Tatenhill.- "Like a mile before Trent comes to Burton, there enters into it a little brook, coming out of Needwood; but there is nothing upon it worth noting, except a man should account Tatenhall for a beauty, whereof I never heard any man make any great account, except (Thomas Gesson) a poor priest, that was parson of Packington, in Leicestershire, and was born here; who commending, in a sort, his birth-place, left these verses upon his monument in Packington church:--
"Me Tatenhall genuit, ast Ashby davia, nutrix;
Packington tumulus, sic mea fata ferunt."
In this briefly quaint manner Erdeswick dismisses Tatenhill, near to which, in the days of Edward the Elder, a great battle was fought. Leland calls it "a village and a college about a myle from Wulnerhampton." Gough informs us the name is a corruption of Theotenhall, which being interpreted signifies the hall of nations or of pagans. The college was founded prior to the Conquest, "and had a dean and five prebends till the period of its dissolution by Henry VIII." Shaw says the building stood at the east end of the church. This is a royal chapel dedicated to St. Michael, and enjoys the privileges which are common to "such peculiars." "The inscription," says Mr. Nightingale, "on the seal is Sigillum Commune Ecclesiæ Collegiatæ de Tetenholl. The eastern window of this building is a very curious ancient one, containing a painting on glass, which represents the archangel trampling on a dragon. The front is of an angular shape, and beautifully ornamented with Gothic sculpture work." The parish is extensive; it includes three townships, containing 9408 acres, 2593 inhabitants, 555 houses, and real property valued at £5560. The living is a rectory annexed to the deanery of Lichfield. Its value is not given, but it is considered a good living. The country in the neighbourhood is exceedingly picturesque, and abounds in pleasant rambles. "The parish church is a large old building, consisting of a lofty nave and chancel, and surmounted by a massive tower. On the floor, in the body of it, are several ancient flat stones with figures cut out upon them, but in so mutilated a state as to render it impossible to ascertain any thing concerning them. The tower is remarkable as the Centrum Phonocampticum, or object of an echo, which returns no less than five syllables distinctly, though the distance of the Centrum Phonicum, or speaker's place, does not exceed seventy yards. Another uncommon echo is mentioned by Dr. Plot, as having been formerly heard near the parsonage house, which only answered during frost. The church was thoroughly restored in 1872-73.
Some years ago a variety of Roman coins were discovered in the vicinity of the small hamlet of Callingwood. A curious and beautiful model, of shittim wood, of the holy sepulchre, with the church over it, was formerly deposited in a house possessed by Mr. Jalland. The history of it, as well as the name of the artist, are unknown."*
* Picturesque Views of Staffordshire.