Boulge is in the E of the county, 2½ miles NW of the centre of Woodbridge. The landscape is the usual arable farmland of the E Anglian plain; not entirely flat and drained by the network of streams running into the Deben estuary at Martlesham Creek, S of Woodbridge. The name is said to derive from the French 'bouge', meaning an uncultivated heathland, although the Domesday survey give a picture of many small parcels of ploughland. The parish covers approximately a square mile in a two-mile long strip running NE to SW, but it is sparsely populated and there is no village. The community now consists of just 13 dwellings in all; just a couple of farms and a few scattered cottages. The church stands to the N of a small wood in the former parkland surrounding the site of Boulge Hall, demolished in 1956. The normal access to the church is from the S, and from this aspect it appears almost entirely Victorian. St Michael's has a W tower, a nave with a S aisle and a chancel with a large S vestry. Nave and chancel are of flint, of equal width and roofed in one. There is no chancel arch. A plain blocked N lancet in the chancel indicates a date in the early 13thc., but for the rest, the N windows of nave and chancel are ofc.1300 (Y-tracery),c.1320 (reticulated) or 15thc., the N nave doorway is 14thc., and the E wall of the chancel dates from 1858. On the south, the nave aisle is of three bays; the two at the E with a normal pentise roof, and the west bay taller and with its own gabled roof, built as a Fitzgerald family chapel. Edward Fitzgerald, translator of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, is buried in the churchyard. The chancel also has a transeptal vestry and organ chamber. This work on the S of the church was carried out in three campaigns, in 1858 (by W. G. and E. H. Habershon), in 1867 (by W. G. Habershon and A. Pite), and in 1895 (by S. Gambier Parry of Wminster). In each case the patron was the owner of the Hall; J. P. Fitzgerald for the two earlier works and Mr and Mrs Holmes White for the latest campaign. In each case too, knapped flint facings were used. The Tudor tower is of brick with an embattled parapet and a pointed segmental headed tower arch. Maintenance work to the fabric was carried out in 1978-81 by A. W. Anderson of Norwich (roofs), in 1981 (N wall) and in 1983-84 (tower). Boulge has no Romanesque fabric, but is significant in housing a font said to be an export from Tournai.
The Domesday Survey gives a picture of Boulge as a parish divided into many small holdings under many landlords. For our purposes the most significant is found under the holdings of Robert Glanville, who held a priest, Wulfwine, from Robert Malet with a church with 25 acres of free land and an acre of meadow. Robert de Glanville also held 13 acres from William de Warenne in 1086. This was held by a free man commended to Aethelric before the Conquest. In addition, two free men commended to Arnund held 29 acres under lands of Count Alan included in the valuation of Earl Soham; one free man and a half commended to Eadric held 3½ acres, held by Gilbert from Robert Malet in 1086; 6 acres were held by Roger fitzArnold from Roger de Poitou; before the Conquest a free man commended to Halfdan held 6 acres and another commended to Halfdan and Wulfric held 6 acres, both holdings held by Geoffrey de Mandeville in 1086; a villan called Wulfric held 6 acres listed under the holdings of Ranulf, brother of Ilger; a free man held half an acre listed under the holdings of the Countess of Aumale; and a free man commended to Eadric Grim held 5 perches of land, listed under the holdings of Hervey de Bourges. There was no manor here, but the church is presumed to have descended in Robert Glanville's family. It has been suggested (see Mortimer (1981) that this descent led directly to the jurist Ranulf Glanville (d.1190), Henry II’s Chief Justiciar from 1180.
Benefice of Boulge with Burgh, Grundisburgh and Hasketon.
|h. of bowl (without spurs)||0.29 m|
|h. of shafts with capital and base (including spurs)||0.57 m|
|int. diam. of bowl||0.61 m|
|overall h. of font||1.00 m|
|w. of bowl (N-S and E-W)||0.79 m|