Friday, April 17, 2015

Ireland’s Loftus Hall

This large manor house sits on a remote section of Hook peninsula in County Wexford. Its original name was Redmond Hall named after Sir Alexander Redmond who had it built in 1350. The hall remained in his family for several generations.
Loftus Hall
The Loftus family, who were English planters from the area bought the hall in 1650 and renamed it Loftus Hall. They like the Redmond family owned the manor house for several generations.

In 1870, the original hall was torn down and a new one was built on its foundations.

During the time the Loftus family owned the hall rumors were spread that the manor was haunted by the devil himself and the ghost of a young woman.

One of Ireland’s most enduring and notorious legends was born--guaranteeing Loftus the reputation of being one of Ireland’s most haunted.

When the Loftus family went on an extended business trip in 1766 they brought in Charles Tottenham, his wife and young daughter to be caretakers of the hall.

The Tottenham family settled in for a long stay.

Hook Lighthouse
Near Loftus Hall is Hook “Head” Lighthouse. This lighthouse is one of the oldest in the world. It is said this spot is the graveyard for a thousand ships.

One ship that anchored along this shore during a violent storm delivered a mysterious young man to Loftus. He and Anne quickly became close. But their friendship was not to last.

One night as the Tottenham family played cards with this young stranger the manor’s butler noticed he dealt Anne’s parents three cards each but only gave two to Anne. As he started to point this out, Anne bent to the floor to retrieve a card she evidently dropped.

While below the table she was shocked to see the young man had cloven feet. She stood up, screamed and accused him of being a demon. He then rose up in a puff of smoke and crashed through the roof, leaving a large hole.

Even though this hole has been repaired many times it is stated that the damage to this spot can still be seen.

After her discovery, Anne went mad. Her parents now ashamed had her locked in Loftus’ Tapestry Room away from prying eyes.

Anne often refused food and water. She sat for hours gazing out a window with her knees tucked tightly under her chin. In one version of this story it is said she watched and waited for the mysterious young man to return.

When Anne died in 1775 they could not straighten out her body because her muscles had seized so she was buried in a sitting position.

After her death rumors spread that this mysterious man returned to Loftus Hall. He is blamed for the poltergeist activity that occurred in the manor for years afterward.

A Catholic priest by the name of Father Thomas Broaders * was brought in to exorcise Loftus. It appears he succeeded with the devil but not with the young woman’s ghost.

Over the years, many witnesses have spotted a ghost they feel is Anne Tottenham--this is believed even though the original hall was torn down. She is often seen walking down one large oak staircase in the present day hall.

In 2011, a group stated they saw Anne’s ghost while on a tour of the hall.

After the Loftus family sold the property it was renovated in anticipation of a visit by Queen Victoria --she cancelled her trip.

In 1917, it was bought by the Sisters of Providence and used as a convent and girl’s school. In the early 1980s it was used as a hotel but by the 1990s it was abandoned.

A private owner bought the property after this but the manor remains unused.

* Father Thomas Broaders is buried in Horetown Cemetery and his epitaph reads:

“Here lies the body of Thomas Broaders, who did good and prayed for all, and who banished the devil from Loftus Hall.”

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