Coote, Charles (1712/13–1796), clergyman and philanthropist, was third son among six sons and one daughter of the Rev. Chidley Coote, DD, of Ash Hill, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, and Jane Coote (née Evans). He was taught by Dr McDonnell of Cashel before entering TCD as a pensioner on 9 March 1730, aged 17. His early ecclesiastical career is obscure and he is often mistaken for his kinsman and namesake, the Rev. Charles Coote (d. 1780). In about 1740 he was appointed vicar of Kilfieragh in the diocese of Killaloe; then dean of Kilfenora from 13 October 1758 and precentor of Christ Church cathedral, Dublin, from 1772 until his death in 1796. From c.1760 he acted as an agent for the Coote estate in Queen's Co. (Laois) and his deanery in the west of Ireland appears to have been little more than a sinecure. Most of his career was spent at Shaen Castle in Queen's Co. and at his house in St Stephen's Green, Dublin. He exploited his close familial links with the absentee earl of Mountrath and became a key political figure in Queen's Co. He was commissioned as a JP in the county in 1758 and was elected burgomaster of the borough of Maryborough on 29 September 1760. During the 1761 election he illegally packed the corporation with tenants and kinsmen from the Mountrath area in order to get his brother Eyre Coote (qv) (1726–83), who was serving in India at the time, elected as MP. On 15 December 1761 Eyre Coote's election was declared invalid and a rival candidate took his seat in the house. Charles was ultimately successful at advancing the family interest in the county: he established joint control of Maryborough, for which his eldest son Charles Henry Coote (1754–1823) was MP (1783–97); Charles Henry was also MP for Queen's Co. (1776–83, 1797–1802) and his younger brother Eyre Coote (qv) (1759–1823), was MP for Ballynakill (1790–97), Maryborough (1797–1800), and Queen's Co. (1802–6). Prior to the act of union the Cootes and the Parnells were the two principal interests in the county, and the £15,000 paid in compensation for the loss of the borough of Maryborough was divided between the two families.
Coote was celebrated for his public spirit: he provided £10,000 to help establish an Irish cotton industry; deposited a capital sum at Maryborough and Mountrath to make interest-free loans to industrious tradesmen, and in 1776 subscribed towards the building of a workhouse in Maryborough for ‘the relief of the poor and punishing vagabonds and sturdy beggars’. He had a keen interest in the classics and in history. The antiquary Edward Ledwich (qv) dedicated his work Antiquities of Ireland (1790) to him, and he was awarded the degrees of BD and DD from Dublin University in summer 1772.
He married first (31 July 1753) Grace (d. 1767), daughter of Thomas Tilson and widow of Thomas Cuffe; they had two sons and one daughter. He married secondly (1770) Catherine, daughter of Benjamin Bathurst of Lydney, Gloucestershire. His eldest son, Charles Henry, was created 2nd Baron Castle Coote in 1802 by special patent following the death of the last earl of Mountrath. His younger son Eyre followed the footsteps of his famous uncle and namesake Eyre Coote and became a distinguished soldier. Charles Coote died on 12 February 1796 at his Dublin town house in St Stephen's Green. He was buried at St Peter's church, Dublin. His portrait (artist unknown) was known to exist c.1900 at West Park House, Hampshire and was reproduced in de Vlieger.