The primary Towneley shield has three black stars above a black bar on a white background. As early as the 14th century, the three stars above a thick horizontal line was impressed into wax seals on Towneley legal documents.
In particular circumstances, heraldic designs were acquired from other families through marriage. This happened when the wife's family had no male descendants to continue to use that family's coat of arms. The descendants of this marriage were permitted to add the additional designs to their own shield. Each part of the shield is called a quartering even though there may many more than four parts.
Towneley acquired its first additional quartering of Rixton through the marriage of John de Towneley and Isabella Rixton in 1382. Two more quarterings, Pilkington and Gayteford, were acquired through the marriage of John Towneley and Isabella Pilkington in 1480.
The marriage of Richard Towneley and Frances Wimbishe brought a further 14 quarterings as the Wimbishe family themselves had previously acquired 13 quarterings. The fourteen family names are Wimbishe, Barnack, Limbury, Darcy, Bertram, Blyton, Gernon, Engayne, Delahey, Knight, Roley, Lownde, Byron, Clayton.
These quarterings descended via Mary Towneley, daughter of Richard and Frances to Richard Towneley (1566-1628). The upper right part of the portrait of John and Mary Towneley and Family in 1601 attempts to show the Wimbishe family relationships. In 1613, Richard was granted the Towneley coat of arms with 18 quarterings by the College of Arms. This shield is displayed over the main entrance to the Great Hall.