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Leofric, Earl of Mescia and Lady Godiva

Lady Godiva flourished between 1040-1080. She was an Angio-Saxon gentlewoman famous for her legendary ride while nude through Coventry, Warwickshire, England.

Lady Godiva was the wife of Leofric, with whom she founded and endowed the monastery at Coventry.

The earliest extant source for the story of her ride was the Chronica (under the year 1057) of Roger of Wendover. He recounts that her husband, in exasperation over her ceaseless imploring that he reduce Coventry's heavy taxes, declared he would so if she rode naked through the crowded marketplace. She did so, her hair covering all her body except her legs. Ranulf Higden in his Polychronicon, says that as a result Leofric freed the town from all tolls save those on horses. An inquiry made in the reign of Edward II shows that at the time no tolls were paid in Coventry except on horses. A later chronicle asserts that Godiva required that townsmen to remain indoors at the time fixed for her ride. One part of the legend says that a tailor, the original Peeping Tom, looked out and was struck blind.

Academic American Encyclopedia - 1983
Britannica Encyclopedia - 1988