knight, usually a bachelier, who departs to seek adventure and thus earn renown and possibly riches so that he might settle, marry, and earn his living. In history most errants would pursue wars or tournaments as the chief methods by which they might earn renown; in the romances such knights would battle incredible beasts, rescue ladies, and defend princes and kings, who would often return their service with largesse, bestowing upon them lands and titles. The most celebrated historical errant would have to be William Marshal, who went from being a minor son with little inheritance to Earl of Pembroke. In legend there were many famous errants, including Tristan, Yvain, Lancelot; most of the famous Arthurian knights sought fame through errancy at one point or other. Within the Company of Saint George, the errant is an applicant to the company who is charged by the company to bring renown to themselves, the company, their consorts and their kingdom by great acts of chivalry.
Errant, or arrant, is a word at first used in its original meaning of wandering, as in "knight errant" thus an errant or itinerant preacher, an errant thief, one outlawed and wandering at large; the meaning easily passed to that of self-declared, notorious, and by the middle of the 16th century was confined, as an intensive adjective, to words of opprobrium and abuse, an errant coward meaning thus a self-declared, downright coward.