LOOE, EAST, a sea-port and incorporated market-town, having separate jurisdiction, in the parish of St. Martin, union of Liskeard, locally in the hundred of West, E. division of Cornwall, 16 miles (W.) from Plymouth, and 232 (W. S. W.) from London; containing 926 inhabitants. This place was formerly the only sea-port in Cornwall of any note, excepting Fowey, and hence was derived its name Lo; in Cornish, signifying a port. In the reign of Edward III. it furnished twenty ships and 315 mariners towards the equipment of the English fleet for the siege of Calais. Its situation is romantic, on the eastern shore of Looe bay, near the mouth of the river Looe, over which is a narrow bridge of thirteen stone arches, 141 yards in length and only six feet wide, built about the year 1400, and connecting the boroughs of East and West Looe. The sea view is very fine, and the land scenery richly diversified; the air is salubrious, and the inhabitants are supplied with excellent water. On the beach is a fort mounted with ten guns; and opposite to the town is Looe Island, or St. George's, which is much frequented by flocks of sea-fowl during the spring. The pilchard-fishery is carried on to a considerable extent: the exports consist of tin, copper, and lead ore, bark, timber, salt, pilchards, and pilchard oil; and coal, culm, and limestone are imported. Here is a custom-house. Much advantage is derived from the Liskeard and Looe canal. The market is on Saturday; and fairs are held on Feb. 13th, July 10th, Sept. 10th, and Oct. 10th.
East Looe, which is a borough by prescription, received a charter of incorporation from Elizabeth in 1587, which was confirmed by others of James I. and II. The corporation consists of a mayor, recorder, eight aldermen, and an indefinite number of burgesses, with a town-clerk, and four serjeants-at-mace. The borough, conjointly with Fowey, sent a representative to a great council at Westminster, in the reign of Edward I., but members were not returned to parliament until the 13th of Elizabeth, from which period two were sent; the inhabitants were disfranchised in the 2nd of William IV. The mayor, late mayor, deputy mayor, recorder, and deputy recorder, are justices of the peace. Sessions are held once or twice a year, at which prisoners charged with petty larceny are tried; and the charter of James II. gives the mayor and aldermen authority to hold a court of record every three weeks, for the recovery of debts not exceeding £100, but no business has been transacted in the court for many years. There is a common gaol for felons and debtors. The chapel here, dedicated to St. Kyn, was rebuilt in the year 1806, and is a small handsome structure; it was made a district church in 1845, for East and West Looe, and the patronage is now vested in the Bishop of Exeter. There are places of worship for the Society of Friends, and Wesleyans; and a school endowed by Col. Speccott in 1703.