LADY GODIVA Biography - Famous Sports men and women


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Name: Lady Godiva                                                                       
Born: 1040                                                                             
Died: 1080                                                                             
Godiva (or Godgifu) (fl. 1040-1080) was an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who, according       
to legend, rode naked through the streets of Coventry in England in order to           
gain a remission of the oppressive toll imposed by her husband on his tenants.         
The name "peeping Tom" for a voyeur comes from later versions of this legend in         
which a man named Tom watched her ride and was struck blind.                           
Godiva was the wife of Leofric (968–1057), Earl of Mercia. Her name occurs in         
charters and the Domesday survey, though the spelling varies. The Anglo-Saxon           
name Godgifu or Godgyfu meant "gift of God"; Godiva was the Latinised version.         
Since the name was a popular one, there are contemporaries of the same name.           
If she is the same Godgifu who appears in the chronicles of Ely, Liber Eliensis         
(end of 12th century), then she was a widow when Leofric married her. Both             
Leofric and Godiva were generous benefactors to religious houses. In 1043               
Leofric founded and endowed a Benedictine monastery at Coventry. Writing in             
the 12th century, Roger of Wendover credits Godiva as the persuasive force             
behind this act. In the 1050s, her name is coupled with that of her husband on a       
grant of land to the monastery of St Mary, Worcester and the endowment of the           
minster at Stow St Mary, Lincolnshire. She and her husband are                         
commemorated as benefactors of other monasteries at Leominster, Chester, Much           
Wenlock and Evesham.                                                                   
The manor of Woolhope in Herefordshire, along with three others, was given to           
the cathedral at Hereford before the Norman Conquest by the benefactresses             
Wulviva and Godiva - usually held to be this Godiva and her sister. The church         
there has a 20th century stained glass window representing them.                       
Her mark, "di Ego Godiva Comitissa diu istud desideravi", appears on a charter         
purportedly given by Thorold of Bucknall to the Benedictine monastery of               
Spalding. However, this charter is considered spurious by many historians.             
Even so it is possible that Thorold, who appears in the Domesday Book as sheriff       
of Lincolnshire, was her brother.                                                       
After Leofric's death in 1057, his widow lived on until sometime between the           
Norman Conquest of 1066 and 1086. She is mentioned in the Domesday survey as one       
of the few Anglo-Saxons and the only woman to remain a major landholder shortly         
after the conquest. By the time of this great survey in 1086, Godiva had died,         
but her former lands are listed, although now held by others. Thus, Godiva             
apparently died between 1066 and 1086. One web-page, without specifying its             
source, states that she died on September 10, 1067.                                     
The place where Godiva was buried is a matter of debate. According to one source,       
she was probably buried at the Church of the Blessed Trinity at Evesham,               
which is no longer standing. However, the novelist Octavia Randolph says that           
Godiva was buried next to her husband at the priory church in Coventry.                 
Dugdale (1656) says that a window with representations of Leofric and Godiva was       
placed in Trinity Church, Coventry, about the time of Richard II.