3.   The early church

The date of the founding of the parish church, St. Michael and All Angels, is not known. The date of 975 AD was a reasonable approximation (made in 1975 when it was felt that some millennium celebrations would be in order). The church was certainly in existence in 1086 when it was recorded in Domesday Book. Domesday gives Tettenhall a value of 30 shillings, a 10 shillings increase over its value in 1066; and that implies a population of about 100. Domesday also refers to the fact that Tettenhall had belonged to three Saxons, Hunta, Wulfstan and Godwin, who lost it in 1066 to Norman lords; but it was now in the hands of the King.  

An early 20th century view of St. Michael and All Angels, from the south. 
A matching view of the church from the north.

At some point during this period the church, like those at Penkridge and Wolverhampton, became a royal peculiar and a collegiate church. A royal peculiar is a church which comes under the jurisdiction of the king, not the bishop; and a collegiate church was run not by a single vicar but by a college (that is, a collective - it has nothing to do with education) which consisted of a Dean and Canons (otherwise known as prebendaries).  A collegiate church is thought to be an arrangement adopted when an area was in particular need of missionary work among the heathen. 

The endowment of the collegiate church resulted in the main part of the village being in the king's manor, Tettenhall Regis; and the rest being in the church's manor, Tettenhall Clericorum.  The areas allotted to each of the five canons shows the enormous areas that Tettenhall then covered:

1. Tettenhall: the village, the Wood, Compton (including Finchfield), Autherley
2. Perton: Perton, Trescott, Wightwick
3. Wrottesley: Wrottesley, Wergs, Dippons, Kingswood
4. Pendeford: Pendeford, Bilbrook, Lane Green, Barnhurst, Palmer's Cross, Birches
5. Codsall.

 Despite the numbers of clergymen and its collegiate status, the church at Tettenhall, unlike that at Wolverhampton, never developed into anything more than a country parish church. It was the religious and social centre of a large agricultural community.

Return to the contents Return to the previous page Proceed to the
 next page