Facts about Lady Godiva

Born: c. 1040
Died: c. 1070
Birthplace: Near Coventry, England
Best known as: The woman who rode through town naked on a horse


Lady Godiva Biography

Lady Godiva (Godgyfu or Godgifu in its original spelling) was married to Leofric, the Earl of Mercia, in what is now the United Kingdom. Around the time of 1057, she and Leofric got in a dispute over the taxes he had levied on the growing city of Coventry, and he challenged her to ride naked through the marketplace, promising to ease the tax burden if she did so. Lady Godiva took the challenge and became a local legend. At least, that’s how the story goes, a story that began to circulate a century after her death. In the 17th century, the detail was added that Lady Godiva had instructed the townsfolk to stay indoors during her ride, but that a man named Tom peeked at her anyway, hence the term "peeping tom."