St Martin's Church, St Martin-by-Looe

St Martin’s Church is a parish church in the hamlet of St Martin, Looe, Cornwall,[4] in the Church of England Diocese of Truro.

St Martin’s Church, St Martin-by-Looe
St Martin by Looe Church.jpg
St Martin’s Church, St Martin-by-Looe
St Martin’s Church, St Martin-by-Looe is located in Cornwall
St Martin’s Church, St Martin-by-Looe
St Martin’s Church, St Martin-by-Looe
Location within Cornwall
50°22′9.9″N 04°26′53.4″W / 50.369417°N 4.448167°W / 50.369417; -4.448167Coordinates: 50°22′9.9″N 04°26′53.4″W / 50.369417°N 4.448167°W / 50.369417; -4.448167
LocationSt Martin, Cornwall
DenominationChurch of England
DedicationSt Keyne and St Martin of Tours[1]</ref>
Heritage designationGrade I listed[2]
ParishSt Martin with East and West Looe
DeaneryWest Wivelshire[3]

History and descriptionEdit

The church dates from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. It was restored in 1882 and also in 1907 at a cost of £400 (equivalent to £42,600 in 2019)[5] when the eastern portion of the church floor was lowered, the walls underpinned and the pillars were straightened. A heating system was installed and the lancet window was opened up. It was re-opened for worship by the Venerable Archdeacon Henry Du Boulay.[6] Until 1845 it was the parish church of East Looe; an early vicar was Sir William de Bodrygan (1280), one of the family of lords who granted that town its early privileges. The south aisle was once reserved to the townspeople, close to the pews where sat the mayor and corporation. the parclose screen (1612) was due to the Langdons of Keverell whose squire used the squint to watch the preacher.[7]

There is a Norman doorway and a Norman font and wagon roofs of the 15th century. There is a fine collection of modern carved woodwork, including the choir stalls, the benches in the nave and a memorial to an officer who served in India. Other features of interest are the tomb of Philip Maiowe in the chancel, a monument to Walter Langdon (died 1676) and his wife in one of the aisles and a memorial tablet to Jonathan Toup, a notable Greek scholar,[8] who was rector of this parish and also vicar of St Merryn. Toup was buried under the communion table of the church. A small marble tablet was erected to his memory on the south wall of the church by his niece Phillis Blake. The tablet states that the excellence of Toup's scholarship was "known to the learned throughout Europe." The inscription on a round brass plate beneath the tablet records that the cost was defrayed by the delegates of the Oxford University Press.


A new organ costing £260 (equivalent to £25,400 in 2019)[5] by Henry Speechley was opened on 2 May 1878 by J. Nicholson of St Bartholomew’s Church, London.[9] A specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.[10]


The tower currently has six bells cast in 1882 by John Taylor & Co.[11]

Parish statusEdit

Until 1845 the ecclesiastical parish included East Looe where there was a chapel of St Mary. The church is dedicated to St Keyne and St Martin and in historical records is sometimes called Keyne the Greater. The advowson belonged to the lords of Pendrim.[12]

The church is in a joint parish with


  1. ^ The Cornish Church Guide (1925) Truro: Blackford; p. 154
  2. ^ Historic England, "Church of St Martin by Looe (1282854)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 26 November 2017
  3. ^ "St Martin-by-Looe: St Martin, Looe". A Church Near You. The Church of England. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  4. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus; Radcliffe, Enid (1970). The Buildings of England. Cornwall. Yale University Press. p. 187. ISBN 0140710019.
  5. ^ a b UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  6. ^ "Cornish Church Restoration". West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser. England. 21 November 1907. Retrieved 26 November 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ Guide to South Cornwall; 14th ed. London: Ward Lock, [c. 1955]; p. 128
  8. ^ Mee, Arthur, ed. (1937) Cornwall: England's farthest south. London: Hodder & Stoughton; pp. 232-33
  9. ^ "St Martin's- by-Looe". Royal Cornwall Gazette. England. 3 May 1878. Retrieved 26 November 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. ^ "NPOR N12219". National Pipe Organ Register. British Institute of Organ Studies. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  11. ^ "St Martin by Looe, Cornwall S Martin of Tours". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Dovemaster. 9 September 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  12. ^ The Cornish Church Guide (1925) Truro: Blackford; pp. 148 & 154