The name Coates is of ancient origin and was written in the earliest records as De Cote (meaning from the coast). It was a Norman name and the letter “a” was added to help in the correct pronunciation in English. The “A” occurs in the spelling as early as 1331, when in the fourth year of Edward III, William De Coates was Lord of Coles DeVille in Leicestershire, England, and again in 1347 John De Coates, with an “a” held lands in Lincoln, although the name was generally written Cotes until the seventeenth century.
There are landed proprietors bearing the name Coates in England, Wales and Ireland. The first Coates family arrived in Ireland in the early 1700s. Shortly after arriving in Ireland, the family bought land in Kildare around Donadea, Kilcock and Ovidstown from the Aylmer family, where they built their family Estate at Knockanally. They also had a house in Brighton, England.
Matthew Coates Esq. built the original Knockanally House, which was to stand for almost 200 years. This was built in the late 1700’s and he was the first of four generations of the Coates family to own Knockanally. He was known to locals as “Miner” Coates, a reference to mines he owned in Africa. His son William Coates Esq. built the present Knockanally House in 1843. He was the local magistrate in the area of Enfield. The estate remained the Ancestral home of the Coates family until 1942 when it was sold to the Irish Land Commission and re-destributed to Irish families. The House still remains today and is the Club House of the Knockanally Golf Course. Nowadays, the family is spread out over five counties, Dublin, Wicklow, Westmeath, Meath and Kildare.
The Coates family moved to Dublin in the 1885 and opened a piano factory. Joseph Jennings Coates from Eccleshill in Yorkshire, England, was a composer, pianist and piano tuner. His wife Jessie Coates was a professor of Music from Exeter in Devonshire, England. Since then the family have always had a very musical background. His son, Ernest and his wife Emily were also pianists and music teachers. Most of their children including Harold, Richard and Frederick became musicians, able to play, repair and tune many instruments. In time both Richards and Fredericks children followed in their footsteps, forming several bands that played all over England and Ireland.
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