Lady Godiva

About Lady Godiva

Who is it?: 11th-century Anglo-Saxon noblewoman
Birth Place: Mercia, British
Died On: 1067

Lady Godiva Net Worth

Lady Godiva was born in Mercia, British, is 11th-century Anglo-Saxon noblewoman. Lady Godiva was an 11th century gentlewoman married to the powerful yet insensitive Earl of Mercia and Lord of Coventry, Leofric. Legend has it that the citizens of Coventry were highly depressed and disheartened due to heavy taxes imposed by the cruel Leofric. Despite repeated requests by Lady Godiva, he refused, but agreed to lessen the burden provided she rode through the market town naked on horseback. Left with no alternative and determined to help her townspeople, she completed the challenge, following which the taxes were abolished leaving aside those on horses. An addition to this legend included that of the ‘Peeping Tom’, who couldn’t resist getting an eyeful of the Countess and opened his window only to be blinded immediately. This Anglo-Saxon noblewoman is also known for her generosity towards her religion evident from her contribution towards the establishment of a Benedictine monastery at Coventry, along with Leofric. She also supported the establishment of various churches and monasteries in different counties across England.
Lady Godiva is a member of Historical Personalities

💰 Net worth: $1.1 Million

Some Lady Godiva images

Biography/Timeline

1569

A modified version of the story was given by printer Richard Grafton, later elected MP for Coventry. According to his Chronicle of England (1569), "Leofricus" had already exempted the people of Coventry from "any maner of Tolle, Except onely of Horses", so that Godiva ("Godina" in text) had agreed to the naked ride just to win relief for this horse tax. And as a condition, she required the officials of Coventry to forbid the populace "upon a great pain" from watching her, and to shut themselves in and shutter all windows on the day of her ride. Grafton was an ardent Protestant and sanitized the earlier story.

1586

The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry maintains a permanent exhibition on the subject. The oldest painting was commissioned by the County of the City of Coventry in 1586 and produced by Adam van Noort, a refugee Flemish Artist. His painting depicts a "voluptuously displayed" Lady Godiva against the background of a "fantastical Italianate Coventry". In addition the Gallery has collected many Victorian interpretations of the subject described by Marina Warner as "an oddly composed Landseer, a swooning Watts and a sumptuous Alfred Woolmer".

1650

The ballad "Leoffricus" in the Percy Folio (ca. 1650) conforms to Grafton's version, saying that Lady Godiva performed her ride to remove the customs paid on horses, and that the town's officers ordered the townsfolk to "shutt their dore, & clap their windowes downe," and remain indoors on the day of her ride.

1656

William Dugdale (1656) says that a window with representations of Leofric and Godiva was placed in Trinity Church, Coventry, about the time of Richard II.

1677

W. Reader dates the first Godiva procession to 1677, but other sources date the first parade to 1678, and on that year a lad from the household of James Swinnerton enacted the role of Lady Godiva.

1700

There is also said to be a letter from pre-1700, stating that the peeper was actually Action (pronounced Actæon?), Lady Godiva's groom.

1732

The English Dictionary of National Biography (D.N.B.) gives a meticulous account of the literary sources. The Historian Paul de Rapin (1732) reported the Coventry lore that Lady Godiva performed her ride while "commanding all Persons to keep within Doors and from their Windows, on pain of Death" but one man could not refrain from looking and it "cost him his life"; Rapin further reported that the town commemorates this with a "Statue of a Man looking out of a Window."

1773

Next, Thomas Pennant in Journey from Chester to London (1782) recounted how "the curiosity of a certain taylor overcoming his fear, he took a single peep". Pennant noted that the person enacting Godiva in the procession was not fully naked of course, but wore "silk, closely fitted to her limbs", which had a colour resembling the skin's complexion. (In Chester's time around 1782 silk was worn, but the annotator of the 1811 edition noted that a cotton garment had since replaced the silk fabric.) According to the D.N.B., the oldest document that mentions "Peeping Tom" by name is a record in Coventry's official annals, dating to 11 June 1773, documenting that the city issued a new wig and paint for the wooden effigy.

1826

According to an 1826 article submitted by someone well-versed in local history and identifying himself as W. Reader, there was already a well-established tradition that there was a certain tailor who had spied on Lady Godiva, and that at the annual Trinity Great Fair (now called the Godiva Festival) featuring the Godiva processions "a grotesque figure called Peeping Tom" would be set on display, and it was a wooden statue carved from oak. The author has dated this effigy, based on the style of armour he is shown wearing, from the reign of Charles II (d. 1685). The same Writer felt the legend had to be subsequent to william Dugdale (d. 1686) since he made no mention of it in his works that discussed Coventry at full length. (The story of the tailor and the use of a wooden effigy may be as old as the 17th century, but the effigy may not have always been called "Tom". See 1773 date below, and the alternate suggested name "Action".)

1937

John Collier's Lady Godiva was bequeathed by social reformer Thomas Hancock Nunn. When he died in 1937, the Pre-Raphaelite-style painting was offered to the Corporation of Hampstead. He specified in his will that should his bequest be refused by Hampstead (presumably on grounds of propriety) the painting was then to be offered to Coventry. The painting now hangs in the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.

1968

The New York-based rock group The Velvet Underground recorded a song "Lady Godiva's Operation" for their 1968 album White Light/White Heat.

1972

Lady Godiva was the first feminist icon mentioned in the lyrics of "And Then There's Maude," the theme song for the American television series Maude (1972–1978).

1992

Simply Red had a single in 1992 from The Montreux EP called "Lady Godiva's Room", which peaked on the UK charts at number 11.

2004

The Bare Witch Project |(19 Sep. 2004) |TV Episode | TV-PG | 42 min | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery When a Magic School student summons Lady Godiva, the entire status of women changes in the Charmed Ones' reality. The sisters must keep Lord Dyson from killing her before she can return to the past and complete her famous ride.

2013

Extreme metal band Heaven Shall Burn used the legend of Lady Godiva for the song "Godiva" from their 2013 album Veto.

2017

The story of Peeping Tom, who alone among the townsfolk spied on the Lady Godiva's naked ride, probably did not originate in literature, but came about through popular lore in the locality of Coventry. Reference by 17th-century chroniclers has been claimed, but all the published accounts are 18th-century or later.