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Marino House, Cobh
During the Rebellion of 1641 James Ronayne found most of his estates confiscated, on the grounds that he had ‘failed to show constant good affection to the Parliament of England’. Through the friendship of the Earl of Inchiquin, however, he managed to retain the area of land which now contains Marino House.
James Ronayne’s descendant, Philip Ronayne was the author of ‘A Treatise of Algebra, in Two Books’ which was published in 1738.
Philip was said to have practised black magic, the art of which apparently brought about the wreck of a ship which was passing the Marino channel on its way to Cork harbour. Philip’s ghost is said to still keep watch over the Mario estate.
Philip Ronayne died 23 April 1755, at the age of 72, and was succeeded by his eldest son, J. Thomas Ronayne. Thomas leased the 354 acres of the Marino estate to Mr Savage French, Esquire, of the City of Cork at an annual rent of £381.
Later, Marino House became home to Pascoe Stuart. Pascoe inherited the estate from his uncle Thomas French, a descendant of the aforementioned Savage French. As a condition to his inheritance Pascoe Stuart assumed the additional surname French in 1917.
The 1911 Census records the nineteen rooms of Marino House as being occupied by: Pascoe William Gampell Stuart, age 42; his wife, Elizabeth Julia Stuart, age 42; daughter Margaret Grantille Stuart, age 14; and son Robert Hamiton Stuart, age 7. At the time of the census the Stuarts had one visitor: Emma Fancourt, age 40. The Stuarts had a staff of five servants: Florence Weks, age 28; Mary Murphy, age 38; Ellen Power, age 57; Norah Cleary, age 24; and Annie Connery, age 24.
Pascoe Stuart had been educated in England and started on a stage career singing soprano solos at the oratorios which were a feature at Crystal Palace in the 1880s. He was also an actor and performed alongside Sir Charles Wyndham in the play ‘David Garrick’.
A scene from the play ‘David Garrick’
Pascoe was also a keen cricketer, and played for Cork County in the annual matches at The Mardyke. After he abandoned his stage career, he was, briefly Secretary to the Governor of the Windward Islands, and then from 1896 to 1902, was ADC to the Governor of Queensland. His daughter is recorded on the 1911 census as being born in Australia.
In 1902, Pascoe returned to County Cork and became a much wanted regular in the Cork County Cricket side, he achieved a century (100 runs) in 1913 against the Na Shuler side. Pascoe went on to captain the Munster inter-provincial XI cricket side in 1931, when he was 62.
He died on 5 February 1954 at Marino House, aged 85 years.
In later years the Marino estate became an industrial area and Marino House was used as offices and a research unit.
Industry later abandoned the Marino estate and now the house is left silently waiting….