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Godiva, Lady(gōdī`və), fl. c.1040–80, wife of Leofric, earl of Mercia; famous for her legendary ride through the city of Coventry. She was a benefactor of several monasteries, especially that at Coventry, which she and her husband founded (1043). The legend about her, which first appears in the chronicle of Roger of WendoverRoger of Wendover,
d. c.1236, English chronicler, a monk of St. Albans. As historiographer of St. Albans, he began the Flores historiarum (see Matthew of Westminster), a general chronicle starting with the creation.
..... Click the link for more information. , states that her husband agreed to remit the heavy taxation on the people of Coventry if she would ride naked through the town on a white horse. The story of Peeping Tom, the only person who looked through the closed shutters, did not enter the legend until the 17th cent. Michael Drayton (1613), Tennyson (1842), and others made Lady Godiva the subject of poems. A bronze statue of her by Sir William Reid Dick was erected in Coventry in 1949.
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(d. 1057) Leofric’s wife who rode through Coventry clothed only in her long, golden hair. [Br. Hist.: Payton, 274]
(d. 1057) rode naked through Coventry to secure tax reduction for the people. [Br. Legend: Brewer Dictionary, 471]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.