with the descendants of his family until 2006, when Sophia Wyndham Rawlins died at the age of 97. The Surmaville part of the estate name originates from the de Salmonvilles, who were a noted family in the West Country. Newton Surmaville was listed for sale in April of 2007 for £6 million.

    Collections: Newton Surmaville contained a noted library, as well as fine collections of pewter and 18th century pistols and swords. There were tapestries on the walls of the drawing room that portrayed scenes of "Elijah Rising into Heaven" and the "Melting of the Golden Calf" in sculpted gold frames. After the death of Sophia Wyndham Rawlins in 2006 some of the contents were donated to the Somerset Military Museum and the Somerset County Museum. Much of the contents were auctioned by Sotheby's at Newton Surmaville October 8-9, 2007, with a final sale of the remaining contents auctioned at Sotheby's, London, on March 5, 2008. In the early 21st century, during the ownership of Robin Cannon, one finest private collections of Bentley motorcars in the world was housed at Newton Surmaville; the collection was sold at auction in 2021.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: In 2007 the Newton Surmaville Estate comprised 290 acres and included an ice house, five cottages, a boathouse, a barn, and the stables. The gardens were originally laid out along the River Yeo in the 18th century, with alterations in the 19th century, and sport a lime avenue, herbaceous borders, a rose garden, a walled kitchen garden, a carp pond, and the noted Banqueting House (Summer House) of 1740. Now a tenanted farmhouse, this fine folly was built as a three-story octagon with two-story flanking wings. The original design of the grounds is described in the "The Reverend George Harbin and his Memoirs of Gardening, 1716-1723."

  • Country Life: CXII, 676, 760, 844, 1952.

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: Robert Harbin, 17th century. Sophia Wyndham Rawlins, until 2006. Robin and Jane Cannon, 2007-19.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No