Coote, Richard (1636–1701), 1st earl of Bellomont , Williamite politician and governor of New York, was only son of Richard Coote (created Lord Coote of Collooney, 1660) and Mary, daughter of Sir George St George of Carrickdrumruske, Co. Leitrim, and sister of Sir Oliver St George. His uncle was Sir Charles Coote (qv) (c.1609–1661), 1st earl of Mountrath. An enthusiastic Williamite, attainted by the 1689 Jacobite parliament, he was appointed treasurer and receiver-general to Queen Mary (November 1689) and governor of Co. Leitrim, and created earl of Bellomont in the Irish peerage at the same time. He was also given a grant of 77,000 acres of forfeitures. He had good political connections in England, being a cousin of Robert Harley, and his marriage into a prominent Worcestershire family explains his sitting as MP for Droitwich in the English commons (1689–95). In the early 1690s he became heavily involved in the faction-fighting within the Irish administration and parliament. He used his membership of the English commons to agitate against mismanagement and corruption in the Irish administration of the lords justices Sir Charles Porter (qv) and Thomas Coningsby (qv). As a result, he was removed from his post as treasurer. In June 1693 he and another prominent opponent of the administration, James Hamilton of Tullymore, presented a petition to the queen and English privy council to stop a pardon for Porter and Coningsby for any ‘crimes’ allegedly committed by them. When this failed, Bellomont took the matter to the English commons, introducing articles of impeachment against Porter and Coningsby which alleged abuses of power and favouritism towards catholics. Porter defended himself vigorously before the house and the attempted impeachment failed, as did a later attempt to impeach Porter in the Irish commons in 1695. This seems to have ended Bellomont's active Irish career. Aged 59 and with his whig friends back in power in England, he was appointed governor of Massachusetts (1695) and New York (1697) with a mission to stamp out piracy. To this end, he induced the prominent whigs Shrewsbury, Somers, Orford, Romney and others to advance £6,000 for an anti-piracy campaign to be led by Capt. William Kidd. Unfortunately, Kidd turned out to be a pirate himself, and a considerable political scandal ensued. Despite this, Bellomont gained a reputation for political probity in New York, where he died 5 March 1701. Bellomont married (19 August 1680) Catherine, daughter of Bridges Nanfan of Birtsmorton, Worcs. She was aged 15 at the time. Two sons, Nanfan (c.1681–1708) and Richard (d. 1766), succeeded him in the earldom.
DNB; G.E.C., Peerage; HMC, Portland MSS; CSPD, 1695and app