Place:Cumnor, Berkshire, England

Watchers
NameCumnor
Alt namesComenorsource: Domesday Book (1985) p 36
TypeVillage, Civil parish
Coordinates51.717°N 1.333°W
Located inBerkshire, England     ( - 1974)
Also located inOxfordshire, England     (1974 - )
See alsoAbingdon Rural, Berkshire, Englandrural district in which Cumnor was located until 1974
Vale of White Horse, Oxfordshire, Englandadministrative district in which Cumnor was located after 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

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.

The village is about 2 miles (3.2 km) southwest of Botley and its centre is west of the A420 road to Swindon in Wiltshire.

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.


History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

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 Saxon and medieval times the parish was one of the largest in Berkshire, and included Wytham, Seacourt, North Hinksey, South Hinksey and Wootton.

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 is the basis for Lumsdon in Thomas Hardy's novel Jude The Obscure.

Research Tips

Maps

  • GENUKI's collection of maps for Berkshire. For basic reference are the two online maps Berkshire Parishes and Berkshire Poor Law Union areas. These locate the individual parishes and indicate the urban and rural districts to which each belonged. There are many other maps listed, some covering specific parts of the county.
  • Wikipedia's outline map of the unitary authorities, shown on many of their Berkshire pages, shows how the new divisions of government relate to the former districts. It has to be remembered that the county was reshaped in 1974 with the urban and rural districts of Abingdon and Faringdon and part of Wantage going to Oxfordshire, and the Borough of Slough (with Eton) coming in from Buckinghamshire. Every attempt is being made to indicate here in WeRelate the civil parishes, towns and villages for which these transfers occurred. Currently there are maps to be found on place pages that deal with civil parishes that transferred from Buckinghamshire into Berkshire. It is planned to provide maps within WeRelate for places that transferred from Berkshire to Oxfordshire.
  • The extensive collection provided by Genmaps is provided free of charge online.

Online Historical References

  • Berkshire Record Office. The Berkshire Record Office [BRO] was established in 1948 to locate and preserve records relating to the county of Berkshire and its people, and anyone who is interested in the county's past. As well as original documents, catalogues and indexes, there is a library at the Record Office.
  • Berkshire Family History Society Research Centre. "The Berks FHS Centre can help you - wherever your ancestors came from. There is a Research Centre Library open to all."
  • West Berkshire Museum, Newbury, housed in a building with an interesting past, but is currently closed for redevelopment. No information on their collections.
  • The GENUKI provision for Berkshire has been updated more recently than that for some of the other counties. A member of the Berkshire Family History Society is credited with this revision.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki on Berkshire explains the jurisdictions relating to civil affairs, parishes and probate (wills and testaments) for each parish in the county and also outlines when these jurisdictions were in existence. Alterations required to cover the post-1974 period have not been carried out for every parish concerned.
  • The Berkshire section of The Victoria History of the Counties of England, in four volumes, is online and provides an extensive history of the county, parish by parish, up to the end of the 19th century. Parishes are arranged in their original "hundreds", a fairly archaic scheme of dividing counties into reasonably sized sections.
  • Local History Online is a compilation of websites from Berkshire local history clubs, societies and associations.

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.