Friday 24 May 2019

The Legend of Loftus Hall

'THE Legend of Loftus Hall' dates from 1766, when the house was occupied by the Tottenham family.

Lord Tottenham had married Anne Loftus some years earlier and the couple had two daughters - one called Elizabeth, and other also called Anne - but his wife became ill and died while those girls were still very young, and Tottenham took another wife to assist in the bringing up of his daughters.

At the time, many ships landed on the shores of the peninsula and it was customary for their occupants to take shelter from storms at the great Hall. It was during one such storm, after Tottenham's daugthers had grown into young women, that a ship pulled up unexpectedly at nearby Slade Harbour, and a stranger made his way to Loftus Hall, where he too was taken in. This time though, the storm continued for days and even weeks, and so the stranger continued to reside at the big house.

Lady Anne Tottenham found herself becoming close to the visitor during all this time, and they would spend many hours sitting and talking to each other in The Tapestry Room, before spending the nights playing cards with other members of the family and occasional visitors.

During one of these games, Lady Anne dropped a card, and leaned down to pick it up. She saw a cloven hoof, and began to scream. The stranger had been exposed as The Devil - he immediately disappeared through the roof in a ball of fire, leaving the family shocked in The Card Room, and Lady Anne in a trauma from which she would never recover.

It is said that the family grew embarrassed by her state, and locked her away in the same Tapestry Room where she had spent so much time with the stranger. There she remained until her death in 1775 - and it is from there that her ghost is reputed to have haunted the house and surrounds ever since.

Meanwhile, poltergeist-like activity was blamed on the spirit of the devil for the many years that followed. While an exorcism was carried out many years later by the local Fr Thomas Broaders, it is said it wasn't 100 per cent effective...and that the house is still haunted to this very day.

New Ross Standard