Henry Loftus, 1st Earl of Ely

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Henry Loftus, 1st Earl of Ely KP, PC (Ire) (18 November 1709 – 8 May 1783), styled The Honourable from 1751 to 1769 and known as Henry Loftus, 4th Viscount Loftus from 1769 to 1771, was an Anglo-Irish peer and politician.

He was the younger son of Nicholas Loftus, 1st Viscount Loftus and Anne Ponsonby, daughter of William Ponsonby, 1st Viscount Duncannon. His elder brother was Nicholas Hume-Loftus, 1st Earl of Ely of the first creation.

He served as High Sheriff of Wexford in 1744 and between 1747 and 1768 represented Bannow in the Irish House of Commons. Subsequently Loftus sat for Wexford County until 1769, when he succeeded his nephew Nicholas Hume-Loftus, 2nd Earl of Ely, as Viscount Loftus. Loftus was created Earl of Ely (second creaton) in 1771 and was appointed a Knight Founder of the Order of St Patrick on 11 March 1783.[1]

He married firstly in 1745 Frances Monroe, daughter of Henry Monroe of Roe's Hall, County Down. She was a leader of Dublin society who wielded some political influence, and was considered to be a much stronger character than her rather ineffectual husband, whom she dominated completely. She died in 1774.

There is a portrait of the couple, with Lady Ely's nieces, Dorothea (Dolly) and Frances Monroe, the daughters of her brother Henry, by the celebrated Swiss painter Angelica Kauffman, who visited Ireland in 1771. Dolly Monroe was considered to be one of the greatest beauties of the age, whose admirers included Henry Grattan and Oliver Goldsmith. She married the politician William Richardson, and died in 1793 sister Frances married Henry Read.

Henry married secondly Anne Bonfoy, daughter of Captain Henry Bonfoy and Anne Eliot, sister of Edward Craggs-Eliot, 1st Baron Eliot. He had no issue by either marriage and at his death his estates passed to his nephew Charles Loftus, 1st Marquess of Ely, the son of his sister Elizabeth and Sir John Tottenham, 1st Baronet. His widow died in 1821, having outlived her mother, who lived to be 97, by only 5 years.


  1. ^ Rayment, Leigh. "Knights of the Order of St Patrick". Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by
George Ogle
Nicholas Hume-Loftus
Member of Parliament for Bannow
Served alongside: Nicholas Hume-Loftus 1747–1761
Henry Mitchell 1761–1768
Succeeded by
Charles Tottenham
Robert Hellen
Preceded by
Arthur Gore, Viscount Sudeley
Vesey Colclough
Member of Parliament for Wexford County
Served alongside: Vesey Colclough
Succeeded by
Vesey Colclough
George Ogle
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Earl of Ely
Preceded by
Nicholas Hume-Loftus
Viscount Loftus