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Legends & Folklore Of Looe

Our cottages are located in the picturesque coastal town of Looe, its rich maritime history and cultural heritage have attached to it various tales of vast legends and folklore. This blog will cover some of these thrilling tales associated with Looe. 

The Legend of the Giant’s Hedge

One of the most captivating tales in Looe’s folklore, The Legend of the Giant’s Hedge is rich with mythical imagery and steeped in local history. According to the legend, the hedge was constructed by a giant who lived in the area. This immense structure was said to stretch from Lerryn to Looe, a distance of approximately twelve miles, creating a formidable barrier that divided the land.

The Origins of the Hedge

The story begins with two giants who inhabited the region. These giants were brothers, but despite their familial bond, they had a bitter rivalry. Their constant bickering over territory led to escalating tensions. 

To put an end to their disputes, they decided to divide the land between them. The task of creating a boundary fell to one of the giants, who, with his enormous strength, built the hedge in a single night.

The Construction Feat

The construction of the hedge was no small feat. It involved uprooting massive trees and placing them in a line to form a dense, impenetrable barrier. 

The giant’s superhuman strength allowed him to carry out this monumental task quickly. According to the legend, he pulled up trees by their roots and set them down in a continuous line, creating a living wall that stretched across the landscape.

The Hedge’s Legacy

The Giant’s Hedge became a significant landmark, not just physically but also culturally. It symbolised the power and influence of the giants in Cornish mythology. Over the centuries, the hedge blended into the natural environment, becoming part of the region’s unique geography. 

While much of it has disappeared over time, remnants of this ancient boundary can still be traced in parts of the landscape, where it appears as an overgrown hedge or a line of unusually placed trees.

The Moral of the Story

Like many legends, the tale of the Giant’s Hedge carries a moral lesson. It speaks to the futility of conflict and the lengths to which individuals will go to resolve their differences. The giants’ decision to build a hedge to divide their land reflects a desire for peace and harmony, even if achieved through extraordinary means.

The Hedge in Modern Times

Today, the story of the Giant’s Hedge continues to be a popular tale among locals and visitors alike. It is often recounted during festivals and community gatherings, keeping the legend alive. The hedge itself, though largely lost to history, remains a point of interest for those exploring the area’s folklore and natural beauty.

The Legend of the Giant’s Hedge is a testament to the rich storytelling tradition of Looe and the surrounding areas. It captures the imagination with its depiction of giants and their legendary feats, while also offering a glimpse into the cultural heritage of Cornwall.

The Mermaid of Looe

An enchanting and enduring legend in folklore, this tale captures the imagination with its blend of maritime tradition and mystical allure.

The Mermaid’s Appearance

According to the legend, the mermaid was an extraordinarily beautiful creature, with a shimmering tail and long, flowing hair. She would often be seen sitting on the rocks near Looe, combing her hair and singing with a voice so mesmerising that it could be heard across the waves. Her appearance was rare and always fleeting, adding to the air of mystery that surrounded her.

Encounters with Fishermen

Local fishermen and sailors were the ones most often to claim sightings of the mermaid. She was believed to bring good luck to those who spotted her, a sign of a bountiful catch or safe passage through treacherous waters. However, her presence was also a harbinger of change, sometimes warning of impending storms or other dangers at sea. Her dual nature—both a blessing and a warning—made her a revered figure among the seafaring community.

The Mermaid’s Song

The mermaid’s song was another central element of the legend. Described as hauntingly beautiful, her melodies could enchant listeners, drawing them closer to the sea. Some stories tell of sailors who, entranced by her singing, would steer their ships toward her, only to find themselves perilously close to the rocks. Despite this danger, the mermaid’s song was considered a rare and precious experience, one that could uplift the soul and inspire awe.

A Love Story

One version of the legend involves a tragic love story. A young fisherman fell in love with the mermaid, captivated by her beauty and song. He would spend hours by the shore, hoping for a glimpse of her. Eventually, the mermaid fell in love with him too, and they would meet at twilight. However, their love was doomed by their different worlds. One stormy night, the fisherman went out to sea and never returned, believed to have been claimed by the ocean while trying to reach his beloved. The mermaid, heartbroken, was said to have disappeared, never to be seen again, but her mournful song could still be heard on quiet nights.

The Mermaid’s Legacy

The legend of the Mermaid of Looe continues to be a cherished part of local culture. It is often retold at community events and has inspired various artistic expressions, from paintings and sculptures to songs and poems. The mermaid has become a symbol of the town, representing the deep connection between the people of Looe and the sea.

Modern Interpretations

In modern times, the Mermaid of Looe has also become a figure of curiosity and intrigue for tourists. Many come to Looe hoping to hear the fabled mermaid’s song or catch a glimpse of her spectral form. The legend is an integral part of the town’s identity, blending history with myth and contributing to the unique charm of this coastal community.

The Mermaid of Looe is a captivating tale that weaves together themes of beauty, mystery, love, and the enduring bond between the people of Looe and the sea. It remains a powerful story that enriches the cultural tapestry of the town and continues to enchant both locals and visitors alike.

The Looe Island Monks

The legend of the Looe Island Monks is a fascinating and mysterious tale that adds to the rich tapestry of Looe’s folklore. Looe Island, also known as St. George’s Island, lies just off the coast of the town and is the setting for this intriguing story.

The Monastic Settlement

According to legend, Looe Island was once the site of a small monastic community. These monks chose the island for its seclusion, seeking a life of contemplation and prayer away from the mainland. The island’s isolation made it an ideal location for their spiritual pursuits. The monks built a modest chapel and other necessary structures to support their lifestyle.

Daily Life on the Island

The monks led a simple life, dedicated to religious devotion and the cultivation of the island’s land. They grew their food, tended to livestock, and fished in the surrounding waters. Their days were marked by a strict routine of prayer, work, and meditation. The island was a place of peace and tranquillity, a contrast to the bustling life of the nearby port town.

The Buried Treasure

One of the most captivating aspects of the legend is the story of the monks’ buried treasure. As the legend goes, the monks gathered a significant amount of wealth over the years, possibly from donations, fishing, and trading. Fearing pirate attacks and raids, they decided to bury their treasure on the island to keep it safe. The exact location of this hidden fortune was known only to the monks, and it was said to be marked by a series of cryptic clues.

The Disappearance of the Monks

At some point, the monks mysteriously vanished from Looe Island. The reasons for their disappearance remain unclear, adding to the legend’s allure. Some say they were forced to flee due to Viking raids or other threats, while others believe they may have succumbed to illness or simply moved on to another location. Whatever the cause, they left behind the buried treasure, which has never been found despite numerous searches by treasure hunters over the centuries.

Ghostly Apparitions

In addition to the buried treasure, Looe Island is also said to be haunted by the spirits of the monks. Visitors and locals alike have reported seeing ghostly figures in monk’s robes wandering the island, especially at dusk or during misty weather. These apparitions are often accompanied by an eerie sense of peace as if the monks are still watching over their sacred ground.

Modern Legacy

Today, Looe Island is a nature reserve, known for its rich biodiversity and beautiful landscapes. The legend of the monks adds a layer of historical and mystical intrigue to the island, attracting tourists and folklore enthusiasts. The tale of the monks and their hidden treasure continues to be a topic of fascination, inspiring books, tours, and local storytelling events.

Cultural Impact

The story of the Looe Island Monks is deeply embedded in the cultural heritage of Looe. It reflects the town’s long history of maritime activity, religious devotion, and the ever-present allure of mystery and adventure. The legend serves as a reminder of the enduring power of storytelling and its ability to connect past and present, fact and fiction.

In essence, the legend of the Looe Island Monks is a captivating narrative that enriches the folklore of Looe. It combines elements of history, mystery, and the supernatural, creating a story that continues to enchant and intrigue both locals and visitors to this day.

The Looe Dragon

Adding some mythical adventure to the folklore of this Cornish town, the Looe Dragon is a captivating tale. Though not as widely known as some other legends from the region, it remains an intriguing part of Looe’s cultural heritage.

The Dragon’s Terror

According to the legend, many years ago, a fearsome dragon made its lair in the hills near Looe. This dragon was a massive creature with scales as hard as armour, eyes that glowed like embers, and breath that could set the forest ablaze. The dragon terrorised the local population, attacking livestock, destroying crops, and instilling fear in the hearts of the townspeople. Its presence cast a shadow over Looe, making travel and trade dangerous.

The Call for a Hero

Desperate and unable to cope with the dragon’s devastation, the people of Looe sent out a call for a hero who could slay the beast. Many brave knights and warriors attempted to confront the dragon, but all met a tragic end, either consumed by the dragon’s fiery breath or crushed beneath its powerful tail. The dragon seemed invincible, and hope began to wane among the townsfolk.

The Brave Knight

The turning point in the legend came with the arrival of a brave and noble knight. This knight, whose name has been lost to time, was renowned for his courage and skill in battle. He was said to have received a vision from a saint or a mystical guide who provided him with a magical sword and shield, enchanted to protect against the dragon’s fire and pierce its tough scales.

The Battle

Armed with these mystical weapons, the knight set out to confront the dragon. The battle between the knight and the dragon was epic, lasting for hours. The knight used his enchanted shield to deflect the dragon’s fiery breath and his sword to strike at the beast’s vulnerable spots. Finally, with a decisive blow to the heart, the knight defeated the dragon, freeing Looe from its reign of terror.

The Dragon’s Lair

After the dragon was slain, the townspeople discovered its lair, a cavern filled with the treasures the dragon had amassed over the years. Gold, jewels, and precious artefacts were found, believed to be the spoils of the dragon’s attacks on merchant ships and nearby villages. This treasure was said to have been used to rebuild and enrich the town, leading to a period of prosperity.


In honour of the brave knight and the victory over the dragon, the townspeople erected a monument. This monument, though no longer standing, was said to have depicted the knight in battle with the dragon, serving as a reminder of the courage and resilience of the people of Looe. Some say that fragments of this monument can still be found in the area, though their authenticity is often debated.

The Dragon’s Legacy

The legend of the Looe Dragon has left a lasting impact on the cultural heritage of the town. It is often recounted during local festivals and celebrations, where the bravery of the knight and the dramatic battle are vividly brought to life through storytelling, plays, and reenactments. The dragon has also become a symbol of the town’s enduring spirit, representing the triumph of good over evil.

The Looe Dragon is a rich and thrilling part of Looe’s folklore. It tells a timeless story of heroism, danger, and the triumph of bravery over fear, enhancing the town’s cultural narrative and continuing to captivate the imaginations of all who hear it.

Looe’s legends and folklore provide a fascinating look into the rich culture of this charming Cornish town. Stories like the mysterious Giant’s Hedge, the enchanting Mermaid of Looe, the spectral Monks of Looe Island, and the fearsome Looe Dragon add depth and intrigue to the town’s history. These tales not only entertain but also reflect the values, fears, and hopes of the people who have lived in Looe over the centuries. 

Come and visit the town for yourself and share these stories with friends as you stroll along the shores. Unwind after a busy day of exploring in one of our luxury cottages.

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