Lady Godiva
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member vix92008
N 52° 24.480 W 001° 30.634
30U E 601315 N 5807462
Quick Description: A striking statue of Godiva stands in the city’s central square, Broadgate. Sculpted by William Reid-Dick, it was unveiled in 1949 and is one of the few equestrian statues in the UK, outside London to be listed (Grade II).
Location: United Kingdom
Date Posted: 2/12/2006 11:58:29 AM
Waymark Code: WM7GR
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member seventhings
Views: 106

Long Description:
Some 900 years ago an extraordinary occurrence took place on Market Day in the English midlands town of Coventry.
Two monks at St. Albans Abbey in Hertfordshire first recorded this amazing story in Latin. Roger of Wendover wrote of it in the twelfth century and Mathew Paris in the early thirteenth century.
As the Abbey stood at an important road junction, it would seem that the monks may have heard the story from travellers who were on their way from the Midlands to London.
Lady Godiva was the lady, wife of Leofric, the Earl of Mercia.
Earl Leofric was one of the all-powerful lords who ruled England under the Danish King Canute.
He mercilessly demanded from the people of Coventry an oppressive tax called the Heregeld. This tax paid for King Canute's bodyguard and Leofric made sure that the people of Coventry paid it!
Lady Godiva pleaded with Leofric to stop this hated tax and he is reputed to have said, "You will have to ride naked through Coventry before I will change my ways".
He was quite sure that his demure, modest wife would never do such a thing.
But, Lady Godiva took him at his word, and on Market Day in Coventry she rode naked, veiled only by her long golden hair. As her hair was long enough to cover all her body, only her face and legs could be seen.
Leofric was so stunned by the whole incident that he believed it was a miracle that no one had seen his wife's naked body, and he immediately "freed" the town from paying the hated Heregeld, and at the same time ceased his persecution of the Church
Leofric appears to have undergone a religious conversion after this incident and he and Godiva funded a Benedictine monastery in Coventry where they were both buried.
Unfortunately all traces of this monastery have long since disappeared.
By the seventeenth-century the story appears to have been altered slightly. The new version of the story said that before her 'ride', Godiva sent out messengers to go throughout the town insisting that all the people stay indoors with their windows shuttered on the day. As she was very popular with the people, (unlike her husband,) and every taxpayer realised that they stood to gain from her 'heroic act', they did as she requested
Everyone complied with her request except for one man who couldn't resist peeping, a tailor, 'Peeping Tom'.
He was, the story goes 'blinded by the wrath of Heaven' for his temerity in not obeying the order.
A statue, supposedly of Peeping Tom, a strange wooden effigy, can be seen in Coventry's Cathedral Lanes Shopping Centre. The eyes in this effigy appear blank, but that may be because the paint has worn off over the years.

The statue can be easily reached from any of the car parks located in central Coventry.
Identity of Rider: Lady Godiva (who was the lady, wife of Leofric, the Earl of Mercia)

Identity of Horse: Unlisted

Name of artist: Sir William Reid Dick

Date of Dedication: Officially unveiled in the centre of Broadgate in 1949

Material: Bronze

Unusual Features: The lady riding the horse is naked!

Position: One Hoof Raised

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