A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1924.
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Colmanora (vii cent.); Comenore (xi cent.).
The parish of Cumnor has an area of 7,453 acres, including the modern parish of Wootton, which in 1831 was entered as a chapelry under Cumnor. The parish comprises, besides the township of Cumnor, the tithings of Botley, Bradley, Chawley, Henwood, Hillend, Stroud, Swinford and Whitley.
Its western boundary is the River Isis, and only the small parishes of North and South Hinksey lie between its eastern boundary and the same river. The ground rises gradually from the eastern and western boundaries, reaching its highest point at Cumnor Hurst, 520 ft. above the ordnance datum. The village of Cumnor is half a mile to the west of this hill, and further down the slope, but has itself a fine view across the river into Oxfordshire. In the centre of the village is the church of St. Michael. The site of Cumnor Place, where Anthony Forster entertained Amy Lady Dudley, and where she met her end by falling down a 'payre of stayres,' (fn. 1) is immediately south of the churchyard. An arch in the partition wall connected the two. The building originally belonged to the monks of Abingdon, and was 'kept in the hands of the abbot in case of infirmity or plague in the town of Abingdon.' (fn. 2) The last abbot had it as his residence after the surrender of the abbey, (fn. 3) and during most of the 16th century it was used as a dwelling-house. The death of Lady Dudley, though a jury decided that it was not due to foul play on the part of her husband or of Anthony Forster, (fn. 4) nevertheless gave the house a very uncomfortable atmosphere, and after it ceased to be the residence of the lords of the manor the ghost of the lady was said to haunt the place, and particularly the staircase where she met her death. The house was finally demolished in 1810 by the Earl of Abingdon, and the material was used for the rebuilding of Wytham Church. It was a quadrangular stone building with an outer courtyard on the north, entered from the road. The house was mainly of 14th-century date, but was considerably altered late in the 16th century by Anthony Forster. The gate of the courtyard was dated 1575, and what was probably its postern now forms the entrance to Wytham churchyard. The main building had a gate-house with a vaulted roof in the centre of the north side, and the upper floor of this range was occupied by a single apartment forming the 'Long Gallery.' At the north end was a chamber containing a window, now the east window of Wytham Church. The west range was mainly taken up by the 14th-century great hall, 44 ft. by 22 ft., and having the screens at the north end. Its windows were removed to Wytham Church, and the 16thcentury entrance doorway is built into the porch there. The heads of the windows were carried up into small gables and the tracery is of the flowing type. The roof had large curved principals similar to those of Sutton Courtenay 'Abbey.' The south range had at the east end a small chapel, 22 ft. by 15 ft., and the east range included an entrance from the churchyard. The base of the outer wall of this range is the only part of the structure now standing. It forms the boundary of the churchyard, and contains a fireplace with a stone head, ornamented with a series of sunk quatrefoils. (fn. 5) Traces of the terraces and gardens of the house are still visible to the west of the site. The modern Cumnor Place, south-east of the church, incorporates an old house, perhaps of 17th-century date. The old Bear and Ragged Staff Inn stood close to the vicarage; it was a timberframed building and was pulled down about the middle of the last century. The present inn of the same name is an old building with two gabled wings. The oak lintels of the door and window openings are moulded and carved.
The old tithe barn of the parish (fn. 6) is a large stone building with a tiled roof. Near the churchyard is an ancient building called the 'Church House,' (fn. 7) which in 1539 was held by the churchwardens. (fn. 8) It was used by the parishioners in the 18th century for holding their annual feasts on the Sunday after Michaelmas. (fn. 9) There was also at that date an annual fair on St. Luke's Day, though no charter for this was in existence. It was supposed to be the right of the constable of the hundred to hold a fair when he chose. (fn. 10) There is a Congregational chapel in Cumnor.
The village is just off the main road from Faringdon to Oxford, which runs from south-west to north-east through the parish. On its way from Cumnor to Oxford it passes through Chawley, where there are extensive brickworks, and through the little village of Botley, where it crosses one branch of the Isis. Botley Mill is probably on the site of the old mill here which belonged to the abbots of Abingdon. A mill here existed in the early 13th century. (fn. 11) Another is mentioned in 1344, (fn. 12) when it had been newly raised by the abbot on a branch of the Thames, and its sluices drew off so much water from the main stream that the king's mills at Oxford were seriously hampered. In the reign of William II there was a watercourse (ductus aquae) at Botley, 'commonly called Lacche.' Possibly it supplied some part of Oxford with water. During the rebellion of Bishop Odo the men of Seacourt destroyed this aqueduct, for which offence their lord, Anskil, paid a fine of 10s. (fn. 13)
Another main road from Oxford runs through the parish. It is coincident with the Faringdon road as far as Botley, and outside that village branches off and runs westward across this part of Berkshire into Oxford shire again. It passes the small hamlet of Dean Court, where there was once a church, (fn. 14) and crosses the river at Swinford, where a bridge has taken the place of the old ferry. In 1759 a curious old custom was still kept up when the boundaries of the parish were perambulated. The ferryman brought to the vicar 6s. 8d. in a basin of water. The vicar then crossed the river and took hold of the reeds on the Oxfordshire side, apparently laying claim in this way to the whole breadth of the stream. (fn. 15)
The parish to the north of the Swinford road is covered with woodland, which extends into the neighbouring parish of Wytham. There is a tradition that it was a hermit living in Cumnor Wood who advised that Abingdon Abbey should be built on its present site. (fn. 16) References to the wood are very frequent in the history of the abbey. It was granted like Bagley Wood (fn. 17) to successive abbots in free custody. (fn. 18) An intrusion in the 11th century by the reeve of the king's estate at Sutton was resisted by the abbot in person. (fn. 19) Even after the Dissolution the wood was the scene of disputes. Cumnor Wood and Cumnor Grove were granted to George Owen with the manor, (fn. 20) but the woods in Wytham parish were granted to Sir John afterwards Lord Williams, lord of the manor of Wytham, and the boundary between the two was quite uncertain. (fn. 21) Lord Williams attempted to enforce his claim by violence, but apparently Owen was finally victorious. Radbrooke, the part of the wood in dispute, is now included in Cumnor.
In the south of the parish is the village of Wootton, with the neighbouring hamlet of Boreshill. The church of St. Peter is at the south end of the village street. There is also a Methodist chapel. Blagrove Farm, which lies to the south-east and is reached by a footpath from the village, was the residence of the lords of Wootton Manor (q.v.) during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Henwood and Bradley, which lie between Wootton and Cumnor, are single farms. They were granted after the Dissolution to Edmund Fettiplace. (fn. 22) Bradley has been since the early 19th century at least the property of Merton College. (fn. 23)
Chilswell, a lonely farm on the eastern boundary of the parish, is a manor of itself. There are many traditions, all rather vague, connected with Chilswell. Hearne considered that it was the earliest site of the abbey of Abingdon, as well as the scene of a great battle in Saxon times. (fn. 24)
The soil of this parish varies considerably. The subsoil is chiefly Clay, with some Corallian Beds, and Gault in the higher parts. There are 2,220 acres under cultivation, (fn. 25) and a succession of grain crops is raised; 672 acres of the remainder are woodland.
An Inclosure Act for Cumnor was passed in 1814. (fn. 26)
Land in CUMNOR is said to have been included in a grant of 20 hides made by King Caedwalla to Abingdon Abbey. (fn. 27) It was taken into the hands of Alfred after the devastations of the Danes and was given back by King Eadred to Abbot Ethelwold; in the charter of Eadred, dated 955, the abbey's estate in Cumnor was given as 30 hides. (fn. 28) This Eadred held for life, with the consent of the brothers, to whom it was to revert after his death. (fn. 29) It is probable that Eadred's grant was repudiated by his successor, and in 968 King Edgar made a new grant of 30 hides in Cumnor to the abbey. (fn. 30)
In 1086 Cumnor was said to have belonged always to the abbey. (fn. 31) It was assessed at 30 hides; the previous assessment had been 50 hides. Seacourt and Wytham, afterwards independent manors, were at that date members of Cumnor. Two mills brought in 50s., and the fisheries in the Isis were worth 40s.
Two holders of land under the abbot, besides the tenants of Seacourt and Wytham, are mentioned by name. Osbern had 2½ hides, previously held by two 'alodiaries.' Another holding, consisting of 1 hide, was in the hands of Rainald. (fn. 32)
In 1538 Thomas Rowland alias Pentecost, the last Abbot of Abingdon, surrendered the abbey. (fn. 33) Shortly afterwards, in the words of a contemporary writer, 'Lord Pentecost of Abyngdon' became 'Sir Rowland of Cumner.' (fn. 34) In other words, he had a grant of the manor-house of Cumnor for the term of his life. (fn. 35) In 1540–1 he must have been dead, for Oliver Wellesbourne was appointed 'keeper' of the house. (fn. 36) In 1547 the manor and manor-house were sold by the king to George Owen, his physician. (fn. 37) Owen died in possession in 1558, (fn. 38) after settling the manor on his son William and Ursula Fettiplace, William's wife. (fn. 39) Cumnor was leased from William Owen by Anthony Forster, who was in residence there at the death of Amy Lady Dudley in 1560. (fn. 40) In the following year he purchased the manor, (fn. 41) which was shortly afterwards seized by the Crown for the payment of a bond of £500 due from William Owen. (fn. 42) The queen granted a lease to Richard Sirslowe, who transferred his interest in 1569 to Walter Fyshe and Thomas Gynes. (fn. 43) They in the next year granted their right in the manor to Anthony Forster. (fn. 44)
Anthony Forster died in 1572, (fn. 45) leaving the manor of Cumnor to his patron, Robert Earl of Leicester. (fn. 46) In 1574 the Earl of Leicester sold it to Henry Lord Norreys of Rycote, (fn. 47) and Richard Forster, the grand-nephew and heir of Anthony, released to Lord Norreys his right in it in the same year. (fn. 48)
From this date Cumnor descended with the manor of Wytham (q.v.), (fn. 49) the seat of the Norreys family. The present Earl of Abingdon is lord of the manor, which is practically co-extensive with the parish. Chilswell, Henwood, Bradley, and Swinford, the first three of which are single farms, were the only places outside its bounds in 1759. (fn. 50)
The Abbot of Abingdon had a grant of free warren within his manor of Cumnor in 1252. (fn. 51)
CHILSWELL (Chiefleswell, xii cent.; Cheveleswell, xiii cent.; Chilleswell, xvi cent.) must have been included in one of the grants of land at Cumnor to Abingdon Abbey. In a list of the military tenants of the abbey belonging to the late 12th and early 13th centuries a certain Richard is mentioned as holding Chilswell. (fn. 52) This was probably the Richard de Chilswell whose widow Letitia held a third of the vill in dower shortly before 1223. (fn. 53) She released it to her son William de Chilswell, who granted it to Henry de Scaccario. William had already granted the rest of the vill and his interest in the dower third to Warren Boystard, to whom in 1224 Henry de Scaccario released his claim. (fn. 54) The Boystard family was holding a fee in Chilswell and Cumnor in 1243, when John Boystard died. (fn. 55) He was a Norman, and his land escheated to the king, who granted it to Bartholomew Peche, (fn. 56) giving permission, however, to John's brother, Roger Boystard, to come over to England and sue for his inheritance. (fn. 57) The matter was settled by a conveyance made by Roger to Bartholomew of 2 carucates in Chilswell and half a carucate in Cumnor. (fn. 58)
Bartholomew Peche had a son Herbert, who appears to have granted his land here to Aimery Peche. (fn. 59) Aimery's son Edmund dowered his wife Margery with a third of the manor of Chilswell, (fn. 60) which she and her second husband Simon de Bradenham released to the Abbot of Abingdon in 1289. (fn. 61) Thewhole manor was probably granted back to the abbey at about this time. It appears in the Chamberlain's Accounts of 1417–18 and 1428–9, and brought in a rent of 66s. 8d. (fn. 62)
At the Dissolution Chilswell was in the hands of Oliver Wellesbourne, to whom it had been leased by the abbot. (fn. 63) It was granted in 1544 to John Marsh and Christopher Edmonds, (fn. 64) who sold it two years later to Sir John afterwards Lord Williams. (fn. 65) Margery, the second wife of Lord Williams, had a life interest in it after his death. (fn. 66) She transferred it to her daughter Margery and her husband, Henry Lord Norreys of Rycote, who had the reversion. (fn. 67)
Chilswell followed the descent of Cumnor (q.v.) in the Norreys family till 1613, when Francis Earl of Berkshire settled it with Yattendon, Weston on the Green and other estates on his illegitimate son Francis Rose or Norreys. (fn. 68) It passed with Yattendon (q.v.) through this branch of the Norreys family, (fn. 69) and had come with that manor into the hands of Norreys Bertie in 1744. (fn. 70) There were no manorial rights, but the estate was independent of the manor of Cumnor. (fn. 71) At the beginning of the 19th century Chilswell had come into the possession of the Earl of Abingdon. (fn. 72) The present earl is now the owner.
Five hides in SWINFORD (Swynford, x cent.; Swineford, xi cent.) were said to have been granted to Abingdon Abbey by Athelstan in 931, though the charter produced as evidence is of doubtful authenticity. (fn. 73) The vill is not mentioned by name in the Domesday Survey, but must be included in the abbot's estate at Cumnor. It is not called a manor till the 17th century.
In 1299 an agreement was made between the Abbots of Eynsham and Abingdon by which the Abbot of Eynsham quitclaimed all right to Swinford ferry, receiving in return a yearly sum of 12d. which was still paid at the Dissolution. (fn. 76)
In 1538 Swinford was granted to Charles Duke of Suffolk. (fn. 77) It was then in the hands of John Worthe, to whom it had been leased by the abbot, (fn. 78) and was described as a 'pasture,' with ferry, houses and free fishery. (fn. 79) The ferry, called indifferently Swinford Ferry or Eynsham Ferry, was in existence down to the 18th century at least, and formed an important part of the property. The Duke of Suffolk sold his right in the year in which he acquired it to Edmund Peckham and his wife Anne. (fn. 80) They conveyed it in 1560 to Richard Ruffyn of Eynsham for a term of sixty-five years, with remainder to Edmund and Anne and their heirs. (fn. 81) Richard Ruffyn must have died shortly afterwards, for in 1563 Edmund and Anne sold the estate to William Dunch of Little Wittenham. (fn. 82)
Swinford followed the descent of Little Wittenham (q.v.) in the Dunch family, (fn. 83) which ended in three daughters and co-heirs in the early 18th century. Harriet Dunch married Robert, afterwards Duke of Manchester (fn. 84) and Elizabeth Sir George Oxenden. (fn. 85) The third sister died in 1734 and her only daughter shortly afterwards. (fn. 86) The 'manor,' as it was called after 1623, was held jointly (fn. 87) by the descendants of Harriet and Elizabeth till 1765 at least. In 1808 it was the property of Lord Abingdon, (fn. 88) and presumably it has followed since that date the descent of Cumnor. There are no manorial rights.
WOOTTON (Wudtun, ix cent.) and BORESHILL (Boreshulle, xiv cent.) were both among the possessions of Abingdon Abbey till 1538, and after that date are always mentioned as forming a single manor. Land at Wootton was said to have been included in the grant made to the abbey by King Caedwalla and confirmed by Kenulf in 821. (fn. 89) It was in royal hands, however, in the 10th century. In 985 Ethelred II granted 10 hides here with specified boundaries to his thegn Leofwin. (fn. 90) This land must have come into the possession of the abbey, but there is no record of the grant.
The first mention of Boreshill that has been found is in the middle of the 12th century, when a certain Robert son of Roger claimed half a hide of land here. The abbot recovered it on the ground that it had been granted to Roger for life only, and it was subsequently given to the sacristan of the abbey. (fn. 91) Rents from Boreshill are entered in the sacristan's account of 1396–7. (fn. 92) The 'manor of Wotton,' however, appears in 1450 in the gardener's account (fn. 93); the two estates apparently did not at that date from one manor.
Land called Blagrove, on which the later manorhouse of Wootton was built, was held by Rainbald in the 11th century, and was given by Abbot Faritius to Berner in exchange for land near Barton. (fn. 94) It was probably granted back to the abbey by his successors.
In 1546 the 'manor, of Wootton and Boreshill' was granted to John Hyde of Sutton Courtney. (fn. 95) He purchased the messuage called Blagrove in Wootton from George Clifford, (fn. 96) who had had a grant of it in 1545, (fn. 97) and his family was resident there for several generations. John was succeeded in 1554–5 by his son Richard, (fn. 98) a minor, who was afterwards knighted. (fn. 99) Richard's grandson and heir George succeeded him in 1615. (fn. 100) George had sons Michael, George, John and Richard. (fn. 101) In 1653 Michael Hyde was associated with George Hyde in an agreement concerning the manor. (fn. 102) Michael, who was apparently in full possession in 1661, died without issue in 1663 and was succeeded by George. (fn. 103) In 1667 George, Richard and William Hyde levied a fine with regard to the manor of Wootton. (fn. 104) George died without issue in 1675 and in 1680 the manor was the subject of a dispute between John and Richard. The result is uncertain, but Richard ultimately succeeded. (fn. 105) He was dead before 1708, when his widow Ann, then the wife of Gilbert Talbott, and his son Michael were holding the manor. (fn. 106) Four years later Ann was dead, and Michael sold Wootton and Boreshill to Gregory Geering of Denchworth, (fn. 107) apparently a trustee for the sale to William Hawkins of Abingdon, who in his will dated 1727 ratified certain indentures regarding the manor which had been made in 1712. (fn. 108) He left it to his son William Hawkins, with remainder to William, son of the latter, and various other persons. The second William, however, left the manor by his will in 1759 to his younger son George Hawkins, thus interfering with the entail established by his father. (fn. 109) The right heir, William Hawkins, bought out his brother George in 1774, and died in possession of the manor a few years later. (fn. 110) His trustees sold it by auction in 1786 to William Walker of London. (fn. 111)
William Walker was still the owner in 1803. (fn. 112) His heirs are not known, and there is a gap in the history of the manor till 1883. In that year Mr. J. H. Pulman and Colonel Barchard were joint owners. In 1907 Mr. J. H. Pulman was sole lord, and he has continued to hold the manorial rights down to the present day.
The church of ST.MICHAEL consists of a chancel 16 ft. wide (average), a nave 48 ft. 6 in. by 22 ft. 6 in., a north aisle 11 ft. 6 in. wide, south transept 18 ft. by 24 ft. 6 in., west tower 15 ft. 6 in. square, and north porch. All the measurements are internal.
The west tower and the middle part of the south wall of the nave date from the close of the 12th century. In the 13th century the chancel was rebuilt and the north aisle was added to the nave. In the 14th century the south transept was built, the south wall of the chancel largely reconstructed and the north aisle rebuilt. At the same time the western part of the south wall of the nave was reconstructed. The clearstory appears to be in part of the 14th century. The church has been extensively restored in modern times, and the north porch is modern, but represents an ancient feature.
The chancel has a three-light east window of the 14th century with net tracery. At the west end of the north wall is a round-headed window of lancet form, and to the east of it is a blocked doorway. The western part of the south wall has been reconstructed late in the 13th or early in the 14th century. It contains two two-light windows of that date, each with a quatrefoil in the head. The internal jambs in each case are modern. The 13th-century chancel arch is of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner springing from rich corbels. The northern corbel has foliage and nail-head ornament, and the southern, in the form of a bell, is carved with foliage in knots. The arch is distorted, and may have been rebuilt.
The nave has a 13th-century north arcade of three bays with pointed arches of two chamfered orders. The two responds are square, with a moulding to the southern angle and moulded impost. The first pier is octagonal and the second circular, and both have moulded capitals and bases. In the south wall a moulded and pointed arch of the 14th century opens into the transept, the mouldings dying into the responds. Immediately to the west of the transept is a portion of the original late 12th-century walling with a corbel table of grotesque heads below the clearstory. Towards the west end of the wall is a tall late 13th or early 14th-century window of two transomed lights with a rear arch. The clearstory is finished with a plain parapet with moulded stringcourse ornamented with four-leaved flowers, and has four two-light windows on the north side; the eastern is of the 16th century, but the three western appear to be of the 14th century with ogee cinquefoiled lights under a square head. On the south side the clearstory has only two windows, both of two lights and square-headed. The parapet string to the east nave wall has a series of grotesque faces, and at the apex is an opening for a sanctus bell. The north aisle had an altar at the east end, with a pointed and moulded piscina with a traceried head in the east respond of the arcade. In the first and third bays of the north wall are two-light 14th-century windows with moulded rear arches. The pointed north door is of the same date. In the west wall is a two-light window similar to those on the north. The nave has a low-pitched tic-beam roof supported on curved struts against the wall, resting on stone corbels. The spandrels are pierced with quatrefoils. The aisle roof is in pent form with curved struts to the principals. The corbels, both here and in the main roof, are 12th-century grotesques, re-used, boldly carved in a great variety. The south transept has a 14th-century east window of two lights, and on either side of it are moulded brackets on head corbels, for images. High up behind the east respond of the arch, opening into the nave, is a doorway with a four-centred head, formerly communicating with the rood-loft. In the south end of the east wall is a fine pointed piscina with a pierced and traceried head and a sexfoil drain. The 14th-century south window is of three lights with net tracery, and the west window has diamond-shaped tracery, a moulded rear arch and an almost triangular head, all of the same period.
The fine late 12th-century tower is three stages high and is finished with a later embattled parapet. The north-west angle has an original clasping buttress, but the diagonal buttress at the south-west angle is probably of the 14th century. The tower arch is much restored. It is pointed and recessed in three moulded orders, and the three jamb-shafts on each side have original bases, but modern scalloped capitals. The west door has a semicircular arch of two orders, with side shafts having foliated capitals and square abaci. Above it is a single-light pointed window of circa 1200. The second stage is blank, but the belfry has two single-light pointed windows in the west, north and east faces and a single window at the south face, all with moulded external jambs and heads, and labels carried round the tower as a string-course. Above them is a corbel table resting on moulded corbels immediately below the parapet. The first stage of the tower is reached by a spiral oak staircase, standing clear, within the building, with a massive circular central newel, turned balusters and a moulded handrail. It bears the inscription 'T.B. G.N. 1685.'
The communion table, of the period of the Restoration, with turned legs, now stands at the end of the north aisle. The communion rails are of early 18thcentury date, with alternate twisted and fluted balusters. At the entrance to the chancel is another rail of circa 1600, with massive turned balusters. The quire stalls, of early 16th-century date, have panelled and buttressed fronts and a fine series of poppy heads to the bench ends. They include one bearing six shields with the emblems of the Passion, a second with two bearded human faces, a third with two chameleons back to back, and a fourth two grotesque heads, with standing figures of two seraphim, back to back, with six wings. The Jacobean pulpit is hexagonal and panelled, the outer panels being carved with conventional foliage. The clerk's desk is in a square pew inclosed with Jacobean panelling, the upper panels of which are richly ornamented with geometrical designs. The north door, of oak, is ancient, and retains its original iron hinges.
The most interesting monument in the church is that to Anthony Forster (d. 1572) and Ann (Williams) his wife. The monument stands on the north side of the altar, and consists of a Purbeck marble altar tomb of Gothic form, with panelled front, having brass coats of arms, a flat Gothic canopy with panelled soffit and a cresting of Tudor flower, and rests on four marble columns of the Ionic order. At the back, against the wall, are brass figures of a man in armour, his wife kneeling, their three sons, a long inscription, and three coats of arms. The central shield is a quartered coat of Forster with a martlet for difference; the first has the same coat impaling Williams quartering Moore and Fox, and the third the quartered coat of Williams. On the canopy are two shields of Forster and Williams, and at the base the same arms are repeated. Within the altar rails is a brass with the figures of a man and wife, commemorating Yedythe Staverton, daughter of Reynold Williams. Another small brass figure commemorates Katherine wife of Henry Staverton (d. 1577) with her son. On the south wall of the nave, is a brass inscription to James Welsh (d. 1612), and Margery Welsh (d. 1615). In the north aisle at the west end is a carved freestone statue of Queen Elizabeth, the head, right hand and sceptre being modern. It was originally at Dean Court, Cumnor, and has since stood at Hinksey and at Wytham Abbey. On the east respond of the south transept is a chained Bible, and in the western window of the north aisle is a roundel of ancient glass, probably Flemish. In the north-east part of the churchyard is an altar tomb to the Royalist, Lieut. William Godfrey, who died in 1694.
There are six bells: the tenor is inscribed 'God prosper the Church of England, Abraham Rudhall, 1711'; the second inscribed 'Let your hope be in the Lord, 1623, E.K.'; the third 'Henry Knight made mee 1620'; the fourth 'Edward Cooke Henry Taylor Churchwardens, H.K. 1621'; the fifth 'William Perry, George Godfrey, 1666'; the treble 'Henry Knight made mee ano 1617, T.B.I.P.' The ting-tang is uninscribed.
The plate includes two cups inscribed 'Cumner Hoc DDD Montague Comes de Abingdon, A.D. MDCCCX,' London, 1808, and a cup of London, 1570, silver-gilt, with chased ornament to bowl, and a cover paten of London, 1723.
The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms and marriages 1559 to 1682 (burials to 1681); (ii) mixed entries 1682 to 1755; (iii) marriages 1754 to 1802; (iv) baptisms and burials 1755 to 1808; (v) marriages 1802 to 1812; (vi) baptisms and burials 1809 to 1812.
The church of ST. PETER, Wootton, consists of a chancel 20 ft. 6 in. by 12 ft. 6 in., nave 42 ft. 4 in. by 19 ft. 6 in., north vestry and south porch. The measurements are internal. The chancel was built in the 14th century, and it is possible that the nave was built with it, but the windows are later insertions. The south porch was apparently added late in the 16th century. The church has been restored in modern times, and an extension westwards is now in contemplation. The chancel has a twolight 14th-century east window. There is a pointed door on the north to the vestry, and in the south wall is a two-light window originally of the 14th century, but altered at a late date. To the east of it is a piscina with an ogee head. Further west is a blocked low-side window visible externally. The chancel arch is segmental and probably of 18thcentury date. The trussed rafter roof is plastered on the soffit. The nave has two windows in each side wall, the first pair of three lights and the second of two only; all have square heads and are of the 15th century. Between the two on the south is the 16thcentury south door with a low four-centred head. In the west wall is a three-light window similar to those in the side walls, and above it is a two-light window of the same character. The wagon roof is plastered, but has moulded wall-plates. Over the west end is a late timber bellcote containing one bell. The south porch has stone benches and a single-light opening on each side. The outer entrance has a three-centred head, probably of late 16th-century date. On the gable is an 18th-century sundial. The vestry is covered with stucco, dated 'W.H. 1754.' The circular font stands on a stem of the same form, but is of doubtful date.
The plate includes a mediaeval paten of curious design and without date; the outer rim is apparently more recent than the inner part and in the centre is the head of Our Lord. There are also a chalice, flagon and almsdish dated 1786 and a modern chalice, bought to replace that of 1786 which is cracked.
The registers begin in 1653.
To the south of the chancel is the weathered base of a churchyard cross.
There was a church at Cumnor at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 113) It belonged with the manor of Cumnor to the abbey of Abingdon to which it was appropriated before 1291. (fn. 114) The appropriation was confirmed in 1401 by Pope Boniface IX. (fn. 115)
The advowson and the rectory have followed the descent of the manor (fn. 116) (q.v.). During the 17th century, however, they seem to have been leased to the family of Peacock. John Peacock, with Robert Philipson, presented to the vicarage in 1623 and 1647, (fn. 117) and Henry Peacock and his wife were parties to a fine concerning the rectory in 1694. (fn. 118) The Earls of Abingdon have held the advowson since 1728, but as the present earl is a Roman Catholic the presentations are made by the University of Oxford. (fn. 119)
The chapels of South Hinksey, North Hinksey and Wootton were dependent on Cumnor (fn. 120) till the middle of the 18th century. They were then endowed with vicarial tithes by Montagu second Earl of Abingdon. (fn. 121) 'Smoke money,' amounting to 6d. a year, was formerly paid by these parishes to Cumnor Church. (fn. 122) The advowson of Wootton has followed the same descent as that of Cumnor.
In the accounts of Abingdon Abbey belonging to the 14th and 15th centuries there are references to the rectory and church of 'La Dene.' (fn. 123) It is clear from a passage in the abbey rules (fn. 124) that this means Dean Court, a hamlet near Botley. The tithe of the 'rectory of Dencourt' appears in the Minister's Accounts of 1538, after the surrender of the abbey. (fn. 125) There is no other mention of a church, though there are traditions of a large mansion belonging to the monks of Abingdon, with a domestic chapel. (fn. 126)
There was a free chapel at Chilswell dissolved by Sir John Williams between 1536 and 1546. It was entered in a return of 1548 under Little Wittenham. (fn. 127)
Poor's land and houses.— This Charity was the subject of an inquisition of charitable uses taken at Abingdon on 11 January, 1612–13. The property consists of three cottages, producing £10 5s. yearly, and 5 a. 2 r. 1 p. of land in Cumnor, acquired on the inclosure in 1820. The land is let at £10 yearly. The sum of 50s. is expended annually in bread on New Year's Day, and the residue of the net income is distributed at the same time in sums of 5s. to each recipient.
The Church House.—A house adjoining the churchyard has been for centuries the property of the churchwardens. (fn. 128) It now consists of two cottages let on a weekly tenancy at a yearly rent of £5 4s. The income is applicable, under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, dated 13 December 1907, for purposes in connexion with the parish church.
George Noble, by will, date unknown, gave £10 to the poor of Cumnor to be lent out to any two persons, i.e., £5 to each. There is a sum of about £20 now standing to the credit of the charity in the Post Office Savings Bank.
In 1774 Dr. Benjamin Buckler, a former vicar, bequeathed £100, the interest to be laid out in Bibles and Common Prayer Books for distribution to the poor. There have been considerable accumulations from time to time, and the endowment now consists of £373 10s. 11d. consols, producing £9 6s. 8d. yearly. The vicar supplies all the children with Bibles, church services, hymn books and psalters, besides providing many similar books which are kept in the church.
In 1761 Mary Peacock, by a codicil to her will proved at London 12 December, bequeathed £500 3 per cent. annuities, £3 yearly to be given for education and the residue of the income to be paid to three poor widows or maiden women of the age of fifty years and upwards. The legacy is represented by £500 consols, of which £120, producing £3 yearly, has been set aside as 'Peacock's Educational Foundation,' and £380 as 'Peacock's Eleemosynary Charity,' producing £9 10s. yearly.
In 1828 William Slatter, by a codicil to his will, bequeathed £100, one half of the interest to be applied for the benefit of the Blue Coat charity school in Oxford and the other half towards educating the poor of Cumnor. The legacy is represented by £108 2s. 2d. consols, of which one half, namely, £54 1s. 1d. consols, producing £1 7s. yearly, has been allocated as the share of Cumnor.
John Slatter, who died in 1810, gave £50 3 per cents. for the poor. The endowment now consists of £50 consols, and the income, amounting to £1 5s. yearly, is divided equally at Christmas among five of the oldest poor persons.
For the charity of William Selwood see under the parish of Bessels Leigh.
The Sunday school fund, raised in 1812 by collections, now amounts to £106 16s. 1d. consols. The dividends, amounting to £2 13s. 4d. yearly, are applied in providing a Bible, a prayer book and a hymn book for each child in the first class of the Sunday school, besides books which are kept at the school. Annual treats for the children are also provided.
In 1821 Carey Godfrey, by his will, gave £100 stock, also for the benefit of the scholars of Cumnor Sunday school. The endowment now consists of £100 consols, producing £2 10s. yearly.
In 1823 Richard Hall bequeathed £100, the income to be distributed on Christmas Day among four poor persons. The legacy is now represented by £100 consols, and the dividends, amounting to £2 10s. yearly, are divided equally among four of the industrious poor.
The several sums of stock are, with the exception of the Sunday school fund, held by the official trustees.
Poor's allotment.—By an award under the Act of 1814 (fn. 129) for the inclosure of Cumnor, 11 a. 1 r. 36 p. of land in Cumnor Hurst, allotted to the Earl of Abingdon, were charged with the annual sum of £14 6s. 10d., to be applied in the purchase of fuel for the poor, in lieu of their right to cut furze and fern from the commons and waste lands.
By the same award an allotment containing 3 r. 10 p was made as a public gravel and stone-pit. This allotment is now exhausted, and is let for 18s. yearly, which is applied in relief of the parish rates.
Chapelry of Wootton: Eleemosynary charities.—In 1747 Jane Mayo, by deed, gave a close called the Church Close, in trust that the rents be distributed on Christmas Day to the poor. The land contains 1 a. 0 r. 21 p., and produces £2 15s. yearly. A sum of £3 1s. 4d. consols, representing proceeds of the sale of timber, is also held by the official trustees.
Donor unknown.—The official trustees also hold a sum of £113 6s. 4d. consols, producing £2 16s. 8d. yearly, arising from the investment in 1901 of a sum of £100, paid by the occupiers of certain lands by way of compromise of the interests of the poor therein.
In 1865 Mary Mutrie, by her will proved at Oxford 9 August, bequeathed £333 6s. 8d. consols, the dividends to be applied in fuel and clothing. The stock is held by the official trustees, producing £8 6s. 8d. yearly.
The income of these charities is distributed in coal to about sixty recipients.
Ecclesiastical charity.—In 1780 Elizabeth Hawkins, by her will proved in the P.C.C. 30 June, bequeathed two-thirds of her residuary estate upon trust that the income thereof should be applied in ornamenting and improving the church, any surplus to go to the incumbent. The bequest is represented by £1,051 9s. 8d. consols with the official trustees, producing £26 5s. 8d. yearly, of which two-thirds are paid to the vicar and one-third is applied to a fund for the ornamentation of the church.