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The English Gentleman

805 of 1160 nominations

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The English Gentleman

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The English Gentleman

Being a true English gentleman is not, of course, simply a matter of behaviour. Anyone can learn how to pick the right colour of handkerchief or the correct way to address a bishop. To be worthy of the title of “gentleman”, you need to have been in training since birth.

Born to upper-class parents, brought up by the right kind of nanny, attending one of a small selection of schools, you next need to negotiate the minefield of Oxbridge colleges, private clubs and foreign travel. Your choice of hobby, choice of tipple, choice of dog, horse and wife (in that order) will all speak volumes about your suitability for the role. You need to cultivate impeccable manners, an implacable expression and a strong sense of fair play. You’ll have money but not mention it, be patriotic but not shout about it, and always be perfectly turned out but not vain about it.

Born in the 18th century and possibly reaching his apotheosis in the early 20th century, the English Gentleman now seems to be a dying breed. What do you think?

NOMINATION 805 OF 1160

Your comments

The English gentleman is noted for his reserve, his natural courtesy and also for his kindness and helpfulness to strangers

Roger Griffiths


The English gentleman does not have a concern with money, birth or power. He does not want to triumph or to win. He is certainly not interested in the "spots of commoness" so beloved of people who are trying to tell him that because he buys something he will be acting like a gentleman. He is classless and can choose to stop being a gentleman. In law perhaps he is someone who does not need to work (but nowadays that would apply to an awful lot of people). He is an ideal held up as a figure of fun by people wishing to promulgate their own ideals or justify their own pettiness and lack of feeling for people rather than countries or ideologies. A gentleman is concerned with people, courtesy and kindness but not qualities that arise from his sex, race, class or creed. Could he ever exist? Probably not, but some men do have some of the qualities of a gentleman. When we trust someone and our trust is shown to have been not misplaced, it is probably because we have met as near a gentleman as we can. But he is not a Saint.
Philip Johnson


It means only to have the finer things in life, but by only to achieve them through success by being the best at what you are, a gentleman.
carlos vazquez


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I nominate the red pillar box.

Donna Spencer

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