The Palgrave Society

We are based in the U.K., but have a world-wide membership.
Extracts from U.K. birth, marriage and death indexes
are among over 1100 pages of data which has been
 indexed and published in our magazines and books.
Queries on genealogy, biography and heraldry
of this name and its many variants are welcome.

Palgrave Society Logo

about the Palgrave Society membership details North Barningham Church future activities publications &
Millennium thimble
Palgrave and its variants origins of the surnames

This web page:

The Palgrave Society

The Society is a member of the Federation of Family History Societies and our Secretary, Derek Palgrave, is a Vice-President of the Federation. He is also President of the Guild of One Name Studies, of which he is a member representing the Society.

The Society was formed in 1973 by a number of enthusiasts who were interested in the history of all bearers of the surname Palgrave and its variants. Over the last 40 years we have been undertaking detailed research to uncover evidence going back to the 12th century. We have published the findings on a regular basis in a quarterly magazine entitled the Palgrave Chronicle.

In addition we have sponsored the publication of a comprehensive History and Lineage of the Palgraves, in hard-back, summarising the genealogical and heraldic evidence which had been evaluated prior to 1978, together with a number of short booklets, dealing with various aspects of local and family history of interest to the membership.

Further information about the Society may be obtained from the Secretary, Derek A Palgrave:
Crossfield House, Dale Road, Stanton, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP31 2DY, England.
E-mail:; Telephone: 01359 251050

Palgrave Society Logo Return to the top of this page


The Society answers queries from non-members or members. However, its income is dependent on subscriptions and donations, so we hope you will join. Members receive a quarterly magazine, The Palgrave Chronicle, via facebook.

The annual subscription is £5. Please send a sterling cheque payable to "The Palgrave Society" to our Secretary. (Applicants in the U.S. may remit in U.S. dollars to PO Box 69, Indian Hills, Colorado, 80454 but checks must be payable to "N. Palgrave"). At current rates of exchange the subscription is $10-00.

To join just send a remittance with your name, address, and postcode/zipcode. In joining you agree to your membership details being kept on computer.

Palgrave Society Logo Return to the top of this page

North Barningham church from the SWNorth Barningham Church

The Society has been deeply involved in the conservation of North Barningham Church in Norfolk, England, with its 16th and 17th century Palgrave monuments. An annual meeting of members is held there.

In the early part of 2001, the Churches Conservation Trust carried out some necessary conservation on two of the memorials. One, to John Palgrave, in the Sanctuary, and another, to Margaret Pope née Palgrave, on the chancel wall, were partially dismantled and reassembled in order to repair cracks in the stonework. The Palgrave Society has donated a substantial sum towards this work but further donations from members and others, interested in maintaining this unique collection of seventeenth century sculptured monuments, are most welcome.

A limited number of services are arranged each year - for details email

More about this church at

Palgrave Society Logo Return to the top of this page

Future Activities

There will be a Patronal Festival Service at St Peter’s North Barningham on Sunday 30th June, 2019 : Evensong at 3-00 p.m.

Exhibitions and gatherings will be held at North Barningham during the year. For full details email

Palgrave Society Logo Return to the top of this page

Publications and Records

Notelets featuring North Barningham Church now available !

The Society has published the books listed below. Prices shown do not include postage - for rates please enquire by email to our Secretary.

The Palgraves of Rollesby, 1773-1973 £1
North Barningham: Church, Hall & Palgrave Family. £1
Archives of Flegg Relating to the Palgraves. £1
Heraldry at North Barningham Church. £1
The Palgraves of Ludham. £1
The Palgraves and John Murray: a selection of letters £3-00
St Peter North Barningham: a guide to the church £1-50
The History and Lineage of the Palgraves (Hardback 283pp) £17-50
Royal & U.S. Presidential links with the Palgraves of North Barningham £1-50

That book "History and Lineage...." summarises most of the Palgrave research prior to 1978. Almost all other records we hold have been transcribed, indexed and published in our magazine, "The Palgrave Chronicle" which is now in its tenth volume. The accumulated data is just under 1000 pages plus a further 120 or so pages from its predecessor "The Palgrave Newsletter".

We hold lists of extracts from GRO Indexes and we published the first fifty or so years of them in our Newsletters during the late 1970s. Virtually all other archival material and entries in the usual indexes, which we have extracted, has been transcribed, published, interpreted and assembled into pedigrees most of which have appeared in our magazines (1974-1999), monographs and the 1978 hardback book. This material is not confined to the UK but embraces overseas occurrences especially in the USA and Australia. The magazines are all indexed by volume as is the hardback so anyone with a set of our publications can have a stab at dealing with most queries.

The Palgrave Chronicle

The newsletter of the Palgrave Society is now distributed tthrough our facebook group.

Millennium commemorative thimble

This is now available to collectors for £1-25 (posted to UK addresses) and £1-75 (posted overseas by airmail). For further details potential purchasers should E-mail our Secretary.

Palgrave Society Logo Return to the top of this page

Palgrave And Its Variants

[Those marked * are dubious; a ^ symbol indicates elision of the letters before and after the symbol]

Pag^ave (Pagave), Paggegrave, Paggrave, Pagram, Pagraua
Pagraue, Pagrava, Pagrave, Pagrayfe, Pagrief
Pagrife, Pagriff, Pakegrave, Paldegrave, Palegraue
Palegrave, Palegreve, Palesgrove, Palglafs*, Palgran
Palgrane, Palgraue, Palgraufe, Palgrave, Palgraves
Palgraw, Palgrawe, Palgrawfe, Palgraze, Palgrife
Palgriff, Palgriss, Palgrive, Palgroave, Palgrove
Palgroves, Palgrowe, Palg^ue (Palgue), Pallgraue, Pallgrav
Pallgrave, Pallgraves, Pallsgrove, Palmgrove, Palsegrave
Palsgraf*, Palsgraff*, Palsgraue, Palsgrave, Palsgrof*
Palsgrove, Palsgroves, Paltsgrove*, Paltzgeoff*, Palzgraf*
Palzgraff*, Palzgrove*, Pargrave, Pasgrave, Paugrave
Paulgraue, Paulgrave, Paullgrave, Paulsgrave, Paultsgrove*
Pavegrave, Pawgrave, Pawlgraue, Pawlgrave, Paxgrave
Paygraue, Paygrave

Peagrave, Peagriff, Peasgrave, Pedgrave, Pedgriff
Pedgrift, Pedgrifth, Peggram, Pegrave, Pegriff
Pegrom, Pelgrave, Pelgrift, Pellgrave, Pensgrave

Pfaltzgraf*, Pfaltzgraff*, Pfalygraft*, Pfalzgraf*,

Pilgram, Pilgrane, Pilgraue, Pilgrave, Pilgrove
Pilsgrave, Pisgrove

Poldegrew, Polegrave, Polgrane, Polgrave, Polgraves
Polgravis, Polgreen*, Pollgrave, Pollgraves, Poulgrave
Poullgreene*, Poulsgrave, Powell-Greaves, Powlgrave, Powlgraves


Palgrave Society Logo Return to the top of this page

An outline of the origin and development of the surnames
Pagrave, Palgrave, Pelgrave, Polgrave, etc

compiled by Derek Palgrave

Early Occurrences

In the Domesday Book, compiled in the eleventh century, there are references to the villages of Pagrava in Norfolk and Palegrava in Suffolk. The Norfolk village is in the centre of the county just north east of the town of Swaffham whilst its Suffolk counterpart lies on the northern county boundary just across the River Waveney from Diss in Norfok.

Inhabitants of the Norfolk village, including William de Pagrava, Robert de Pagrave, Maud de Pagrave and many others, are mentioned a variety of documents during the 12th and 13th centuries. A certain John Pagrave paid tax at Sporle, the next village, in 1380. By the 15th century the Pagraves were Lords of the Manor at Pagrave and were in the process of marrying into some of the more influential families in the county.

At Palgrave in Suffolk the Lord of the Manor was the Abbot of Bury St Edmunds so there was no manorial family there, but, as inhabitants of the village went elsewhere, they came to be known by their place of origin. For instance in the 13th century there are references in documents to Osketel and William de Palegrave, Petronilla de Palgrave and Johannis de Palegrave. 14th century Suffolk taxation lists and deeds refer to several bearers of the name, Palgrave.

Formal Adoption of Surnames

By about 1350, descriptive names were being transformed to recognisably hereditary surnames which may be traced from generation to generation. Consequently it is possible follow the lineage of the Pagraves of Pagrave through ten or so generations to Sir Richard Palgrave who was living at North Barningham near Holt in the 18th century.

The church there contains a 16th century brass to Henry Pagrave, the great great great great grandfather of Sir Richard. It should be noted that Henry's children seem to have decided to modify the spelling of their surname from Pagrave to Palgrave. One of these children, Thomas, married Alice Gunton of Thuxton, Norfolk, where they settled and established another large branch of the family which included a grandson, Dr Richard Palgrave, who subsequently emigrated to America in 1630. His descendants include two US Presidents.

Many of the Palgraves, who derived from Palgrave in Suffolk, migrated into South Norfolk, where they became established in the Pulham area for at least eight generations. Some of these moved on down the River Waveney to Great Yarmouth and thence into the Broads area of East Norfolk. There was a great deal of trade between ports on the east coast and this may explain how the Palgraves came to settle in Lincolnshire on the south bank of the Humber estuary during the sixteenth century. There are references to both Palgrave and Polgrave in many parts of Lincolnshire as family groups tended to migrate further south.

Several Palgraves had remained in Suffolk especially in the hundreds of Hartismere and Hoxne where they were well represented throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. Thereafter they began to migrate eastwards so, by the late 18th century, they were well established in the Halesworth area. However, references in local archives were recording both Palgrave, Pelgrave and Pedgrave entries which later evolved into Pedgrift. In some instances the name was expressed 'Pedgrift alias Palgrave' confirming that it was the same family.

There is some evidence of the surname, Palgrave, in the adjoining county of Essex as early as the 15th century but archival entries in the Maldon area during the 17th and 18th centuries often appear as Palsgrave or Palsgrove. These particular variants seem to have been be more widespread in Surrey and Hampshire during the 18th and 19th centuries. These versions also appeared in London, in addition to virtually every other known variant including Pargrave which occurred in Hertfordshire.

Later Ramification

Migration gathered considerable momentum during the 19th century as a result of major improvements in transport and communication. Migrants from East Norfolk took the surname, Palgrave, to Tyneside, whilst others, mainly from Lincolnshire, secured its presence in Birmingham and also in South Wales. However Welsh Census enumerators seemed to have entered only the Pelgrave version in their returns.

Emigration overseas was also significant, Christmas Palgrave, a criminal, being transported to New South Wales, Australia, in 1823. Many others made their own way to Australia and New Zealand including several Pelgraves from South Wales who arrived in South Australia around the 1880s. Others have emigrated to this part of the world and to North America during the 20th century.


There seems little doubt that the surname is locative with two original versions derived from the villages of Pagrava and Palegrava in Norfolk and Suffolk respectively. Some time during the sixteenth century the bearers of the surname Pagrave changed the spelling to Palgrave. Widespread migration into areas where the surname was unfamiliar led to corruption by the distortion of vowel sounds to give the versions Polgrave, Pelgrave, Palgrove, etc. The modification of consonant sounds gave rise to further variants including Pargrave, Palsgrave, Pedgrave, Pedgrift, etc. Several other less frequent versions have been recorded and details published by the Palgrave Society.

Palgrave Society Logo Return to the top of this page

Links to other Palgrave Sites

The Palgraves: a Victorian Chronology   compiled by David Latane.. 

Palgrave: website of the village of Palgrave in Suffolk.

Palgrave Society Logo Return to the top of this page

This page is maintained on behalf of the Palgrave Society by the FFHS
Updated by the FFHS webmaster March 2019