Legendary People: Lady Godiva

Just History Posts

This is the first post in a new series I’ve been wanting to start for a while now. With medieval history in particular, there are lots of figures who have taken on legendary status. Some of these may have had real, historic roots, whilst others were purely fictional, but in the centuries since people have tried to find historic basis in them. So, I’d like to explore some of these people and see what real history may lie behind them. First up, I’ve gone for Lady Godiva.

The story of Lady Godiva first appears in written form in Roger of Wendover’s Flores Historiarum [Flowers of History] compiled between 1188 – 1235. Roger was a monk at St Albans Abbey, and used material previously existing at the Abbey which was supposedly begun by another monk, John de Cella. Roger recounts the story of Lady Godiva thusly:

“[A.D. 1057] On the thirty-first…

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