[W]hen as a Gentleman of coat-armor hath married an heir to a Gentleman of coat-armor, and hath issue by her, that issue as heir, beareth the Arms of his father and of his mother in his Shield quarterly, and it is called Coat quartered plain, or rather, a Shield quartered plain.

– From Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p102

Ferne also goes on to describe arms diverse quarterly, where different ancestral coats are displayed in each quarter, and arms quarterly quartered, which would occur when two people with arms quartered plain marry and have children. The configuration described here is by far the most common.

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