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Loftus Hall, the house itself was originally built during the Black Death. You can already see where this story is going.
The bubonic plague started out in Eastern Europe, sweeping all before it until reaching Ireland in 1348, just as the Redmond’s decided to build a new house on Hook Peninsula. The high mortality rates in the towns of cities from the plague would go some way to explaining the barren and isolated location of their new residence out on the peninsula; way down the South East coast of Ireland.
Redmond Hall, as it was known until 1666, saw serious action in the Eleven Years War in Ireland (1641-1653). Starting in Ulster with Catholics attacking the Protestant colonists, a political and religious rising quickly spread south through Ireland with the rebel Confederate Catholics of Ireland force. The Eleven Years War also coincided with the English Civil War (1642–1651). This pitted the Parliamentarians against the Royalists (of King Charles I) in which Oliver Cromwell and the Parliamentarians ultimately won; both in England and Ireland.
Back in County Wexford, Alexander Redmond, in his late sixties was the main man about the house at the time. The Redmond’s where an Irish political dynasty with Alexander becoming sympathetic to the rebel cause, giving lodgings and provisions when he could. This was a brave for a number of reasons, not least of which there was an English garrison only 8km up the coast at Duncannon….that could actually see the house. Having enough of this out right cheekiness, Captain Thomas Aston loaded 90 men and some cannons into boats for the short hop down the coast in 1642 to confront the Lord of the Manor.
Alexander could be accused of many things. Bravery could be one. A quitter wouldn’t be another. The garrison captain after landing, strode to the front door alone, demanding to be let me inside in the name of the King.
“What say ye?”
Alexander sat by the fire, letting the captain wait a few minutes, finished his scotch, patted the dog on the head before shuffling to the front door and slowly leaning to the letterbox, beckoning the captain to come closer with one bony finger. The captain suspiciously approached and tentatively placed his ear to the letterbox.
Alexander Redmond whispered he could come in if he left his men and guns outside. Before the captain could react Alexander stuck two wet fingers in his ear before running off cackling back to the fire.
His bottom lip trembling, the captain ran back to the top of the beach head and signalled his men to bring the cannons.
It was late afternoon at this point and the boys on the beach had no intention of hauling cannons up and down soft sand to get old man Redmond away from his fire place. Half of the men had already scuttled off to raid some nearby farms anyway.
Instead they set the cannons up on the beach to set off a few warning shots before unleashing everything they had. Within minutes the cannons where booming, firing time and time again. Men cowered and covered their ears along the beach.
The smoke cleared to a deafening silence broken only by the faintest cackling laughter. The captain looked over the beach head as the smoke dissipated. Not only did he see the house rematerialize but our man Redmond was standing at his front door laughing holding a cannon ball no less. From the beach the range of the cannons was too short and the volley of balls only spluttered across the lawn and bounced off the front door eventually rolling to an insipid stop. For all the bluster the damage amounted to some paint chipping and little round indents in the door.
The major was livid. Trembling livid. He ordered his men to attack all out. A deep fog was coming in from the sea and he needed a swift resolution. Redmond nipped back inside.
Meanwhile back at the ranch. A ranch with guns. Lots of guns. Rebels camped at Shielbaggan (See Map at bottom of page) got wind that the Redmond’s where in trouble. This armed group arrived just as the attack started and the sea fog enveloped the house.
Suddenly the English garrison found the house and trees seemed to be shooting back. Chaos reigned and only one third of the garrison made their escape. The captain wasn’t amongst them.
To wind up this chapter, the Cromwellions won the war. This was bad news for Redmond and his ancestral home. The grounds and house where awarded to Nicholas Loftus (a family of English planters who arrived in the area around 1590) and it became the principle resistence for the family in 1666. Some date.
Fast forward 100 years. Charles Tottenham, Irish Member of Parliament and his family were taking an extended holiday at the now called Loftus Hall in 1766. One stormy night, through a thick sea fog, a boat silently beached on the shore below the hall. A tall dark figure approached the house and stood at the front door running his finger through the curious curved intents.
The butler heard a light tapping and opened the door to driving rain only blocked by a tall silhouette. The stranger introducing himself as a dear friend of the Loftus family and charmed his way to the guest bedroom. He was clearly of good stock and Tottenham’s daughter, Anne, was quite taken by the handsome visitor, as was her father. Dreams of being swept off by sea to exotic lands filled every thought. The daughter’s thoughts, not the fathers.
He stayed and engaged the family for a few days, took long walks with Anne promising the sun, the moon and the stars. One night the stranger suggested a game of cards. 5 card stud Poker no less. Our stranger still had card counting and especially card shuffling issues dating back to his Hellfire Club guest appearance. Anne noticed in one hand that she was missing a card. Presuming she dropped it, she bent to look under the table.
A cloven hoof was where the stranger’s foot should have been. Boom! His seat became a furnace which exploded into a deafening cylindrical column of fire soaring through the roof leaving family Tottenham staring aghast.
Charles Tottenham forbade his family from ever speaking of what happened. Anne went into shock and mumbled and ranted about the mysterious stranger and how he would return for her. To avoid controversy she was locked in her favourite room, the Tapestry Room and hidden from guests. The family decided to stay until her recovery.
Anne spent 9 solitary years in that room. She sat by the window hugging her legs as she rocked back and forth for comfort. Always scanning the shore line for her strangers return.
She died in 1775. Buried in her rocking position as her trained joints could not be straightened.
To this day she sits by the window gazing for the return of our cloven footed friend. But the sneaky Devil has been back..only just to torment the poor girl. He released poltergeists into the empty halls. Doors bang in the dead of night, furniture moves, locked windows are discovered open whilst disturbing smells come and go mysteriously as they appear.
So many things went bump in the night that the protestant (remember Cromwell gifted the property) Loftus’s (now back) hired catholic priest Father Thomas Broaders to perform an exorcism. He failed. The only solution was to demolish the building and rebuild it in 1871. Yea, like that was going to work!
To this day the Anne Tottenham still waits for the return of her stranger. Many claim to have seen Anne in the upper floor windows gazing out to sea. Male visitors have reported feeling icy finders lightly caressing their necks while they stand taking in the current tour. More men complain about not feeling icy fingers caressing their necks while they stand taking in the current tours.
Although the house was rebuilt. The point in to roof the stranger blasted through has never sat right. To this day the (very) keen eye will see the cursed spot.
So there you have it. Loftus hall. Limited tours operate during the summer of this abandoned haunted house, see: Loftus hall. It’s simply considered too isolated, lonely and just damn right scary to visit during the winter.