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This parish of Looe, (Cornish: Logh), whose name means 'pool or inlet', is on the south coast of Cornwall. It was created from parts of Talland and St Martin parishes in 1845, before which each were a chapelry of their parent parish. There are actually two towns: East and West Looe, divided by the estuary of the Looe River and connected by a bridge of nine arches built in 1853. The ancient towns of East and West Looe are situated in the Deanery and Hundred of West; they are bounded on the north by Duloe and Morval, on the east by St Martins, on the south by the sea, and on the west by Talland. East Looe, the larger of the two towns is situated at the foot of a hill 200 feet in height; it anciently bore the name of 'Loo' or Looe. West Looe originally bearing the name of Port Bigham (or Port Pigham, Portbyam, Portbyham or Portuan).
In the reign of Edward I, in the 13th century, Henry de Bodrigan, then Lord of the Manor, certified his claim to a market and fair at Looe, and a view of frank pledge, a ducking stool, a pillory and assize of bread and beer, which had been granted by Henry II. The first known mention of West Looe is in a document dated 1327.
Originally the towns were 'rotten boroughs' in political terms; both East and West Looe each returned two members of parliament until the Reform Act of 1845. In 1878 the two towns merged under one governing body; Looe Urban District Council was formed in 1898 to govern the whole of Looe.

In the 19th century the Looe Union Canal was used to export agricultural produce and granite from Looe but is now disused. When Talland civil parish was abolished in 1934, the area was distributed between Looe and Lansallos parishes.

Archives & Libraries

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Census information for this parish (1841 - 1901) is held in the Cornwall Record Office. The Cornwall Family History Society offers a census search service for its members. The Cornwall Family History Society have also published on-line census detail by surname on the FamilyHistoryonLine site.

Specific census information for this parish is available as follows:

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Church History

Looe ecclesiastical parish was first constituted in 1845, when the chapelries of East Looe in St Martin's parish and west Looe in Talland parish were merged. The Anglican churches of each have remained.

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Church Records

Many of the earlier records for Looe will be found under Talland parish and St Martin by Looe parish.

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Civil Registration

The Anglican parish of Looe (both East and West) has always been in the Liskeard Registration District. There were sub-districts at Callington, Lerrin, Liskeard and Looe. Parishes within the district are: Boconnoc, Broadoak, Callington, Calstock (1837-60), Duloe, East Looe, Lanreath, Lansallos, Lanteglos, Linkinhorne, Liskeard, Liskeard Borough, Menheniot, Morval, Pelynt, St. Cleer, St. Dominick, St. Ive, St. Keyne, St. Martin's, St. Neot, St. Pinnock, St. Veep, Southill, Talland and West Looe.
The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: Graylands, Dean Street, Liskeard, PL14 4AH. Tel: 01579 343442.

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Description & Travel

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OPC Assistance. The On-line Parish Clerk (OPC) scheme operates a service to help family historians; the OPC page for this parish is available on-line, from where the OPC can be contacted by email.

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Apprenticeship Indentures for East Looe (1655 - 1820) can be found in the Cornwall Record Office.

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Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

Both East and West Looe were part of the Liskeard Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief. Overseers' Accounts for East Looe (1692 to 1819), Settlement Papers (1696 to 1835) are available. Overseers' Accounts for West Looe (1697, 1715) and Bastardy Bonds (1656 to 1657) are aalso available. These can be found in the Cornwall Record Office.

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Looe was created from parts of Talland and St Martin parishes in 1709. Talland civil parish was abolished in 1934; the area was distributed between Looe and Lansallos parishes and this partially accounts for population variations from 1951.

  • Population in 1801 - 843 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 1041 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 1309 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 1458 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 1542 persons (including 926 in East Looe and 616 in West Looe)
  • Population in 1851 - 1716 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 1924 persons (including 1124 in East Looe and 744 in West Looe and 16 on shipping in East Looe)
  • Population in 1871 - 2194 persons (including 1349 in East Looe and 798 in West Looe)
  • Population in 1881 - 2221 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 2430 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 2548 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 2718 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 2868 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 3006 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 3833 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 4090 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 4425 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 5290 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 5265 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 5280 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 5000 persons

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The Looe Old Cornwall Society News Page is on-line.

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The parish comprises 222 acres of land.

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