The Ghosts of Loftus Hall

We came across an interesting old house near Hook Head Lighthouse in Co. Wexford.   There is a long history associated with Loftus Hall.   This mansion was built in 1870, over the remains of another mansion, Redmond Hall, which had been the residence of the Redmond family since the 14th century.    In 1870, the Loftus family demolished the old Redmond Hall, and built the present Loftus Hall.   One of it’s main  features was a magnificent oak staircase, designed and built by Italian craftsmen.

The house is said to have been haunted by the devil and a young girl.    The story goes, according to Wikipedia,  that

Charles Tottenham and his family came to mind the mansion in 1766 while the Loftus family were away on business. Charles Tottenham, his wife and daughter, Anne, were all taking care of the mansion.

Charles came for a long stay in the house with his second wife, and his daughter Anne from his first marriage. During a storm, a ship unexpectedly arrived at the Hook Peninsula, which was not far from the mansion. A young man was welcomed into the mansion. Anne and the young man became very close. One night, the family and mysterious man were in the Card room playing cards. In the game, each player received 5 cards apart from Anne who was only dealt 4 by the mystery man. A butler serving the Tottenham family at the table was just about to question the man when Anne bent down to pick another card from the floor which she must have dropped. It is said that when Anne bent over to pick up the card, she looked beneath the table to see that the mysterious man had a cloven foot.

It was then that Anne stood up and said to the man you have a cloven foot and the man went up through the roof, leaving behind a large hole in the ceiling.Soon Anne became mentally ill. It is believed that the family were ashamed of Anne and locked her away in her favourite room where she would be happy yet out of everyone’s view which was known as the Tapestry Room. She refused food and drink and sat with her knees under her chin looking out the Tapestry Room window across the sea to where Dunmore East is today waiting for her mysterious stranger to return until she died in the Tapestry Room in 1775. It is said that when she died, they could not straighten her body as her muscles had seized and she was buried in the same sitting position in which she had died.

A rumour states that the hole could never be properly repaired, and it is alleged that even to this day, there is still a certain part of the ceiling which is slightly different from the rest. This, of course, is a myth, since the present house was built more than a century after the events described above. Meanwhile it was believed that the stranger with the cloven hoof returned to the house and caused persistent poltergeist activity. 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 also a tenant on the Loftus Hall estate) to exorcise the house.

The apparent success of Father Broaders’ exorcism did not end the ghostly visitations at Loftus Hall. The ghost of a young woman, presumed to be Anne Tottenham, was reported to have made frequent appearances in the old Hall, especially in the Tapestry Room, until the building was finally demolished in 1871.

Although the present Loftus Hall is an entirely new building, interest in the ghost story has remained strong and many aspects of the story seem to have attached themselves to the newer house. Also mentioned in a documentary about the mansion many years later after the last owners had gone had said that there were reports from staff that had previously worked at the mansion, that they have seen Anne’s ghost walk down the stairs, and that horses can be heard around the building.

The house has changed hands a few times in the past century, and had fallen into disrepair, but in the past few years the ground floor has been re-opened to the public, and there are guided tours of the house, including  ‘ghost’ tours on Saturday nights.    There is also a cafe, and an outdoor adventure centre is planned this year.
It looks like it was once a magnificent building, and it would be great if some kind (millionaire) benefactor could take over the Hall and restore it to its former glory!   Any takers?

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Livonne
    Apr 15, 2014 @ 21:27:03

    I wish I had the money. What a beautiful old building



  2. peter
    Apr 16, 2014 @ 09:32:31

    so many ghost stories in Ireland the graveyards must be empty, and all tell such sad stories



  3. Roy McCarthy
    Apr 16, 2014 @ 12:26:19

    Woooh, brilliant! I love a good ghost story and they abound in Ireland. Thanks for telling us this one Joan.



  4. Ruth2Day
    Apr 16, 2014 @ 16:25:55

    it’s got a wuthering heights feel about it, I can just imagine a lady running, chased by a lover, or a brute!



  5. Trackback: By Hook or By Crook | Retirement and beyond

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