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Since the name was a popular one, there are contemporaries of the same name.
If she is the same Godiva who appears in the history of Ely Abbey, the Liber Eliensis, written at the end of the 12th century, then she was a widow when Leofric married her.
Godiva's story could have passed into folk history to be recorded in a romanticised version.
Another theory has it that Lady Godiva's "nakedness" might refer to her riding through the streets stripped of her jewellery, the trademark of her upper class rank.
Other attempts to find a more plausible rationale for the legend include one based on the custom at the time for penitents to make a public procession in their shift, a sleeveless white garment similar to a slip today and one which was certainly considered "underwear".
At last, weary of her entreaties, he said he would grant her request if she would strip naked and ride on a horse through the streets of the town.
; died between 10), in Old English Godgifu, was an English noblewoman who, according to a legend dating at least to the 13th century, rode naked – covered only in her long hair – through the streets of Coventry to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation that her husband imposed on his tenants.
The name "Peeping Tom" for a voyeur originates from later versions of this legend in which a man named Thomas watched her ride and was struck blind or dead.
According to his Chronicle of England (1569), "Leofricus" had already exempted the people of Coventry from "any maner of Tolle, Except onely of Horses", so that Godiva ("Godina" in text) had agreed to the naked ride just to win relief for this horse tax.
And as a condition, she required the officials of Coventry to forbid the populace "upon a great pain" from watching her, and to shut themselves in and shutter all windows on the day of her ride.
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(See Lucy of Bolingbroke.) After Leofric's death in 1057, his widow lived on until sometime between the Norman Conquest of 10.