His son and heir, another Sir John, admiral of the king's navy in the north, was a banneret who displayed his banner in the army that laid siege to Calais.
The main divisions of the army were distributed under the royal and other principal standards, smaller divisions under the banners of some of the greater nobility or of knights banneret, and smaller divisions still under the pennons of knights or, as in distinction from knights banneret they came to be called, knights bachelors.
But the banner of the banneret always implied a more or less extensive command, while every knight was entitled to bear a pennon and every squire a pencel.
The bachelor and the banneret were both equally knights, only the one was of greater distinction and authority 3 Du Cange, Dissertation, xxi., and Lancelot du Lac, among other romances.
It was his function also to display and guard in battle the banner of the baron or banneret or the pennon of the knight he served, to raise him from the ground if he were unhorsed, to supply him with another or his own horse if his was disabled or killed, to receive and keep any prisoners he might take, to fight by his side if he was unequally matched, to rescue him if captured, to bear him to a place of safety if wounded, and to bury him honourably when dead.
In the form of their solemn inauguration too, as we have noticed, the spurs together with the sword were always employed as the leading and most characteristic ensigns of knighthood.5 With regard to knights banneret, various opinions have been entertained as to both the nature of their dignity and the qualifications they were required to possess for receiving it at different periods and in different countries.
Hence Du Cange divides the medieval nobility of France and Spain into three classes: first, barons or ricos hombres; secondly, chevaliers or caballeros; and thirdly, ecuyers or infanzons; and to the first, who with their several special titles constituted the greater nobility of either country, he limits the designation of banneret and the right of leading their followers to war under a banner, otherwise a " drapeau quarre " or square flag.
6 Selden shows especially from the parliament rolls that the term banneret has been occasionally employed in England as equivalent to baron.'
8 In Scotland, too, lords of parliament and bannerets were also called bannerents, banrents or baronets, and in England banneret was often corrupted to baronet.
But there is no doubt that as previously used it was merely a corrupt synonym for banneret, and not the name of any separate dignity.
4 The earliest contemporary mention of knights banneret is in France, Daniel says, in the reign of Philip Augustus, and in England, Selden says in the reign of Edward I.
Also that the two best descriptions we possess of the actual creation of a banneret have been transmitted to us.'
Created Sir John Smith a banneret after the battle of Edgehill in 1642 for having rescued the royal standard from the enemy.
° " Thursday, June 24th: His Majesty was pleased to confer the honour of knights banneret on the following flag officers and commanders under the royal standard, who kneeling kissed hands on the occasion: Admirals Pye and Sprye; Captains Knight, Bickerton and Vernon," Gentleman's Magazine (1773) xliii.
He fought also at Stoke against the insurgents with Lambert Simnel, was made a knight banneret, governor of Calais, and lord chamberlain.
Banneret, from banniere, banner, elliptical for seigneur or chevalier banneret, Med.
Selden, indeed, points out that "the old stories" often have baronetti for bannereti, and he points out that in France the title had become hereditary; but he himself is careful to say (p. 680) that banneret "hath no relation to this later title."
The title of knight banneret, with the right to display the private banner, came to be granted for distinguished service in the field.
"No knight banneret," says Selden, of the English custom, "can be created but in the field, and that, when either the king is present, or at least his royal standard is displayed.
The last authentic instance of the creation of a knight banneret was that of John Smith, created banneret at the battle of Edgehill by Charles I.