Godiva’s naked horse ride tax protest

Lady Godiva’s naked Coventry horse ride at midday on market day 1035AD – watched by Peeping Tom – stopped her husband Leofric collecting King Canute’s Heregeld tax.

Godiva statue

Lady Godiva statue, Cathedral Lanes, Coventry, Flickr: Elliott Brown

Leofric dared Godiva to ride naked because the Greek and Roman paintings she loved included nudes. Ranulf Higden’s Polychronicon (1257) – and an inquiry under Edward I (1272 to 1307) – found that Leofric stopped collecting taxes except for those on horses.

Godiva asked Coventry’s residents not to look. One man, a tailor later called Peeping Tom, looked. He was blinded by God, leading Leofric to convert to Christianity.

The players in this story:

Godiva | Leofric | Peeping Tom | Canute

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