The baton is not a short staff, as its usage today suggests, but a geometrical ordinary on the shield, being a bendlet sinister couped, i.e. a narrow diagonal band cut off at each end. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Baton In ancient times it was said to be a mark of illegitimacy that should be retained for three generations. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P51