Richard Coates
(1763-1822)

Died aged c. 59

Richard Coates (born 16 April 1949, in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, and educated at Wintringham School) is an English linguist. He is professor of linguistics (alternatively professor of onomastics) at the University of the West of England, Bristol. From 1977 to 2006 he taught at the University of Sussex, where he served as professor of linguistics (1991–2006) and as Dean of the School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences (1998–2003). From 1980–9 he was assistant secretary and then secretary of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain. He has been honorary director of the Survey of English Place-Names since 2003, having previously (1997–2002) served as president of the English Place-Name Society which conducts the Survey. From 2002 to 2008, he was secretary of the International Council of Onomastic Sciences, a body devoted to the promotion of the study of names, and elected as one of its two vice-presidents from 2011–14 and 2014-17. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1992 and of the Royal Society of Arts in 2001. His main academic interests are proper names (both from the historical and the theoretical perspective), historical linguistics in general, the philology of the Germanic, Romance and Celtic languages, regional variation in language, and local history. He is editor of the Survey of English Place-Names for Hampshire and principal investigator of the AHRC-funded project Family Names of the United Kingdom (FaNUK), running from 2010–14, of which Patrick Hanks is lead researcher. He has written books on the names of the Channel Islands, the local place-names of St Kilda, Hampshire and Sussex, the dialect of Sussex, and, with Andrew Breeze, on Celtic place-names in England, as well as about 400 academic articles, notes, and collections on related topics. For example, in 1998, he introduced a new etymology of the name London, deriving it from the pre-Celtic Old European *(p)lowonidā, meaning 'boat river' or 'swim river', i.e. 'river too wide or deep to ford', and suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London; from this, the settlement gained the Celtic form of its name, *Lowonidonjon, by suffixation. His main contribution to linguistic theory is The Pragmatic Theory of Properhood, set out in a number of articles since 2000. He is also the author of Word Structure, a students' introduction to linguistic morphology (Routledge), and of online resources on Shakespeare's character-names and on the place-names of Hayling Island.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

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Richard Coates 1763-1822 Resident Engineer for the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation built a coal and timber wharf on this site in 1797.

Wharf Road, Chelmsford, United Kingdom where they built a coal and timber wharf