Definition of Esquire and Gentleman

The legal definition is Herbert Brown and Edward Hadley, notes by William Wait, “Commentaries on the Laws of England”, I – 317. “Esquires and Gentleman are confounded together by Sir Edward Coke, who observes that every esquire is a gentleman and that a gentleman is defined to be one qui arma gerit, who bears coat armour, the grant of which was thought to add gentility to a man’s family. It is indeed a matter somewhat unsettled what constitutes the distinction, or who is a real esquire; for no estate, however large, per se confers this rank upon its owner.” These arms are heraldic arms, symbolic ones. These days they are conferred on persons of eminence. This is the Norman system, in the much more ancient British system there were: Rhaglaw (Lord); Uchelwyr (Nobles), Rhingyll (Freemen) and Maer (Slaves), and descent from the Princes conferred the rank of Uchelwr. In both systems the Morgan Aubrey Family and its Descendants all have the rank of Uchelwr or Gentleman or Gentlewoman, and have done for many centuries.

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