Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Family Legends: Lady Godiva

Lady Godiva statue by Sir William Reid Dick unveiled 1949 in Broadgate, Coventry  

Lady Godiva was the wife of Leofric, Earl of MerciaThey had one proved son Aelfgar, Earl of Mercia.  Lady Godiva's name occurs in charters and the Domesday survey, the spelling varies from Latinised to old English - Godiva, Godgifu or Godgyfu meant "gift of God."  Godiva was the daughter of Thorold Sherriff of Lincoln and Lady Edith. 

It is believed 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 on the site of a nunnery destroyed by the Danes in 1016. 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 of Stow St Mary, and many other endowments were given by Leofric and Godiva.
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. (See Wikipedia) 

The Legend
According to the popular story, Lady Godiva took pity on the people of Coventry, who were suffering grievously under her husband's oppressive taxation. Lady Godiva appealed again and again to her husband, who obstinately refused to remit the tolls. At last, weary of her entreaties, he said he would grant her request if she would strip naked and ride through the streets of the town. Lady Godiva took him at his word and, after issuing a proclamation that all persons should stay indoors and shut their windows, she rode through the town, clothed only in her long hair. Just one person in the town, a tailor ever afterwards known as Peeping Tom, disobeyed her proclamation. In the story, Tom bores a hole in his shutters so that he might see Godiva pass, and is struck blind.  In the end, Godiva's husband keeps his word and abolishes the onerous taxes. (See Wikipedia)

Ancestry Chain:  Lady Godiva is our 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th, 35th and 36th grandmother - nine time through Kirt DeMar WOOD and thirty seven times through Camilla SMITH.  

One Example: 35th great-grandmother of JR
Lady Godiva (Godgifu) b.980 
Aelfgar Earl Of Mercia (Ælfgar) b.997
Lady Edith of Mercia (Ealdgyth/Aldgyth/Aelgifu) b.1020, 
Nesta ferch Gruffydd b.1061, 
Nest ferch Osbern b.1081, 
Sibyl Countess of Hereford Lady of Brecknock de Neufmarche b.1100, 
Margery Of Hereford b.1126, [also related through Siblyl's sister Bertha.]
Humphrey III Constable of England Earl of Herford DE BOHUN b.1150, 
Henry 'The Surety' de BOHUN Earl of Hereford b.1176, 
'The Good' Humphrey V de BOHUN Earl of Hereford b.1208, 
Humphrey VI de BOHUN Governor of Goodrich Castle b.1224, 
Humphrey (VII) de BOHUN Constable of England b.abt 1249
Sir Humphrey (VIII) DE BOHUN 4th Earl of Hereford & Essex b.1276, 
Margaret de BOHUN Countess of Devon b.1311, [also related through Margaaret's brother Sir William and two of William's children.]
Edward de COURTENAY b.1329, 
Sir Hugh de COURTENAY Sir b. abt 1365, 
Margaret COURTENAY b.1369, 
Sir William de GRENVILLE Lord of Kilkhampton, Bediford, Cornwall b.1397, 
Sir. Thomas GRENVILLE b.1425, 
Sir Thomas GRENVILLE Knight b.1449, 
Sir Roger GRENVILLE Sheriff Cornwell b. abt 1477, 
Jane GRENVILLE b.1505, [also related through Jane's sister Amy/Anne]
Jane SPECATE b.1530, 
Thomas SNELLING b.1560, 
John SNELLING b.1580, 
John SNELLING b.1624, 
Abigail SNELLING b.1674, 
Ruth HILTON b.1701, 
Jerusha PIERCE b.1730, 
Martha HUTCHINS b.1758, 
Betsy CARPENTER b.1788, 
Adaline RAWSON b.1811, 
Mary DUNN b.1833, 
Harriett Camilla ENSIGN b.1859, 
George Ensign SMITH b.1898, 
Camilla SMITH b.1926, 

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