LOFTUS, ADAM (c. 1533-1605), archbishop of Armagh and Dublin, and lord chancellor 9f Ireland, the son of a Yorkshire gentleman, was educated at Cambridge. He accompanied the earl of Sussex to Ireland as his chaplain in 1560, and three years later was consecrated archbishop of Armagh by Hugh Curwen, archbishop of Dublin. In 1565 Queen Elizabeth, to supplement the meagre income derivable from the archiepiscopal see owing to the disturbed state of the country, appointed Loftus temporarily to the deanery of St Patrick's; and in the same year he became president of the new commission for ecclesiastical causes. In 1567 he was translated to the archbishopric of Dublin, where the queen looked to him to carry out reforms in the Church. On several occasions he temporarily executed the functions of lord keeper, and in August 1581 he was appointed lord chancellor of Ireland. Loftus was constantly occupied in attempts to improve his financial position by obtaining additional preferment. He had been obliged to resign the deanery of St Patrick's in 1567, and twenty years later he quarrelled violently with Sir John Perrot, the lord deputy, over the proposal to appropriate the revenues of the cathedral to the foundation of a university. Loftus, however, favoured the project of founding a university in Dublin, though on lines different from Perrot's proposal, and it was largely through his influence that the corporation of Dublin granted the lands of the priory of All Hallows as a beginning of the endowment of Trinity College, of which he was named first provost in the charter creating the foundation in 1591. Loftus, who had an important share in the administration of Ireland under successive lords deputy, and whose zeal and efficiency were commended by James I. on his accession, died in Dublin on the 5th of April 1605. By his wife, Jane Purdon, he had twenty children.
His brother Robert was father of ADAM LOFTUS (c. 1568-1643), who became lord chancellor of Ireland in 1619, and in 1622 was created Viscount Loftus of Ely, King's county, in the peerage of Ireland. Lord Loftus came into violent conflict with the lord deputy, Viscount Falkland, in 1624; and at a later date his quarrel with Strafford was still more fierce. One of the articles in Strafford's impeachment was based on his dealings with Loftus. The title, which became extinct on the death of his grandson, the 3rd viscount, in 1725 (when the family estate of Monasterevan, re-named Moore Abbey, passed to his daughter's son Henry, 4th earl of Drogheda), was re-granted in 1756 to his cousin Nicholas Loftus, a lineal descendant of the archbishop. It again became extinct more than once afterwards, but was on each occasion revived in favour of a descendant through the female line; and it is now held by the marquis of Ely in conjunction with other family titles.
See Richard Mant, History of the Church of Ireland (2 vols., London, 1840); J. R. O'Flanagan, Lives of the Lord Chancellors of Ireland (2 vols., London, 1870); John D'Alton, Memoirs of the Archbishops, of Dublin (Dublin, 1838); Henry Cotton, Fasti Ecclesiae Hibernicae (5 vols., Dublin, 1848-1878); William Monck Mason, History and Antiquities of the College and Cathedral Church of St Patrick, near Dublin (Dublin, 1819); G. E. C., Complete Peerage vol. iii.. sub. " Ely " (London, 1890).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)