Are through December’s gloomy regions led;
The church-yard tale of sheeted ghost is told,
While fix’d attention dares not turn its head.
Or if the tale of ghost, or pigmy sprite,
Is stripp’d by theme more cheerful of its power,
The song employs the early dim of night,
Till village-curfew counts a later hour.
from ‘Content’ by Thomas Gent
lluded to within what I sincerely hope is the diverting prose that constitutes our article on The Red Devil is the entrance to Coffee Yard, named for accommodating York’s original coffeehouse in the 17th century. The area subsequently became home to the business owned by printer and publisher Thomas Gent and, if the reader will indulge our desire for continuity of theme, we hereby present enlightenment as to the particulars of this most notable historical inhabitant.
Born in Ireland in 1693, Gent is oft described as eccentric, although in truth the man’s only eccentric element appears to be the rather charmingly naive woodcuts he produced for his various publications. Although apprenticed as a printer in Dublin in his youth the unfortunate nature of an initiation rite for a printer by the name of Mears in Blackfriars, London seems to have created a temporary antipathy toward the industry and he left to become a labourer. 
Patently recovering his wits, Gent moved to York shortly after and took up employment with John White, no less a gentleman than the King’s printer for York. During this period he became acquainted with Continue Reading