The original Rifle Volunteer was situated on Birchwood Lane. It is named after the Derbyshire Rifle Volunteer Corps, which was raised in 1869 following a request by the Duke of Devonshire. This tavern was probably opened in the years following 1869, but it is recorded in the Post Office Directory of 1876, when a Mr. John Bingham was the landlord.
By 1881, the landlord of the Rifle Volunteer had changed to Mr. George Moore, as listed in Kelly's Directory for that year.
The Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald of 3 October 1891 has the following news item:
BY MESSRS W. WATSON & SON
SOMERCOTES AND SWANWICK NEAR ALFRETON, DERBYSHIRE
VALUABLE OLD LICENCED INN AND OTHER PROPERTY TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION BY MESSRS W. WATSON & SON AT THE GEORGE HOTEL, ALFRETON
MONDAY THE 20th DAY OF JULY 1891
IN SOMERCOTES - LOT 4
All that old-established fully licenced Inn known as the “Rifle Volunteer” situate in Birchwood Lane, Somercotes, with large soft water cistern, Brewhouse, Stable, Cart Shed and other outbuildings adjoining, in the occupation of Mr. Thomas Gibson. Also all that well built COTTAGE adjoining in the occupation of George Gibson.
The “Rifle Volunteer” is situate in the centre of the Mining District of East Derbyshire being within a mile of Riddings Ironworks and within that distance of collieries belonging to Messrs. Seely & Co., Messrs Oakes & Co., Buttereley Co., and the Pinxton Coal Co. It is well established and doing a good business, and is sold subject to a lease thereof granted to Messrs. William & Arthur W. Hickling of Nottingham for a term of 7 years which will terminate on 25th March 1894.
A couple of years later Mr Thomas Gibson was still the landlord of the Inn, He was recorded as joining the Alfreton & District Branch of the Licenced Victualler's Association. This was reported in an edition of the Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald dated 10 June 1893.
The same newspaper in October 1896, reports that Thomas Gibson had presented plans for alterations to the premises. There appeared to be no objections. Unfortunately it is not recorded what the plans entailed.
In 1912, Kelly's Directory records the landlord of the Rifle Volunteer as Joseph Henry Naylor.
At some point in the mid-1900s the site of the Rifle Volunteer was re-developed and the Inn was demolished, although we do not have the exact date.
A list of some of the landlords recorded in Trade Directories and other documents: