One who carried the escu or shield of a knight. (Latin, scutiger, a shield-bearer.) Copy of a letter from C. H. ATHILL, ESQ., “Richmond Herald ”:
“Herald's College, E.C., January 26th 1893.”
“The following persons are legally `Esquires': -”
“The sons of peers, the sons of baronets, the sons of knights, the eldest sons of the younger sons of peers, and their eldest sons in perpetuity, the eldest son of the eldest son of a knight, and his eldest son in perpetuity, the kings of arms, the heralds of arms, officers of the Army or Navy of the rank of captain and upwards, sheriffs of counties for life, J.P.'s of counties whilst in commission, serjeants-at-law, Queen's counsel, serjeants-at-arms, Companions of the Orders of Knighthood, certain principal officers in the Queen's household, deputy lieutenants, commissioners of the Court of Bankruptcy, masters of the Supreme Court, those whom the Queen, in any commission or warrant, styles esquire, and any person who, in virtue of his office, takes precedence of esquires.”
Add to these, graduates of the universities not in holy orders.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894