The bizarre conspiracy theory regarding the title "esquire"

Originally published at: The bizarre conspiracy theory regarding the title "esquire" | Boing Boing


This sounds like more of that sovereign citizen woo.


In the UK, according to Debrett’s at least, “esquire” is what you put on the envelope for any man who doesn’t have any other honorific. E.g., if you’re writing to plain old Mr John Smith, then you address the envelope to “John Smith, Esq.”

I can’t remember ever seeing it in the wild, though I’ve done it myself for giggles.


I guess Bill Preston (of “Bill and Ted” fame) is barred from political office.

TIL that the flag-fringe Admiralty-court “theory” is (amazingly) not the most moronic one pushed by those mouth-breathers.

  1. “Esquire” is a title of nobility. 3) “Esquire” also refers to lawyers.

Utter bollocks. It is no more a title of nobility than Mr.
Though in the very dim and distant past it may have had some noble connotation and when the US constitution was being drafted they were closer to that dim and distant past.

@SheiffFatman correctly references Debrett’s in terms of today’s usage.


There’s another one, now embraced by QAnon followers, based on a misunderstanding of the word corporation.


Brings a whole new meaning to all those “unincorporated” towns you see around, doesn’t it? Well, doesn’t it?? DOESN’T IT???

(hee hee)


I’m pretty sure it’s part of the SovCit nonsense, yeah.


as a homeless teen i passed a lot of time in libraries exploring (pre-google) rabbit holes of internet esoterica and being fed bizarre ideas (received with age-appropriate skepticism) from generally psychotic shelter-mates. and, while i might compare my fascination with orgone energy to a clever child’s suspension of disbelief regarding santa claus, i never did go full-blown conspiracy-theorist. however, even being not entirely ignorant of the u.s. constitution, i’m embarrassed to admit that i spent most of my adult life believing that this titles of nobility thing was doctrine, albeit obsolete.


I prefer to address myself as “euansmith Hustler” or “Escort” or “Big Wobbly Wet Ones” or some other Top Shelf Magazine.


Exactly! I live in one of those, and incorporated means more than just “forming a corporation for purposes of shielding executives from criminal activity.” Wait, did I say criminal? I meant profit grifting. Wait, did I say grifting? I meant giving them the right to rip off and sicken consumers without ramification. Wait…


I think I’ve similar ones on the left in the UK based on the fact that the government of the City of London is called the City of London Corporation (the old term Corporation of London is still used).

And of course Germany’s sovcit equivalent, the Reichsbürger, believe that the prewar German Reich still exists and the modern German state is an illegitimate corporation under the control of the allies- the so-called BRD GmbH.


Just thinking how crazy it was when Paul Bremer wanted to be the “Viceroy” of Iraq.

Things were just nutty in those days. :roll_eyes:


It’s like a game of mental billiards played on a table with no holes…


Funnily enough they got it the wrong way around.

Esquire originally was the title of a person training to be knight, when knights were still the martial elite of European feudal society. Even then ff that boy (…) had an inherited title you used that or you would get an armoured fist in your face.

In time it became the title of any person of noble blood but with no land like a barony or other title to their name (yet).

Later it also became the title of the landed gentry, that is land-owning non-noble persons. Nowadays you can use it for a formal address of any person with no other title. Seriously titled persons see esquire as just one step above “Oy! You!”

What all these cases have in common is that the people you call an (es)quire have no other title or you would use that!


I remember a fellow in my high school social studies class introduced himself with that vague honorific Esq. He claimed, when queried by the teacher, that it is due to being able to directly trace lineage to those who came to North America on the Mayflower. The teacher I believe took this at face value.
* this took place in Canada and we don’t mythologize the settlement of America nearly as much and the learning about the US-centric history was short and factual.




Tain’t so, t’aint so. Debrett’s may not recognise anybody below the rank of esquire, but they, like many others, are misled. As the original article points out, Esquire is an honorific conferred upon Barristers and Solicitors (or, in the USA, “lawyers”). Otherwise you might be an Esquire, but this role confers certain obligations as well as rights. You have to wait upon your Knight, and provide men-at-arms for him. In actual fact, since armies are organised upon different lines these days, the office has fallen into disuse. EXCEPT FOR THOSE AT LAW! The reason, I suspect, that “Esquire” has become a commonplace, is that legal offices train good secretarial staff. Staff of this quality is in demand, and the habits they learn they transfer elsewhere. Since they are in the habit of addressing correspondence “Esq.” they continue it. The result is, everybody starts calling each other “Esquire” and the significance is lost. The bank I used to bank with (before they failed to notify me of my drift into debit, under circumstances which caused me no little aggravation) used to address me as Esq. I wrote to tell them that I had no pretence to the title, and to please desist. My current bank is more sensible (in each respect). My brother-in-law (ha!) is a barrister and he is, legitimately, an Esquire. I am not.



In my experience, the attorneys with Esquire displayed most prominently on their stationary and business cards are generally below average in capability.