The Old English Gentleman is believed to have been built around the late 18th century, around 1775, although this would place it as one of the oldest inns in Somercotes. No documentary evidence is available to currently support this date however. The earliest mention found to date of the Old English Gentleman trading 1840.
Samuel Lycitt seems to have been the licencee for many years. In Reginald Johnson’s book “the History of Alfreton” he states that “…The late Mr Sam Lycitt, who had kept the “old English Gentleman” stated that he could hear the miners at work in “Rachel” from his beer cellar…”. Here Reginald Johnson is referring to the “Rachel” Colliery, situated on Birchwood Lane, which worked from 1870 to around 1875. In 1876, the Post Office Directory lists the proprietor as Samuel Lycitt, a brewer and beer retailer. Mr Lycitt is also mentioned as the proprietor in Kelly’s Directory of 1895.
In 1882, the inn held a meeting of colliers who worked for James Oakes & Co., and who were dissatisfied with working conditions. The inn seems to have held many such meetings over the years, probably boosting its turnover of beer considerably!
The Old English Gentleman was the home to an annual Vegetable Show which was run by the Somercotes Horticultural Society. It was certainly running by 1876, and the Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald in 1903 reported that “… the vegetable show held annually at the Old English Gentleman is the best in the area and well attended…”. The edition dated 20 September 1910 read “… The old established Somercotes Horticultural Society held its annual show on Saturday and maintained its reputation. The exhibition was held in a large marquee near the Old English Gentleman and the produce staged, particularly the vegetables, were of a most excellent character…”. This event seems to have lapsed in the 1920s, but was revived in 1932 and seems to have continued for several years.
The licensee in 2014 was Jacqui Wilbourne.