Have you ever wondered what the title of Esquire means and where it came from?

A Misused Title

(Transcribed from the Birmingham Iron Age April 16, 1874)

The title of Esquire (with us frequently abbreviated to Squire) originated in chivalric times, when sons of gentlemen, from the age of seven years, were brought up in the castles of superior lords—which was an inestimable advantage to the poorer nobility, who could not otherwise have given their children the accomplishments of their station. From seven to fourteen, these boys were called pages, or valets; at fourteen, they bore the name of esquire. They were instructed in the management of arms, in the art of horsemanship, in exercises of strength and activity, so as to fit them for tournament and battle, and the milder glories of chivalrous gallantry.

Tobacco label showing knights in battle with barbarians who are attacking them from all sides. 1887 (Library of Congress)

Long after the decline of chivalry the word was only used in a limited sense, for the sons and peers of knights, or such as obtained the title by creation or some other legal means. Blackstone defines esquire to be all who bear office of trust under the crown, and who are styled esquires by the king in their commissions and appointment; and bring once honored by the king with the title of esquire, they, and only they, have a right to that distinction for life.

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WHERE DO I START? Hints and Tips for Beginning Genealogists with On-line resources


By (author): Donna R Causey

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me

All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

She has authored numerous genealogy books.
RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE)
is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2)
is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series)
Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1)
is the continuation of the story. .

For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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