Day 29: Get scared to death at the Loftus Hall 26/10/2018

On the Hook Peninsula, in the middle of fields and isolated, you can see big creepy house: the Loftus Hall. The Houseland Castle was built in 1170 and replaced by the Hall in 1350, at this time it was the Redmond Hall. The Hall was sold to the Loftus family in 1650s. In 1917 it was bought by the Benedictine Order of nuns, then it became a school for the Sisters of Providence, then it was bought to become a Hotel and finally it is the Quigley Family, which renovated it in 2011 for the grand opening to the public.  

Since his construction, the Hall had seen thousands of people living in and thousands of different stories. However, the story that create the Loftus Hall legend took place in 1766. In this period of time, the Hall belong to the Tottenham family and was a sanctuary for sea travellers during storms. One night of 1766, the storm was so strong that boats couldn’t go to sea. A visitor came to the door of the Hall and was invited to stay during the storm, which last during weeks. Anne, one of the daughters of the Hall’s owner, became more and more close of this visitor. They spent long hours in the Tapestry Room and playing cards with the family and other visitors. During one of these cards play, Anne threw a card on the floor and when she came to take it back she saw the visitor’s cloven hoof. She screamed and the visitors, later said to be the Devil, disappeared in a ball of fire by the roof. Lady Anne was traumatised and completely mad, so her family she locked her into this Tapestry Room to hide her from people’s view. she stayed there until her death in 1775 and it is said that she haunts this room and the Hall.  

This is the legend of Loftus Hall, it seems fantastic and coming from a book. Nevertheless, there are different explanations to what happened there. Maybe the Loftus Hall was waiting for the visit of Queen Victoria and they just wanted to keep “undesirables” at distance. However, this story doesn’t explain why Anne was locked in the Tapestry Room because one thing is sure: thanks to reports we know for sure that Anne had been locked in this room until the end of her life.  

It is said that other stories had been a complete fabrication to “protect” the Tottenham family from disgrace and shame. But why did they need protection? Different alternative stories are plausible. Anne and the visitor could have fall in love and the visitor asked her hand to her father, who refused it. The visitor had to leave the Hall, abandoning Anne and her heartbreak.  

But this story has another problem, during one of the renovations of the castle, a very young baby was found in the wall of the Tapestry Room... It leads to another plausible story which says that Anne fall pregnant with the visitor. Her father discovered it and locked her in the room to be sure people would never know she had a child out of marriage. It is also said she died while she was giving birth to her child because her father didn’t want anyone to know about the pregnancy, not even the doctor.  

What’s adding mysteries to Anne’s life and death is that her grave is cemented over... What does this grave contain, which dark secret the Tottenham family could have been hide in Lady Anne’s grave?  

What is sure is that she is not the only ghost to haunt Loftus Hall, the Devil had lived there for weeks! There was even an exorcism of the Hall but it wasn’t 100 per cent effective.   

By Mathilde