Cumnor in 1835
Cumner, or Cumnor, is about three miles nearly west of Oxford. The manor belonged to the abbots of Abingdon, who had a house here for retirement in case of the plague, sickness, &c., prevailing at Abingdon. After the Reformation this house was granted to the last abbot for life, and on his death came into possession of Anthony Forster, whose epitaph in Cumnor church speaks highly of him as being amiable and accomplished. But in Ashmole's Antiquities of Berkshire (vol. i. p. 149, seq.), he is represented as one of the parties to the murder of the unhappy Countess of Leicester, who was secretly despatched while staying at Cumnor by the order of her husband, who was then aspiring to the hand of Queen Elizabeth. Sir Walter Scott's novel of Kenilworth has given currency to the dreadful history, which is circumstantially related by Ashmole. Part of the mansion is fitted up as a farm-house, and the shell of the remainder is nearly entire. It adjoins the churchyard, and the traditionary name of the Dudley chamber points out the room in which it is supposed the murder was committed.