Baton, (fr. bâton), (though the old fr. Baston, Battoon, or Batune, is used almost entirely for the bendlet). It resembles the diminutive of the Bend sinister(and hence often called a sinister baton) is general form, but usually couped at both extremities. The sinister baton was in later times made to be a mark of the illegitimacy of the first bearer, and to be of metal when assigned to the illegitimate descendants of royalty, but in every other case to be of colour, even though placed upon another colour. Accordingly, the following arms were assigned by modern heralds:--
Gules, two lions passant guardant[HENRY I.] with a batoon sinister azure--REGINALD, base son of Henry I., created Earl of Cornwall,
It was said that the baton should not be laid aside until three generations had borne it, and not then, unless succeeded by some other mark assigned by the king of arms, or unless the coat was changed. Dexter batons are but rarely met with. Sometimes a small baton appears in the mouths(fr. baillonné) or between the paws of animals, such as lions, dogs, bears, &c., but this almost entirely in crests.
Quarterly vert and or a couped baston of the second--DE HISPANIA.
Gules, on a bend engrailed or, a baston azure--ELLIOT(1666).
Gules, a chevron raguly of two bastons couped at the top argent--Christopher DRAIESFIELD, Harl. MS. 1386.
Argent, a lion rampant azure, a dexter baton compony or and gules--Sir Richard de DOCKESSEYE.
Argent, a lion rampant gules, over all a dexter baston compony or and azure--Piers LUCIEN.
Argent, a lion rampant sable holding a baton in pale azure--WILLISBY.
In the sense of an ordinary bendlet, (q.v.)
Monsire JEFFREY DE CORNEWALE, d'argent une lyon de gules couronne d'or: une baston de sable charge de trois mullets d'or--Roll, temp. ED. III.