“Cromwell’s Spy”

Lord High Protector Oliver Cromwell

 Robert Gookin was born sometime around 1617-1618 probably in Bandon, He was the younger brother of Sir Vincent Gookin Jr. Robert enlisted in The Royal Army and was assigned to the regiment commanded by James Butler, The Duke of Ormonde as an "Ormonde Royalist" and rose to the rank of Colonel. During the time of Robert’s service two major events occurred around the same time,Rebellion against English Protestant rule broke out in Ireland in 1641, while a Civil War was taking place in England. When King Charles The First attempted to negotiate a peace with the Irish rebels with the aim of securing their assistance against the Parliamentary forces of Oliver Cromwell, Robert’s dislike of the Irish was so intense that he resigned his commission in disgust.Robert’s sympathies had probably laid with Parliament from the beginning of the war, for he shows up in Cromwell’s service not long after his resignation and attains the rank of Captain.Following the Parliamentary victory, The beheading of Charles the First, and Oliver Cromwell’s rise to power, Cromwell embarked on a Violent and Bloody campaign of Conquest in Ireland,Robert, along with Lieutenant Colonel William Piggot and Captain Saint John Brodrick and Colonel John Townsend were personally chosen by Cromwell to act as spies and pass intelligence out of Ireland. He played a major role in the defection of The Munster Forces and was actively involved in the surrender of the Town of Bandon in 1649.In 1652 he was commissioned by Parliament to fortify The Abbey at Roscarbery into a star shaped fort and constructed homes for English settlers for which he received compensation.

Following the suppression of the Rebellion Cromwell granted him a considerable about of land(around 5,000 acres) some of this land had belonged to Edmund Hodnett but was seized by Cromwell as punishment for The Hodnetts participation in The Rebellion.

Following The Stuart Restoration of 1660 he conveyed his properties to Edward Boyle, The Earl Of Onrrey and took out a 100 year lease in fee simple. He continued to be active in local politics serving on The Bandon Corporation and eventually retired to his Father’s estate at Courtmacsherry. He died sometime in either 1666 or 1667.