“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 served in The Royal Army as a Captain under Ormonde as an"Ormonde Royalist".During The English Civil War He became disgusted with King Charles The First’s attempts to broker a peace with The Irish Rebels in order to use them against The Parliamentary Forces,This led to him to giving up His commission in The Royal Army.Robert’s sympathies had probably laid with Parliament from the beginning of the war.During The Irish Rebellion that started in 1641 he earned the moniker "Cromwell’s Spy" because he, along with Colonel R.Townsend,Lieutenant-Colonel William Piggott and Captain St.John Brodreick were chosen as spies by Oliver Cromwell to pass intelligence out of Ireland. He played a key role in the defection of The Munster Forces in 1648 and was actively involved in the surrender of Bandon in 1649. He continued to be an instrumental part of The English Military build up in Ireland. In 1652 he reshaped the Abbey at Rosscarbery into a star shaped fort and constructed homes for English settlers. 

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.