"...The woman of a thousand summers back, Godiva, wife to that grim Earl who ruled in Coventry: for when he laid a tax upon his town, and all the mothers brought their children, clamoring, "If we pay, we starve!"
|Lady Godiva by Edmund Blair Leighton. Source - Wiki Commons|
|Lady Godiva by John Collier. Source - Wiki Commons|
|Statue of Godiva in Coventry. Source - Fotolia|
Part of the legend states that Godiva was able to ride through Coventry, long hair strategically covering parts of her body, after a proclamation ordered everyone to stay indoors. It's given rise to another aspect of the story, Peeping Tom. Supposedly, no one in Coventry defied the proclamation except a tailor, forever after known as Peeping Tom, who witnessed Godiva's nakedness and instantly became blind. The idea of Peeping Tom became popular in the 17th century, as part of the growing myth embellished by successive generations.
Sources: Historic Coventry, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England and The Domesday Book Online.
Lisa J. Yarde writes fiction set in the medieval period. She is the author of historical novels set in medieval England and Normandy, The Burning Candle, based on the life of Isabel de Vermandois, and On Falcon's Wings, chronicling the star-crossed romance between Norman and Saxon lovers. Lisa has also written Sultana and Sultana’s Legacy, novels set during a turbulent period of thirteenth century Spain,where rivalries and ambitions threaten the fragile bonds between members of a powerful family.