Adam Loftus

Life
?1533-1605, b. Yorkshire; ed. Cambridge and Puritan in religion but nevertheless favoured by Elizabeth I; reached Ireland as Chaplain to Viceroy, 1560; appt. archbishop of Armagh and Dublin, 1563 [var. 1561]; Dean of St. Patrick’s, 1565; Lord High Keeper of Great Seal, 1573; lord chancellor, 1581-1605 [var. 1578]; lord chief justice 1582-84, 1597-79, and 1600; assisted foundation of TCD, determining its location at All Hallows; first provost, 1590; had the Loftus Cup made from the Great Seal of Ireland, which he melted-down; succeeded in TCD by his nephew and namesake; resided at St. Sepulchre’s, Dublin, Tallagh, and Termonfeckin, Co. Louth; rebuilt Rathfarnham Castle as his home; renowned for torture of Archbishop Dermot O’Hurley, 1584; d. 5 April 1605, aetat. 71; and elder br. Robert followed Adam to Ireland. ODNB

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Criticism
Pat Comerford, “An Irishman's Diary”, in The Irish Times ( 2 April 2005) [celebrating the 400th anniversary; infra].

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Commentary
Daniel O’Connell, Memoir of Ireland (1844), quotes from Ormond’s Letters (II, p.350): ‘Sir William Parson hath by late letters advised [239] that the Governor to the burning of corn and to put man, woman and child to the sword; and Sir Adam Loftus hath written in the same strain.’ (Memoir, p.239-40.)

W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; 1984), writes that Loftus arbitrated the choice of old or new Latin grammars for use in Dublin in 1587, as reported in Ware, MS.

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Roy Foster, Modern Ireland (London: Allen Lane 1988), p.54, bio-data: Adam Loftus, c.1568-1643, cousin of the other, Irish Chancellor, 1619; Lord Justice, 1622; virtual ruler of Ireland, overshadowing the Viceroy, Falkland.

Pat Comerford, “An Irishman’s Diary“, inThe Irish Times (2 April 2005): ‘Loftus was talented but zealous and his life in Ireland was marked by intrigue and controversy. He was Archbishop of Armagh, Archbishop of Dublin, Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, the principal figure in the foundation of Trinity College Dublin and, as Lord Chancellor of Ireland, was effectively the Prime Minister or Taoiseach of the day. Loftus could be ruthless when faced by his enemies: he had no hesitation in having men, women and children put to the sword, and he was responsible for torturing the saintly Archbishop Dermot O’Hurley in 1584.’ [Contains dates of appointment somewhat at variance with ODNB, supra; for full text, see infra.]

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References
Dictionary of National Biography
, b. Yorkshire; archbishop of Armagh and Dublin; ed. Cambridge, rector in Norfolk; chaplain to Essex, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, May 1560; after several offices, raised to See of Armagh, 1561; there is an extensive contemp. literature of controversy surrounding his consecration in 1563, which was delayed by the fact of Armagh lying in the possession of Shane O’Neill; house and lands at Termonfeckin, Drogheda; got Deanery of St. Patrick’s, 1565; his lands attacked at Tallaght in 1573; lord justice with Sir Henry Wallop in 1582; ‘Loftus has been much blamed by Catholic writers for his inhumanity in the torturing O’Hurley [Cath. archbishop of Cashel who was an inquisitor]’; charge of avarice brought against him in Elrington’s Life of Ussher rests on slight foundations. (Full ODNB article by “D. B.”)

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Notes
Kith & Kin: Adam Loftus (?1568-1643), first cousin of foregoing, first Viscount Loftus of Ely, 1622; prependary of St Patrick’s, 1592; and Lord Chancellor of Ireland, 1619. &c.; also Dudley Loftus (1619-1695), ggd. son of Adam (1533); ed. TCD and Oxon.; MP for Naas, Kildare, and Wicklow, Bannow, Fethard; deputy judge-advocate; comm. of revenue; judge of admiralty; supplied the Ethiopian version of the New Testament in Walton’s Polyglott Bible (1657) and published several translations from Armenian and Greek, 1657-95.

Vide Robert E. Matheson, Varieties and Synonymes of Surnames and Christian Names in Ireland, for the Guidance of Registration and the Public in Searching the Indexes of Births, Deathes, and Marriages (Dublin: His Majesty's Stationary Office 1901): The names “Loughnane” and “Loftus” are found to be used interchangeably. These are probably anglicised forms of the Irish name “O'Lachtnain”. (Available at Forgotten Books - online.)

Maynooth: An inventory of the Castle of Maynooth, Lord Kildare’s chief seat, was taken by Adam Loftus, the Lord Chancellor and Archb. of Dublin, and Sir Edward Fitton, Treasurer at War, in 1578 [Bodleian Lib. Carte MSS 55, f.666]. (Cited in Ann Cruikshank and the Knight of Glin, Irish Portraits 1600-1860 [Catalogue], 1969), p.11.)

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