Cumnor is a village and civil parish 3.5 miles (5.6 km) west of the centre of Oxford, England. The parish was part of Berkshire until the 1974 local government boundary changes transferred it to the neighbouring county of Oxfordshire.
Cumnor was part of the Hormer Hundred and the Abingdon Poor Law Union. The parish was located in the Abingdon Rural District 1894-1974, and since that date in the Vale of White Horse District of Oxfordshire.
Cumnor was first mentioned in 931 as Cumanoran. The name is of Old English origin, and appears to mean 'Hillside of a man named Cuma'.
In 1560 Cumnor Place was the scene of the death and suspected murder of Amy Robsart, the wife of Lord Robert Dudley. The house was pulled down in 1810, it is said because her ghost gave the locals so much trouble.
Cumnor contains a number of houses by Clough Williams-Ellis, the architect most famous for his designs for Portmeirion. The Cumnor houses represent some of his earliest commissions, including his first commission, Larkbeare (1903-4, completed 1907) on Cumnor Hill, designed whilst he was still a student at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. The other examples are Cutts End House (1911, Appleton Road), Hurstcote (1922, Appleton Road), and Larkbeare Cottage (1910, Cumnor Hill; originally a gardener's cottage associated with Larkbeare). He also designed Cumnor Rise Hospital at a similar time to Larkbeare (designed 1903-4, completed 1907) but this was demolished in the 1990s.
Online Historical References
Nineteenth Century Local Administration
English Jurisdictions is a webpage provided by FamilySearch which analyses every ecclesiastical parish in England at the year 1851. It provides, with the aid of outline maps, the date at which parish records and bishops transcripts begin, non-conformist denominations with a chapel within the parish, the names of the jurisdictions in charge: county, civil registration district, probate court, diocese, rural deanery, poor law union, hundred, church province; and links to FamilySearch historical records, FamilySearch Catalog and the FamilySearch Wiki. Two limitations: only England, and at the year 1851.
During the 19th century two bodies, the Poor Law Union and the Sanitary District, had responsibility for governmental functions at a level immediately above that covered by the civil parish. In 1894 these were replace by Rural and Urban Districts. These were elected bodies, responsible for setting local property assessments and taxes as well as for carrying out their specified duties. Thses districts continued in operation until 1974. Urban districts for larger municipalities were called "Municipal Boroughs" and had additional powers and obligations.
Poor Law Unions, established nationally in 1834, combined parishes together for the purpose of providing relief for the needy who had no family support. This led to the building of '"union poorhouses" or "workhouses" funded by all the parishes in the union. The geographical boundaries established for the individual Poor Law Unions were employed again when Registration Districts were formed three years later. In 1875 Sanitary Districts were formed to provide services such as clean water supply, sewage systems, street cleaning, and the clearance of slum housing. These also tended to follow the same geographical boundaries, although there were local alterations caused by changes in population distribution.