Palgrave is in the N of central Suffolk, half a mile S of the river Waveney that forms the border with Norfolk, and less than a mile S of Diss. Half a mile to the S runs the A143 linking Bury St Edmunds with Diss and Norwich. The village has spread out from its nucleus, with the church in the centre, and is surrounded by arable farmland. There was a second church in Palgrave, still surviving in a ruinous state in 1721 but entirely gone now. This was the chapel of St John, staffed by priests from St Edmundsbury Abbey, and it stood to the N of the road to Wortham, a mile to the SW, near the present St John's Farm.
St Peter's has a nave with a N aisle, chancel and W tower. The nave is of knapped flint, and its S windows are 15thc. but heavily restored. The 15thc. two-storey S porch is also of knapped flint and is decorated with flushwork. The N aisle was added in 1861, and has a five bay arcade. A N porch was added at the same time. The chancel arch dates fromc.1300, but the flint and septaria chancel, with its curious round-headed Y-tracery windows must be post-medieval. Pevsner suggests early 19thc., but notes that the antiquarian Tom Martin mentioned a new chancel in 1729. It was, in any case, restored in 1861. The flint and septaria tower and its tower arch are 14thc., and a knapped flint battlemented parapet has been added. The only 12thc. sculpture is on the elaborately carved font.
St Edmundsbury Abbey held Palgrave as a manor before and after the Conquest. In 1086 the estate included four carucates of ploughland, six acres of meadow and two churches with 30 acres of land. In the same place, 29 free men held two carucates of land less 12 acres; the soke and commendation belonging to the abbot. The abbey held the manor until the Dissolution.
North Hartismere benefice, i.e. Palgrave, Wortham, Burgate, Thrandeston, Stuston and Brome with Oakley.
|ext. w. at top (E-W)||0.78 m|
|ext. w. at top (N-S)||0.79 m|
|h. of bowl||0.49 m|
|h. of bowl and shafts||0.94 m|
|int. diam. of bowl||0.64 m|
|overall h. of font||1.27 m|