Prizes in Medieval Tournaments
By Doug Strong
Introduction: There are very few records of what the winners of various tournies received. Romantic tradition has it that the victor of a joust received a kiss from the most beautiful lady at the lists or some such intangible reward. While this may have been the case in some medieval tourneys, surviving records do not support this assertion.
One such reward that can be supported was the vow of the peacock. The victor of the days lists was granted the honor of carving a peacock that had been cleverly fitted back in its raiment of feathers after roasting. While doing so he was expected to make a boastful vow. To do this he might have “placed his hand upon the bird and swore he would be the first to plant his standard upon the walls of a besieged city” or something of the like. Other feasters would then attempt to out-boast him during the course of the feast.