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In period, esquire is a poetical alternative to squire.

Later, in England, as the lesser ranks of nobility and honour (knights and below) sank into disuse, the term was used to delineate an area of the middle-class who were thought "honourable", without being noble-born. Thus lawyers, bankers and the like, having no professional tag such as those born by doctors, surgeons, parsons and so on, were termed "esquires".

Esquires and the SCA

The Thirteenth Amendment of the US consitution (1810) prohibits American citizens from accepting any title of nobility or honour and debars any such from holding any office. It particularly targetted "esquire", treating it as a covert patronage handed down from the "upper" classes. This amendment, ratified by 12 states prior to the War of 1812 and Virginia in 1891, was later ruled by judges not to have been properly ratified and was never included in the US constitution. It is not known how many of the judges and lawyers involved held the honorific of "esquire".

Wisely the SCA has avoided the issue by not using the term. Others may be less fastidious ...

-- by their fruits ye shall know them