Esquire

The title of esquire or squire in Valyria is a rank of the equites or gentry class. An esquire ranks above a gentlemann in precedence, but below a knight or a baronet. Indeed, traditionally, an esquire was supposed to be the shieldbearer for a Valyrian knight, serving him as protégé; the old Valyrian title is “escutarius,” from “scuto,” for shield. Although all esquires are equivalent to each other in terms of social class, there is a distinction in how different esquires come by the title. Valyria recognizes the following origins for squire ranked armigers:

Esquires as premiere estate holders in settlements

By default, Chronicles of Elyria recognizes anyone who holds land (and possibly with a coat of arms) as gentry. Design journals refer to the largest holder of land in the settlement as “village elder” and then “mayor” or “magistrate” after a town is incorporated with a town charter.[1] In Valyria, the most influential “village elder” is the “squire” of the village, and is the one who runs the manorial court. Unlike the position or job of mayor, which is appointed or elected, the title of squire will pass to the eldest heir even if the family should lose its position as leader of the settlement.

In general, a difference between the knight and the esquire class is the nature of the settlements they lead, but this is not a hard and fast rule. Still, while it is possible for a knight to lead a hamlet or a village, it is much less likely for a squire to lead an outpost or a garrison.

Other landholders within settlements, referred to in design journals as “town councillors,” are classed by Valyria as gentlemenn, the same as any “bloodline” player.

Esquires as heirs apparent

The eldest children of knights and their eldest children in perpetual succession are granted the title of squire, as are the eldest children of barons before they ascend to the full baronial title. The eldest of the younger children of magnates are also given the title, as are their eldest in perpetual succession. Of course, the eldest children of unknighted squires are also squires, as mentioned in the previous section. Younger children of squires, knights, and barons are not heirs apparent, but heirs presumptive, and are thus all gentlemenn.

Esquires invested by letters patent

Esquire is a title that can be granted at any time by the King by means of creation through letters patent. Dukes and counts may also issue the title of esquire, but only to those estate holders who are the founders of settlements. Letters patent for squireship are far more commonly issued than knighthoods, which usually involve demonstration of combat skill.

Esquires selected by knights

In Valyrian Feudal Law, a knight is permitted to select one person for elevation to the position of squire every 15 Elyrian years (15 real life weeks), and may only have one so selected at a time.[2] This appointment can be made at the knight’s Accolade ceremony or any time thereafter.

Esquires as ranked in certain orders

Certain orders of chivalry in Valyria may have it so stated in their order charters that they may grant the title of esquire to certain of their novice members as a grade within their orders.

Esquires by virtue of their offices

It is traditional for the King to issue letters patent to those officers of the Crown who serve the public trust. These are typically Royal Sheriffs, Judges of King's Bench, Barristers, Royal Foresters, Equerries, Royal Heralds, and any commoner who manages to ascend to the military rank of Captain, usually in the Navy.

Disseized or dispossessed noblemenn of foreign lands

Substantive title holders of any rank (above gentlemann) who hail from foreign lands and seek to become subjects of the Crown of Valyria are often granted the title of squire as a courtesy.

 

Players who recognize the custom of squirage from Wessex or Hyperion will notice the numerous additions to the possible sources of the squire title. These changes are a response to the new dynastic system, which allows for a House and family name to be perpetuated. Since all family members of armigerous houses are classed as “bloodline” players in Elyria, there is now opportunity to further adopt customs of real world historical inheritance. Another reason for this expansion of the squire role is the further difference from other games in terms of population, which Elyria proposes to accomodate in its design. This mitigates the old “top heavy” concerns which caused former iterations of the Hyperion system to purposefully limit the number of squires.

In formal address, a herald should announce an esquire as “<Name>, Esquire“, and also directly as, “Mister <Name>.

References

  1. Caspian, DJ#18, Kingdom and Land Management, 18 May 2016
  2. Great Charter of Valyria, Section 7, Squirage