East Looe (UK Parliament constituency)

East Looe
Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
County Cornwall
Major settlements East Looe
Number of members Two
Replaced by East Cornwall

East Looe was a parliamentary borough represented in the House of Commons of England from 1571 to 1707, in the House of Commons of Great Britain from 1797 to 1800, and finally in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom from 1801 until its abolition in 1832. It elected two Members of Parliament (MP) by the bloc vote system of election. It was disenfranchised in the Reform Act 1832.


The borough consisted of the town of East Looe in Cornwall, connected by bridge across the River Looe to West Looe, which was also a parliamentary borough. From the reign of Edward VI, East Looe and West Looe were jointly a borough, returning two members of Parliament; however, under Queen Elizabeth the two towns were separated, and each thereafter returned two members except between 1654 and 1658, when they were once again represented jointly, by one member of the First and Second Protectorate Parliaments.

The right of election was in Mayor and members of the Corporation, together with a number of freemen of the borough. Namier and Brooke estimated that there were about fifty voters in this constituency in the second half of the eighteenth century. It is estimated that by 1800 there were still about fifty electors, and in 1831 the number of eligible voters was 38 while the population of the borough was 865.

In practice, this meant that the power to choose the MPs was in the hands of the local landowner or "proprietor", making East Looe (like West Looe) one of the most notorious of the rotten boroughs. For many years at the time of the Reform Act, East Looe had been controlled by the Buller family (which also controlled West Looe and Saltash), and many members of the family sat for the borough in the House of Commons.

After the Reform Act 1832 disenfranchised the borough, it reverted to being represented as part of the county constituency covering its area. Cornwall was divided into two divisions in 1832, East Cornwall (with its place of election at Bodmin) and West Cornwall (which voted at Truro). East Looe was located in East Cornwall.

Members of Parliament


ParliamentFirst memberSecond member
Parliament of 1571 John Wolley Edward Cordel
Parliament of 1572-1583 Thomas Stone Thomas West
Parliament of 1584-1585 Richard Spencer Anthony Rous
Parliament of 1586-1587 Abraham Hartwell Edward Trelawny
Parliament of 1588-1589 Anthony Everard Sir Robert Jermyn
Parliament of 1593 William Hampden Gregory Downhall
Parliament of 1597-1598 Ambrose Bellot Robert Gawdy
Parliament of 1601 John Hanham Robert Yardley
Parliament of 1604-1611 Sir Robert Phelips Sir John Parker
Addled Parliament (1614) George Chudleigh Sir Reginald Mohun
Parliament of 1621-1622 Sir John Walter Sir Jerome Horsey
Happy Parliament (1624-1625) Bartholomew Specot
Useless Parliament (1625) Sir James Bagge Sir Thomas Trevor
Parliament of 1625-1626 Sir John Trevor
Parliament of 1628-1629 William Murray Paul Specot
No Parliament summoned 1629-1640


YearFirst memberFirst partySecond memberSecond party
April 1640 William Scawen William Code
November 1640 Thomas Lower Royalist Francis Buller Parliamentarian
January 1644 Lower disabled to sit - seat vacant
1647 John Moyle
December 1648 Buller excluded in Pride's Purge - seat vacant
1653 East Looe was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament
1654 Major John Blackmore In the First and Second Parliaments
of the Protectorate, one MP was elected jointly
for East Looe and West Looe
1656 John Buller[1]
January 1659 John Kendall
May 1659 Not represented in the restored Rump
1660 Henry Seymour Jonathan Trelawny
1661 Robert Atkyns
1673 Walter Langdon
1677 Charles Osborne
1679 Sir Jonathan Trelawny
1681 John Kendall
1685 Charles Trelawny Tory Sir William Trumbull Whig
1689 Henry Trelawny
1699 Sir Henry Seymour
1701 Francis Godolphin[2]
February 1702 George Courtenay
July 1702 Sir John Pole
1705 George Clarke
1708 Harry Trelawny
1710 Thomas Smith
1713 Sir Charles Hedges Tory Edward Jennings
1715 John Smith Whig Sir James Bateman
1718 Horatio Walpole [3]
1722 William Lowndes
January 1724 Viscount Malpas Whig
February 1724 Sir Henry Hoghton
1727 Charles Longueville Sir John Trelawny
1734 Edward Trelawny[4]
1735 Samuel Holden
1740 Henry Legge Whig
1741 Francis Gashry James Buller Tory
1747 John Buller [5]
1762 The Viscount Palmerston
1768 Richard Hussey
1770 Richard Leigh
1772 John Purling
1774 Sir Charles Whitworth
January 1775 Thomas Graves
June 1775 William Graves
1783 John James Hamilton Tory
1784 William Graves
May 1786 Alexander IrvineTory
September 1786 Richard Grosvenor Tory
1788 Viscount BelgraveTory
February 1790 The Earl of Carysfort Tory
June 1790 Robert WoodTory Hon. William Wellesley-Pole Tory
1795 Charles Arbuthnot Tory
1796 John BullerTory William Graves Tory
1798 Frederick William BullerTory
May 1799 John Smith Tory
July 1799 Sir John Mitford[6] Tory
February 1802 James Buller Tory
July 1802 Sir Edward BullerTory John Buller Tory
1807 David Vanderheyden Tory
1816 Thomas Potter MacqueenTory
1820 George Watson-Taylor Tory
March 1826 Lord Perceval Tory
June 1826 William Saunders Sebright LascellesTory James Drummond Buller-Elphinstone Tory
1829 Henry Thomas Hope[7]Tory
1830 Thomas Arthur Kemmis Tory
1832 Constituency abolished


  1. In 1659, Buller was also elected for Saltash. He chose to sit for East Looe.
  2. Godolphin was also elected for Helston, which he chose to represent, and never sat for East Looe
  3. Walpole was re-elected in 1722 but had also been elected for Great Yarmouth, which he chose to represent, and did not sit again for East Looe
  4. Trelawny was a Commissioner of Customs at the time of election, which made him ineligible, and his election was void
  5. "Buller, John (1721-86), of East Looe and Bake, Cornw.". historyofparliamentonline.org. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  6. Mitford was the Speaker of the House of Commons 1801-1802
  7. This person was Henry Thomas Hope who is described in ODNB by Mary S. Millar, ‘Hope, Henry Thomas (1808–1862)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 5 June 2008, not his father, of the same name.

See also


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