Sir Charles Coote, Earl of Mountrath

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Coote, Sir Charles, Earl of Mountrath, son of preceding, was born early in the 17th century. On 18th April 1644, we find him one of the Protestant deputation to Charles I. at Oxford, "asking," says Carte, "future graces of his Majesty . . that he would abate his quit rents for a time, to encourage and enable Protestants to replant the kingdom, and cause a good walled town to be built in every county of the kingdom for their security, no Papist being permitted to dwell therein; . . that the penal laws should continue in force, and be put in execution; . . that a competent Protestant army should be established in the kingdom," and other measures of a like tendency. Next year he was made President of Connaught, and zealously defended it for the Parliament, and held Derry bravely against the Ulster Scots, until the defeat of Ormond at Rathmines enabled it to be effectually relieved. On 23rd June 1650 he encountered and defeated, near Derry, the army of Bishop Heber MacMahon, a prelate whom we are told he afterwards caused "to be hanged with all the circumstances of contumely, reproach, and cruelty, which he could devise."

In November 1651 he joined Ireton, and occupied Clare. He next blockaded Galway, which surrendered in 1652; and in the same year repossessed himself of Ballyshannon, Donegal, Sligo, and Ballymote. In December 1652 he was appointed the first of the Commonwealth's Commissioners for the affairs of Ireland in Connaught. In 1659 he was made one of the Commissioners of Government, and about the same period entered into measures with Lord Broghill for the restoration of the King. In February, according to Clarendon, he sent a messenger over to the Marquis of Ormond, at Brussels, to "assure his Majesty of his affection and duty, and that if his Majesty would vouchsafe himself to come into Ireland, he was confident the whole kingdom would declare for him." He opposed Lord Broghill's suggestion that terms should be made with Charles before his restoration. After the Restoration, he was confirmed in his post of President of Connaught, was appointed Keeper of the Castle of Athlone, Governor of Galway, and was elevated to the peerage, 6th September 1660. as Earl of Mountrath. For a time he was Lord-Justice. The large estates he held before the war were augmented by further grants. He died 18th December 1661, and was buried in Christ Church, Dublin. Some cotemporary English rhymer, quoted by Prendergast, sounded his praise thus:

"Brave Sir Charles Coote
I honour; who in 's father's steps so trod
As to the rebels was the scourge or rod
Of the Almighty. He by good advice
Did kill the nitts that they might not grow lice."

The earldom became extinct in 1802, on the death of the 7th Earl.

Sources

52. Burke, Sir Bernard: Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited, and Extinct Peerages. London, 1866.

80. Clarendon, Earl of: History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars. 8 vols. Oxford,1826.

93. Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland: John P. Prendergast. London, 1870.

271. Ormond, Duke of, Life 1610-'88: Thomas A. Carte, M.A. 6 vols. Oxford, 1851.

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