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Loftus Hall

Co. Wexford

Documenting our Heritage

Charles Tottenham, Baron Loftus, had been married to the Honourable Anne Loftus, daughter of the first Viscount Loftus. Anne Loftus however died in 1768 and in 1770, Tottenham married his cousin Jane Cliffe.


Tottenham lived in the house with his second wife, Jane, and his daughter from his first marriage, Anne. During a storm, a ship unexpectedly arrived at the Hook Peninsula and when a young man called at the Loftus mansion he was welcomed in. The young man stayed several days and became close friends to Tottenham’s daughter, Anne. Indeed it was said the entire household became intoxicated with the young man’s charm.


One evening the party sat round a table to play a game of cards. Although it was not the custom for a lady to play cards, Anne insisted and joined the table. When she dropped a card on the floor, and leant down to pick it up, her glance strayed and she noticed the young man had a hoof in place of a foot. She screamed, and as the party discovered their guest was in fact the devil in disguise, the young man showed his true form and then disappeared through the ceiling in a puff of smoke, leaving a vile sulphuric stench and a large hole in the plaster work behind him.


Legend relates that the hole in the ceiling could never be properly repaired and can still be seen today. This is of course a myth as the entire house was demolished in 1870, when the new Loftus hall was built.


Anne fell deeply in shock, she refused food and drink and became bed bound in the Tapestry room. Her health and mental state deteriorated. Becoming an embarrassment to her family, she was hidden away, locked in the room for days on end. Around this time the house became infested with a particularly virulent poltergeist. A number of Protestant clergymen apparently tried and failed to put a stop to this. The family, who were themselves Protestants, eventually called on Father Thomas Broaders, a Catholic priest who was a tenant on their estate, to exorcise the house.


In spite of fierce opposition from at least one hostile spirit, Father Broaders managed to rid the house of its evil forces. The success of Broaders led to many concessions being made to local Catholics whose religion, at that time, was still technically illegal.


Father Broaders' gravestone can still be seen today. It is popularly, but incorrectly, believed to contain the inscription "Here lies the body of Thomas Broaders, who did good and prayed for all, and who banished the devil from Loftus Hall".


In the 1940s the door to the Tottenham mausoleum was vandalised and Anne’s strangely shaped coffin was discovered. The coffin's unnatural shape was apparently, due to the fact that before her death, Anne’s bones had become fused into a strange distorted form.


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