History of the Lady Mary Favours (taken from the Lady Mary Virtues and Vices booklet, AS LI)
The favours grew out of the original tradition of the “Most Chivalrous Fighter”. In the first years of the Lady Mary Memorial Tournament, winning the actual fighting tournament was not the crowning glory of the day - it was being chosen as the Most Chivalrous Fighter. This person was chosen by the Baroness (Fiona) as her mother, the Lady Mary, thought that his virtue was more important than that of prowess. Grand scrolls were created for both the victor and the Most Chivalrous, signed by the Baron and the Baroness, with the recipients' names added on the day. In addition their names were inscribed onto the trophies that were items treasured by Lady Mary, to join those worthy nobles who went before them.
As the first years went by, it became increasingly difficult to choose just one person who embodied the virtues of chivalry and honour. The tone of the tournament was such that ALL combatants strove to deport themselves with honour and chivalry upon the field. Everyone wanted the Most Chivalrous title! It was glorious! Then with the addition of the other tournaments, it became even more difficult to choose, because who was to get it? The Fighter or the Fencer? The Archer? The Baroness had to resort to asking the counsel of the Ladies at Court, even the Queen, to aid in her selection of the Most Chivalrous.
And so the Lady Mary Favours were born - several favours hand made by the Baroness herself, to be distributed by other high ranking ladies of the court in attendance on the day, for the gentle whom each thought was an example of chivalry on the field. This way more than one chivalrous combatant or participant could be recognized. At first the number of favours was equal to that of the tournament number, however as the years passed the number of favours was growing beyond what we thought was manageable - so the number got capped, at ten.
Nowadays the favours are given out for all the virtues - not just chivalry, and not just restricted to the combatants or other competitors, but to anyone who participated, Lord or Lady, young or old, in some way at the event who was an inspiration in an manner in the eyes of the giver of the favour.
The Favours themselves have been made out of a myriad of mediums and sizes, from felt to cloth, to leather but all have been designed as belt ornaments and have the symbol of Lady Mary herself on them - the Swan. And to this day many recipients still proudly don their Favours, a sight that the original Lady Mary would be much pleased to see!