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An Esquire is a specific designation of the Imperial Gentry that typically designates one who is a personal attendant or retainer of a Knight or an Imperial Noble, or who has been granted an Imperial grant of land, or "Seigneury" as a "Lord of the Manor", or who has been granted social recognition at such a level of status as an award for achievement or heroism.

Description / Specifications[edit]

In Imperial usage, the distinction of Esquire falls within the upper levels of the rank of Imperial Gentleman, but below the lowest bachelor Knighthood, and includes recipients of the Medal for Conspicuous Gallantry and the Starburst for Extreme Heroism.[1] While not specifically a noble rank, standing between the Gentry and the Nobility, the Esquire may move more freely among the Knights and Nobles of the Imperium, while insulating them from the needs and greed of the common people. While Esquires are not members of the peerage (and thus are not subject to their protocols), some Esquires are considered to be associate members of an Order of Knighthood as a junior (non-knightly) member.

The rank and title of Esquire is similar to a brevet appointment, in that it confers no special privileges, authority, or awards upon the recipient (male or female), other than what is required by duty in service to a particular Knight or Noble. The title may be bestowed by a "Letter of Patent" by a High Noble (i.e. Duke, Archduke, or Emperor), or by an ad hoc "Letter of Appreciation" signed by a lower level Noble (Baron thru Count). Imperial Nobility also recognizes the ad hoc "patent" of Esquire that knighthood confers upon an Imperial Knight's spouse, offspring, and personal assistant, whether male or female. The bestowal entitles the individual to use the suffix for Esquire ('Esq.') after one's name.

Unfortunately, some wealthy individuals who are not nobles of any kind will assume the title as an expression of vanity. While not specifically prohibited by Imperial law, assuming the title of 'Esquire' in this way is likely to draw contempt from official esquires, knights and nobility.

History & Background / Dossier[edit]

The words Esquire and Squire originated on Old Terra, and are derived from old Terran words (French "Escuier", from Latin "Scutarius") that meant "Shield-bearer", and originally referred to an apprentice or assistant to a Warrior-Knight, or to the eldest son of such. The title of Esquire (or Squire) was originally held by any male who attended to the personal needs of a Knight or a Nobleman, and later to a non-Knight who held land as a Lord of the Manor associated with a village. Commissioned officers of a Sovereign's armed forces holding the rank of at least Captain were also granted Letters of Patent as Esquires. The title eventually came to be granted to practitioners of the Legal Arts (lawyers and judges), Craftsmen of Journeyman rank, and Physicians (especially surgeons), as well.

References & Contributors / Sources[edit]

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  1. An unpublished factoid written by Marc W. Miller in documentation accompanying Traveller5 MCG-Card Award