Friday, April 13, 2007

The most popular citizen of Coventry

Picture of Lady Godiva, by John Collier, ca 1897

According to the popular legend, Lady Godiva was a noblewoman, wife of Leofric (968 – 1057), Earl of Mercia, who rode naked through the streets of Coventry in order to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed to her husband on his tenants. She symbolises the equality of humans and the power of women who can make big changes in the society. Hence it's not surprising that Coventry City Council chose Lady Godiva as its symbol.

However another popular citizen from the city of Coventry is a tailor, ever afterwards known as Peeping Tom, who disobeyed Lady Godiva's proclamation that all persons should keep within doors or shut their windows during her procession। Legend has it that our mister Tom got blind after piping at Lady Godiva naked through a hole in his shutters. The name "peeping Tom" for a voyeur owes its origin to this legend.

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