Loftus family vault was located “within the rails of the alter on
the right hand of the Earl of Cork’s monument " in the Choir
on the south side of the steps to the Altar”. The monument no longer
exists and indeed much has been destroyed or removed over the years
to the extent that the Loftus remains may well have been moved during
the extensive Cathedral renovations in the 19th Century (Lee, 1893).
These renovations were funded and supervised by the Guinness family
having themselves descended from Archbishops of Dublin. Lord Iveagh
was a strong advocate who worked tirelessly to preserve the memory
of the Loftus family and others, and is unlikely to have sanctioned
the breaking up of the tomb. Records of what precisely did happen,
however, are scarce. All that remains today to denote the existence
of the vault at all, just to the right of the Altar high up on the
wall, is a boar's head “erect and erased”; the Loftus family crest
(right). To the unexpected eye straining through the dark, this is
a curiosity unrecognisable as a boar’s head that must denote some
distant but lost event in the Cathedral's long and fascinating past.
The facts are more real and intimate than that.
(Abp.) Adam Loftus prepared the Loftus family vault in St. Patrick’s
Cathedral which he believed represented the fount of his life’s work.
You can imagine that he may have wanted to share eternity side by
side with his beloved wife and the family who were tangibly so important
to him, and indeed five generations of his family shared that dream
and joined him there. Their lives were to become the ancestry of
dynasties with their moments of honour and disgrace that invigorate
all family tales. The names of the Great, like the Duke of Wellington,
and lesser known like O’Connor, Pemberton, Johnson, Prestridge, Webb,
Worsop and White, are all equally descended from Adam Loftus, as are
many of those who still bear his name. This is the story of one family’s
brief journey through Ireland, where brother fought brother in a spiral
of events that have shaped modern Ireland.
are the men and women history left behind.A
family tree has been created to
show the relationships between those believed to be entombed
in the family vault: a full family tree(html)
or (PDF) can be examined
elsewhere. The bottom of the page shows
a biographical list of each of those believed to be at rest in the
family vault in the order in which they were interred. To condense
anyone’s life into a single paragraph is a travesty, the more so when
there is a wealth of factual information available to give breath
to the characters, opinions and influences of those singular lives.
This is the stuff of History: the biographies presented here offer
only glimpses of the lives of real people, whose dry bones were once