Equites in the kingdom of Valyria are members of the gentry social class. The word is Old Valyrian and is cognate with equestrian, signifying that in ancient times, members of this class were considered to be “horse rank”, a status of importance in a warrior aristocracy. An eques, therefore, was originally intended to be some form of knight, either accomplished or in training. Because the equestrian warrior aristocrats were given fiefs of land in order to support themselves in their role of mounted combatant, the gentry class also became associated with feudal tenure. Since the holding of these fiefs of land is hereditary, the inheritors often no longer even have a tie to or the training and profession of knighthood. The custom in Valyria is not at all extinguished, however, and settlements of a military character, if they are small enough, are still very likely to be led by some form of titled gentleman warrior.
Chronicles of Elyria considers anyone who owns land to be gentry.  Land can be purchased from a count at a land management table or acquired through marriage or IP purchase. At the time of this writing, it is not known whether the purchase of land automatically comes with a coat of arms, but Valyria considers possession of the coat of arms as being necessary to be counted among the gentry. In the event that a coat of arms does not automatically come with land ownership, Valyria will use this criterion to differentiate between whether a player is counted as a gentlemann or a franklin.
In addition to the knight, the Kingdom of Valyria recognizes squires as knights in training and the most basic title for a leader of a settlement. Bookending the gentle spectrum, baronets are knights whose title is completely hereditary, and gentlemann is not a substantive title at all, but is the designation for anyone who is a member of a gentle or noble family.