Lady Godiva

Godiva (or Godgifu; † around 1085 ) was an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman of the 11th century.

1043 donated by Leofric, Earl of Mercia and his wife Godiva a Benedictine abbey in Coventry and endowed them with rich possession.


Godiva is the subject of a legend which is attested since the 13th century: to force her husband to lower the tax burden on the citizens of Coventry, she was naked through the city ridden, covered only by her long hair. Leofric, impressed by the courage of his wife, then adopted all taxes except those on horses.

Since 1678 the Ride of Lady Godiva in Coventry was celebrated by a procession. In the 17th century the story was further embellished: Only one citizen ( Peeping Tom) dared to watch, and then went blind.


In her will, ( narrated by William of Malmesbury in his Gesta Pontificum Anglorum ) we find the first written record of a rosary, a string with attached stones as counting chain for repeatedly spoken prayers in the Latin Church: The circlet of precious stones Which she had threaded on a cord in order did by fingering them one after another she might also count her prayers exactly were to be Placed on a statute of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Alfred Tennyson wrote a poem about the 1842 Ride of the Godiva. There are also several paintings with this design, including of the English Pre-Raphaelite John Collier (1898 ) and Salvador Dalí (1971). Vítězslav Novák made ​​it the subject of an approximately fifteen-minute symphonic poem. In the figure is also in the songs of Lady Godiva by Alex Day, Do not Stop Me Now by Queen, Modern Love by Peter Gabriel, Lady Godiva's operation of The Velvet Underground, Lady Godiva And Me by Grant Lee Buffalo, Lady Godiva 's Room of referred Simply Red and My Secret Europe by Phantom / Ghost. The British pop duo Peter & Gordon and the band Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show devoted her an entire song. Published in 2009, the Croatian musician Arsen Dedić an eponymous song, which was interpreted by the Macedonian pop singer Karolina Gočeva. The opera Isabeau by Pietro Mascagni from 1911 is partly based on the story of Lady Godiva. Furthermore, the German music group Lady Godiva named after the historic person. The German metalcore band Heaven Shall Burn uses the paintings of John Collier as a cover for her album veto of 2013 and processed the substance of the legend to Eröfnungsnummer Godiva.

As a protest figurehead Gina Lollobrigida rides in the movie stranger Bedfellows as Lady Godiva in a skin-colored suit on a horse through Soho.


  • William of Malmesbury (Author ), Michael Winterbottom (ed.): Gesta Pontificum Anglorum 1125 = The history of the English Bishops ( Rolls Series 311). Clarendon Press, Oxford 2007 ( bilingual Latin- English)