Third year student Roxana takes you through the remarkable legend of Lady Godiva, whose statue sits slap back in the middle of the city centre. Do you believe the legend?
Once upon a time in medieval Coventry, Leofric, the Anglo-Saxon Earl of Mercia, decided to raise taxes on his subjects. The already impoverished people of Coventry were forced to pay more, and they were heartbroken because this meant more sacrifice to their already difficult lives. Lady Godiva, Leofric’s wife, was very close to her people and cared about their families. She saw their grief and made a wager with her husband that she would ride naked through Coventry and no one would dare to look at her if she asked her subjects not to. Knowing that the people of Coventry were honourable, she convinced Leofric to waive the tax rises if she was proven right.
When Lady Godiva rode nude on the streets of Coventry, no one dared to cast an eye but for Peeping Tom, whom legends say was the only man who glanced at the fair lady, rendering him instantly blind.
What do you think about the legend of Coventry’s Lady Godiva? Have you seen her statue in the city centre, or her amazing display every time the town clock hits the hour?
Let us know your opinions on this remarkable legend… True or false?