History Girls

{January 14, 2011}   The Historical Lady Godiva

The earliest surviving primary source for the legend of Lady Godiva’s famous nude ride on horse back is the chronicle of Roger of Wendover, Flores History, written 1236. According to him, the countess pleaded with her husband to lower the heavy taxes he had imposed on the people of Coventry; Annoyed with her persistent appeals, he eventually agreed to accept her demands if she would ride naked through the streets of the town.

As a virtuous, respectable lady, she was horrified at the suggestion but the fact that she did as her husband told her showed the level of compassion she had for the people. So the legend goes, she ordered everybody to stay in their houses and shut all their windows and doors. She then loosened her hair to cover her body and mounted her horse.

Out of respect, all but one of the citizens obeyed her command. A man by the name of Tom could not resist a peep at the Countess, (giving us the term peeping Tom) but as he looked at her, he was struck blind. After completing her journey, her husband lived up to his word and abolished all taxes in the town except for those on horses.

From: http://ping.fm/Enuoz


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