The knighthood temporal [as opposed to spiritual] is divided into three members. The first is knighthood of the sword: the second of the Bath: the third, and chiefest, is the knighthood of the Sovereign order, whereof the King or Sovereign is a companion.

– From The Blazon of Gentrie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p103

[W]ith the Romans, in those blisfull days, of senate government, the same order of knighthood (as we call it) was differenced from the estate of Gentlemen by wearing of
a chain of gold, as an insignia of their degree.

– From The Blazon of Gentrie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p102

[A]s nothing is more dishonorable and shameful to a Captain or general than the loss of his Banner, Standard, or Guydon, etc. so no service in field of greater worship,
and better worthy of reward, than to preserve the same from the hands and dishonor of the enemy.

– From The Blazon of Gentrie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p101

Now, as this was the beginning and original of [esquire], that is to say, due only to servitors in wars… in the days of peace, to the intent, men well deserving in the commonwealth, to the administration of public and worshipful offices, might be honored with some title above the estate of a simple gentleman.

– From The Blazon of Gentrie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p100

Christ was a Gentleman, as to his flesh, by the part of his mother: (as I have read) and might… have borne coat-armor.

– From The Blazon of Gentrie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p97

These dignities of regality we will reckon for twelve, whereof six inferior be noble, and the other princely: the six Noble be these: Gentleman, Esquire, Banneret, Knight, Baron or Lord, and Viscount. The six degrees of Regality which be Princely (because they may wear Crowns) be these, Earl, Marquis, Duke, Prince,
King, and Emperor.

– From The Blazon of Gentrie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p88