2.   The Earliest Times

The name "Tettenhall" can best be explained as deriving from Teotta's Halh, a halh being a sheltered position and Teotta being a personal name, presumably that of the Saxon man who was head of a settlement which was in a sheltered position. Such a position is that now occupied by the church and the houses to the east of Lower Green and below the church which was the original settled area of Tettenhall.  


This early 20th century postcard gives an idea of the village in its sheltered position beneath the ridge.

The area is dominated by the ridge which runs from Perton to Aldersley. Below the ridge, the river Smestow, in early times certainly a larger stream than it is now, ran through extensive marsh lands, eventually to join the Severn. Above the ridge there was also a good deal of marshy land but beyond and around was forest. And in that area rose the River Penk, flowing in the opposite direction to the Smestow, eventually to join the Trent.  

This postcard shows the view of Compton Holloway from near the top of the ridge, down to the Smestow valley and across to Finchfield - all part of Tettenhall parish.

This postcard shows the ridge from the other side, looking down Windmill Lane to the Smestow and the Mermaid Inn; and up the other side of the valley, where Wightwick Manor is near the top of the ridge.

In Saxon times there seems, to judge by place name evidence, to have been a fair amount of woodland clearance in the vicinity. The forest, and the arable and pasture created in woodland clearances, enabled the settlement to do well and, by 910 AD, it seems to have become the most notable place for some distance around. For when the old chroniclers came to describe a bloody and decisive battle which took place in that year between the Saxons and the Danes, they described it as taking place at, or near, a place called Tettenhall. The actual site of the battle is not known but the suggestion is that Tettenhall was the best known place in the vicinity of the battle and therefore bigger and better known than Wolverhampton, Willenhall or Wednesfield.

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