of Newton Surmaville for 399 years
Robert Harbin (1) (1526-1621)
The earliest recorded member of the Harbin family was Robert Harbin, born about 1526 and possibly of Scottish ancestry. He was married to Margaret Mounsell, daughter of Peter Mounsell of Blandford Forum, Dorset, and they lived in Blandford Forum until about 1576 when Margaret died. They had seven children; John (d 1638), George, Temperance, Agnes, Margaret, Elizabeth and Robert (1565-1654). After Margaret's death Robert married Margaret Mervin, daughter of Sir John Mervin of Fonthill, Wiltshire and the widow of William Drewry, late steward to the Earl of Hertford at Savernake, Wiltshire. After their marriage Robert and Margaret moved to Wyke Hall, Gillingham, Dorset.
In May 1612 these arms were granted to Robert Harbin by William Camden, Elizabeth I's Officer of Arms. This date with the initials RH appear on lead water pipes at Newton Surmaville as the new manor house was completed, replacing the earlier residence of the Compton family. The arms were azure, a saltire voided between four spears' head erect or (a blue ground, a golden saltire cross with the middle removed so the field is visible, between four golden erect spear heads).
The above portrait was painted in 1619 and hung in Newton Surmaville House until the house sale in 2007.
A prosperous and wealthy mercer, Robert began acquiring a number of small properties in Dorset and Somerset. His final purchase was in 1608 when he purchased Newton Surmaville from Joseph Compton. He and his eldest son, John, commissioned the building of a new grand house at Newton, which was completed around 1612. Robert and his son John moved into Harbin Castle, later called Newton Surmaville House.
Robert Harbin's will was dated 2 August 1615 and showed that he owned extensive holdings in Dorset and Somerset. He died in Yeovil on 24 December 1621 and was buried in the Harbin vault beneath the family pew in the north transept of St John's church. The transept had earlier been the Chantry of the Holy Cross but the whole of the chantry properties were sold in August 1548. The north transept became the family pew of the Harbin family of Newton Surmaville. The Harbin family vault lies below the floor of the transept and family memorials adorn the walls. Robert was succeeded by his eldest son John.
John Harbin (1) (1560-1638)
Heir to his father Robert, John was the second owner of Newton Surmaville House. In 1588, at the age of 28, married Bridget Drewry, the oldest daughter of his father's second wife, in Yeovil.
They had ten children; William (married Margaret Turberville), Margaret (married Will Stanton), Lucy (m George Barber), Bridget (married Robert Prowse, d 1663), Katherine (married Robert Hill, Anne (married ? Reeve), Robert (1588-1658), John (b 1588, married Elizabeth Moore), Temperance (b 1596, married Samuel Seward) and Elizabeth (b 1597, married William Gollop).
In 1623 he was the High Sheriff of Dorset. He was also a student at Middle Temple in London. In 1631 he was fined for refusing to accept the honor of Knighthood. John died in Yeovil in 1639, aged 79, and is buried in the family vault in St John's church.
Robert Harbin (2) (1588-1658)
Robert Harbin, the second son and heir to John, was born in 1588 and was the third owner of Newton Surmaville House.
In the civil war of the 1640's he took the side of Parliament and served as a Colonel in the Parliamentary army in the fighting in Somerset in 1642. Nothing is known of his military career during the war, but he may have persuaded his father to obtain a pardon from the king during a lull in the fighting. Robert concealed the fact that he had been pardoned from his friends and continued his work for the Parliamentary troops. Eventually he was found out and heavily fined by the Commonwealth.
In 1611, at the age of 22, at Yeovil he married Gertrude Stocker Morgan, widow of Christopher Morgan. Her father was John Stocker of Chilcompton, Somerset. They had eleven children; Anne (married ? Durnford), Edward, Robert (born at Newton Surmaville, d 1665 at Yeovil, married Margery), Margaret (married Richard King), Elizabeth, Bridget (1612-1663, married Robert Molesworth and then Robert Prowse of Kingston), John (1614-1672, married 1. Isabella Pert, 2. Elizabeth Strode), Christopher (1621-1685, married Alice), Gertrude (b 1623, married Lawrence Edwards), Samuel (b 1630, married Sarah Fone) and Katherine (b 1631, married Thomas Turberville).
On 5 May 1652 the County Committee reported that the late County Committee secured his estate and appraised his goods on a charge of delinquency, but that he appealed to the Committee for Sequestrations and Barons of Exchequer "where his case depends and that there has been no actual sequestration". On 12 May 1653 his estate was discharged on the Act of Pardon (Ref: Calendar of State Papers).
The fines exacted by the Commonwealth and the provision of dowries for his daughters left him heavily in debt. As a result he had to dispose of most of the property accumulated by his grandfather, Robert Harbin, retaining only Meedford and Newton Surmaville. His will was dated 7 March 1658 and Robert Harbin died in Yeovil on 14 March 1659 aged 71.
John Harbin (2) (1614-1664)
Born in 1614, John was the third son of Robert and Gertrude. His eldest brother Edward emigrated to Barbados but was never heard from again, his older brother Robert died in 1665 after which John became the fourth owner of the Newton Surmaville estate. His first wife, married about 1647, was Isabella Pert, daughter of William Pert Esq. of Arnold's, Essex. John and Isabella had six children; Robert (d 1672, unmarried), Elizabeth (1648-1720, married Thomas Compton, then married William Young), William (1654-1708, married Elizabeth Wyndham of Yeovil, 1654-1708), Charles (1658-1691, unmarried), Bridget (1658-1716, unmarried) and John (1660-1699, unmarried). Isabella died about 1664 and in 1665 John married Elizabeth Strode, daughter of Sir Richard Strode, Knight, of Newnham, Devon. John divorced Elizabeth in 1669.
William Harbin (1654-1705)
William born in 1654, the second son of John and Isabella, became the fifth owner of the Newton Surmaville estate in 1672 after the death of his father and elder brother Robert.
The arms of Harbin (see above) impaling Wyndham appear on a memorial on the west wall of St John's church and date from 1673 when William Harbin of Newton Surmaville married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Francis Wyndham, Bart, of Trent (who afforded Charles II protection after the battle of Worcester). Their combined ages were 36. The Wyndham arms were azure, a chevron between three lions' heads erased or (on a blue field, a golden chevron between three golden lions' heads, torn off leaving a ragged edge).
They had three sons; John (d 1704), Wyndham (1684-1741) and William (d 1705). William Harbin died in Yeovil on 10 November 1705, aged 51.
In 1699 Rev Martin Strong recorded in his ‘commonplace book’ (see Gallery below) in which he complains of not receiving his due tithes "Mr Harbin pretends a Custom of paying 3s per annum for Penmill, But is no doubt a wrong custom too, he was wont to pay". This reference to 'Mr Harbin' would have been this William.
Wyndham Harbin (1) (1685-1740)
Wyndham Harbin was born in 1685, the son of William Harbin and Elizabeth née Wyndham. His older brother John died in 1704 and his younger brother William died in 1705 so, when his father also died in 1705, Wyndham succeeded to the Newton Surmaville estate as its sixth owner.
He married Abigail Swayne in 1714. She was the daughter and sole heiress of Richard Swayne Esq., of Gunville, Dorset. Wyndham and Abigail had one son, Swayne Harbin.
Wyndham Harbin died in Yeovil on 26 February 1740.
Swayne Harbin (1718-1781)
Swayne Harbin, the seventh owner of Newton Surmaville, was born in 1718 the only son and heir of Wyndham Harbin (1685-1741) and his wife, Abigail née Swayne. He attended Corpus Christi College, Oxford, matriculating 6 March 1733 at the age of 18.
In 1760 he married Barbara (d 1809), daughter and heiress of George Abington of Over Compton, Dorset, by his wife, Barbara, only daughter and sole heiress of William Wyndham of Dinton, Wiltshire. Their eldest son, Wyndham Harbin (1761-1837), inherited the Newton Surmaville estate. Swayne Harbin's arms were those of Harbin impaling Abingdon quartering Wyndham.
The Manor of Sutton Bingham descended to Isabella, wife of Charles Abingdon but she died childless, and the family of Compton being apparently extinct, she gave Sutton Bingham by her will to her husband, and under his will in 1724 it passed to his nephew and heir, George Abingdon of Over Compton. From him it descended to Barbara, his only daughter and heiress by his wife, Barbara Wyndham, of Dinton, who became the wife of Swayne Harbin, of Newton Surmaville. His eldest son, Wyndham Harbin, sold Sutton Bingham in 1815 to William Helyar, of Coker Court.
Wyndham Harbin (2) (1761-1837)
Wyndham Harbin, born in 1761, went to Wadham College, Oxford, matriculating on 23 April 1781 at the age of 19. Wyndham inherited the Newton Surmaville estate from his father Swayne Harbin in 1781, becoming the eighth owner of Newton Surmaville House and estate as well as the Manor of Sutton Bingham. He sold Sutton Bingham in 1815 to William Helyar, of Coker Court. Wyndham Harbin never married and died in 1837 with the Newton Surmaville estate passing to his nephew, George Harbin.
George Harbin (1800-1880)
George Harbin (1800-1880), son of William Harbin (1762-1823) and his wife, Rhoda, youngest daughter of Edward Phelips of Montacute. George went to Merton College, Oxford, matriculating at the age of 19 on 8 June 1819 and getting his BA in 1823. George succeeded to the Newton Surmaville estate as its ninth owner upon the death of his unmarried uncle, Wyndham Harbin in 1837. During his long residence at Newton, George Harbin devoted himself to running the estate and maintaining the house, to which he made a number of sympathetic changes in the 1860s and 1870s.
He was a Justice of the Peace and Commanding Officer of the Mudford Independent Troop of Yeomanry Cavalry which brought the Yeovil Reform Riot of 1831 to a close. He was Captain Commandant of the unit from its enrolment in 1830 until it was disbanded in 1838.
The Phelips family of Montacute had held the Lordship of Yeovil for generations but in 1846 William Phelips sold the rights to George Harbin. When Yeovil obtained municipal status by Act of Parliament in 1854, the lordship of the manor passed to the new Mayor and Corporation. George Harbin was a Member of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society in 1855 and 1860. In the 1871 Census he was listed as a ‘Landowner and Justice of the Peace’ aged 71 living at Newton House with his 56-year old wife Elizabeth, two young nephews, a housekeeper, butler, groom / coachman, housemaid and dairymaid.
George Harbin died on 10 September 1880. His will was proved on 22 November "The Will with a Codicil of George Harbin late of Newton-sur-Maville in the Parish of Yeovil in the County of Somerset Esquire who died 10 September 1880 at Newton-sur-Maville was proved at Taunton by Herbert Butler Batten of Hollands in Yeovil Esquire and William marsh of Yeovil Gentleman the Executors". George's personal estate was valued at 'under £6,000' (about £4.3 million at 2017's value).
His memorial (see below) in the family pew of St John's church says of him "He was a Justice of the Peace for the Counties of Somerset and Dorset and for many years Chairman of the Yeovil Bench for Magistrates. He administered Justice with the highest integrity and impartiality and his urbanity and kindness of heart won for him the love and esteem of all classes."
For the Harbin family tree - click here
Following the death of Sophie Rawlins (née Sophie Wyndham Bates Harbin), Newton Surmaville House was sold in 2007 - for the first time in its history.
The Chantry of the Holy Cross was founded in 1432 in the north transept of St John's church. It later became the family pew of the Harbin family and still retains many memorials to members of the family, shown below, as well as a hatchment bearing the Harbin family armorial achievement.
The Newton Surmaville estate (based on the 1846 Tithe Map) outlined on a modern map.
Below are tabulated the land holdings of the Harbin family in the 1846 Tithe Apportionment, at this time owned by George Harbin.
|Harbin, George||Adams, Adam||1376||Cottage, Garden & Orchard|
|Harbin, George||Adams, Adam||1377||Cottage, Garden & Orchard|
|Harbin, George||Allen, Robert||859||Pen Mill Garden & Orchard|
|Harbin, George||Allen, Robert||860||Yeovil Bridge Mead|
|Harbin, George||Allen, Robert||970||Lyde Lane|
|Harbin, George||Fox, James||520||Withey Bed|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||501||In Pen Field|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||502||In Pen Field|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||517||Gardens|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||822||Hanging Coppice|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||824||Garden|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||825||Garlands Coppice|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||826||Little Middle Hills|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||836||Withey Bed|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||839||Yonder Paddock|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||840||Middle Paddock|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||841||Orchard, The|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||845||Brick Mead|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||846||Home Orchard|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||847||Newton House & Garden|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||848||Rookery|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||849||Coppice|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||850||Crickets Ham|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||852||Plantation|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||853||In Pen Hill|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||854||Pen Hill|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||855||Higher Pen|
|Harbin, George||Harbin, George||856||Lower Pen|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||498||Barrowhayes|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||814||Lower Newton Hill|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||815||Higher Newton Hill|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||816||Cottage & Garden|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||817||Newton Copse|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||818||Five Acres|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||819||Hollow Close|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||820||Fourteen Acres|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||821||Six Acres|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||823||Swing Gate|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||827||Grove|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||828||Hanging Sleight|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||829||Clifton Mead|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||830||House Leaze|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||831||Great Rough Mead|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||832||Little Rough mead|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||833||Ten Acres|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||834||Pond Close|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||835||House Mead|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||837||Cowleaze|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||838||Sic Acre Orchard|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||842||Home Orchard|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||843||Farm House & Garden|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||844||Orchard Below the House|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||851||Victoria Hill|
|Harbin, George||Pope, William||857||Island, The|
Robert Harbin (1526-1621) commissioned the building of a new grand house at Newton.
Robert I was granted the Coat of Arms in May 1612 by William Camden, Elizabeth I's Officer of Arms. It is properly described "Azure a saltire voided between four cronels or. The Crest: A gauntleted hand, couped above the wrist of azure holding a spur or"
.... or in English - a blue shield with a blue diagonal cross between four golden spearheads and the crest is a hand, cut off above the wrist, wearing a blue gauntlet and holding a golden spur.
An extract of 1699 from the ‘commonplace book’ of Rev Martin Strong in which he complains of not receiving his due tithes - this entry reads "Mr Harbin pretends a Custom of paying 3s per annum for Penmill, But is no doubt a wrong custom too, he was wont to pay".
Swayne Harbin's signature on the accounts of Woborn's Almshouse in the year 1738 when he was Custos.
Early morning mists across the Newton Surmaville valley, a scene largely unchanged for centuries. Seen from Wyndham Hill and photographed in 2014.
Newton Surmaville House, photographed around 1900.
Courtesy of Jane Cannon of Newton Surmaville House
Robert Harbin (1) was granted the Coat of Arms in May 1612 by William Camden. The date 1608 in this beautiful window in Newton Surmaville House refers to his purchase of the estate.
John Harbin (1560-1638). Heir to his father Robert, John was the second owner of Newton Surmaville House.
The memorial, primarily to the four generations - John Harbin (1), Robert Harbin (2), John Harbin (2), and William Harbin - in the north transept of St John's church. The inscription reads "In a Vault Beneath this Place Lie the Bodies of JOHN HARBIN Esq Son and Heir of ROBERT HARBIN of Weeke in ye County of Dorset and of Newton in this County Esq and BRIDGET his Wife, Daughter of WILLIAM DREWRY Gent. As also the body of ROBERT HARBIN Esq Son of JOHN and BRIDGET, who Married GERTRUDE Daughter of ANTHONY STOCKER of Chilcompton in this County Esq. As also the body of JOHN HARBIN Esq Son of ROBERT and GERTRUDE who first Married ISSABELLA Daughter of WILLIAM PERT of Arnolds in ye County of Essex Esq and afterwards ELIZABETH Daughter of Sr RICHARD STRODE of Newnham in the County of Devon Knt. As also the body of ROBERT HARBIN Eldest Son of JOHN and ISSABELLA who died unmarried. As also the body of WILLIAM HARBIN Esq their Son and Heir, who died 10 Novr 1705 Aged 51. He married ELIZABETH (who lies by him) Daughter of Sir FRANCIS WYNDHAM of Trent in this County Barronet, by whom He had nine Children. She Exchanged this life for a better 30 June 1708 they lived together many years being as great patterns of Piety and Vertue as they were Remarkable for their Hospitality and Extensive Charity. As also the body of JOHN HARBIN their Eldest Son who died 17th of March 1704. As also the body of WILLIAM HARBIN their Youngest Son who died 15th of May 1705. In pious Memory of all theses WYNDHAM HARBIN of Newton Esq only Surviving Son of WILLIAM and ELIZABETH hath Erected this Monument Anno Domini 1711."
Portrait of Wyndham Harbin (1685-1741). Pastel, 38cm x 25cm.
The memorial, primarily to Wyndham and Swayne Harbin, in the north transept of St John's church. The inscription reads "Underneath are deposited the Remains of Wyndham Harbin Esq. Son of William and Elizabeth Who married Abigail the Daughter of Richard Swayne of Gunvill in the County of Dorset Esq. He died February 26 1740. Also the Remains of Swayne Harbin Esq only son of Wyndham and Abigail Who married Barbara the Daughter of George Abingdon of Over Compton in the County of Dorset Esq by whom he left five Sons and one Daughter. He departed this life on the 8th Day of February 1781, Aged 63. He was an affectionate Husband and tender Parent and a faithful Friend. His Widow in sincere regard to his memory caused this Monument to be erected. Also the remains of Barbara Harbin the above named Widow, who died June 13 1809. Also of the Rev Robert Harbin BA the third Son of Swayne and Barbara Harbin who died March 12 1808 Aged 48. Also of William Harbin Esq their second Son who died Oct 22 1823 Aged 61. Also of Wyndham Harbin Esq their eldest Son and Heir who died unmarried May 3 1837 Aged 76. Also of Rhoda Harbin. Widow of the above named William Harbin Esq third daughter of Edward Phelips of Montacute Esq who died Aug 27 1846 Aged 87."
A sketch of George Harbin by J Nicholson Johnson entitled "Squire Harbin".
The memorial to George Harbin in the north transept of St John's church. The inscription reads "In loving remembrance of George Harbin of Newton Surmaville in this parish Esquire who departed this life Sep 10 1880 in the 80th year of his age. He was a Justice of the Peace for the Counties of Somerset and Dorset and for many years Chairman of the Yeovil Bench for Magistrates. He administered Justice with the highest integrity and impartiality and his urbanity and kindness of heart won for him the love and esteem of all classes. He married Elizabeth daughter of W Bishop Esquire of Long Load and this Tablet is erected by his sorrowing Widow."
The order for the mourning coaches, and the mourners they carried, to the funeral of George Harbin on Saturday 18 September 1880.