The earliest example which has been discovered at the present time of the use of a quartered coat of arms is afforded by the seal of Joanna of Ponthieu, second wife of Ferdinand III., King of Castile and Leon, in 1272. This seal bears on its reverse in a vesica the triple-towered castles of Castile, and the rampant lion of Leon, repeated as in the modern quarterings of Spain. There is, however, no separation of the quarters by a line of partition. This peculiarity will be also noticed as existing in the quartered coats of Hainault a quarter of a century later. The quartered coat of Castile and Leon remains upon the monument in Westminster Abbey erected in memory of Eleanor of Castile, who died in 1290, the first wife of Edward I.
Providing the wife be an heiress—and for the remainder of this chapter, which deals only with quarterings, this will be assumed—the son of a marriage after the death of his mother quarters her arms with those of his father, that is, he divides his shield into four quarters, and places the arms of his father in the first and fourth quarters, and the arms of his mother in the second and third. That is the root, basis, and original rule of all the rules of quartering, but it may be here remarked, that no man is entitled to quarter the arms of his mother whilst she is alive, inasmuch as she is alive to represent herself and her family, and her issue cannot assume the representation whilst she is alive.
- Fig. 755.—Arms of Thomas Stanley, Earl of Derby (d. 1572); Quarterly, 1. quarterly, i. and iiii., argent, on a bend azure, three bucks' heads caboshed or (Stanley); ii. and iii., or, on a chief indented azure, three bezants (Lathom); 2 and 3, gules, three legs in armour conjoined at the thigh and flexed at the knee proper, garnished and spurred or (for the Lordship of Man); 4. quarterly, i. and iiii., gules, two lions passant in pale argent (for Strange); ii. and iii., argent, a fess and a canton gules (for Wydeville). The arms on the escutcheon of pretence are not those of his wife (Anne Hastings), who was not an heiress, and they seem difficult to account for unless they are a coat for Rivers or some other territorial lordship inherited from the Wydeville family. The full identification of the quarterings borne by Anthony, Lord Rivers, would probably help in determining the point.
But it should not be imagined that the definite rules which exist at the moment had any such unalterable character in early times. Husbands are found to have quartered the arms of their wives if they were heiresses, and if important lordships devolved through the marriage. Territorial arms of dominion were quartered with personal arms (Fig. 755), quarterings of augmentation were granted, and the present system is the endeavour to reconcile all the varying circumstances and precedents which exist. One point, however, stands out clearly from all ancient examples, viz. that quartering meant quartering, and a shield was supposed to have but four quarters upon it. Consequently we find that instead of the elaborate schemes now in vogue showing