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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Lady Godiva, Countess of Mercia #52ancestors

I thought she was just a myth, but this entry in my 52 weeks of ancestors theme is about the legendary Lady Godiva AKA Godgifu de Mercia an English noblewoman of whom you have heard.

Godiva (or Godgifu) (fl. 1040-1080) was an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who, according to legend, rode naked through the streets of Coventry in England in order to gain a remission of the oppressive toll imposed by her husband on his tenants. The name "Peeping Tom" for a voyeur comes from later versions of this legend in which a man named Tom watched her ride and was struck blind or dead."              
Godiva was the wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia, one of the most powerful noblemen in 11th century England. The couple gave generously to religious establishments and in 1043 founded and endowed a monastery at Coventry. The chronicler Florence of Worcester mentions Leofric and Godiva, but does not describe her famous ride, and there is no firm evidence connecting the rider with the historical Godiva. Leofric died in 1057, and Godiva is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 (although she was almost certainly dead by then) as having held many estates in Warwickshire including Coventry, inherited from her husband.
The earliest surviving source for the legend is the 'Chronica of Roger of Wendover', written more than a century after Godiva's death. According to this account, Leofric became so exasperated by Godiva's endless appeals to reduce Coventry's heavy taxes that he declared he would do so if she rode naked through the crowded marketplace. She did so, with her hair covering all of her body except her legs. According to Ranulf Higden's 'Polychronicon', as a result Leofric freed the town from all tolls save those on horses. The story of the 'Peeping Tom' was added later. Godiva required the townsmen to remain indoors at the time of her ride but one man looked at her out of his window and was struck blind.    
Lady Godiva is my 31st great grandmother.  
You 
   →  Mom 
your mother →  Pvt. Garnett Hancock, WWII Veteran 
her father →  Burrell H Hancock 
his father →  Samuel Austin Hancock 
his father → Peter Hancock, CSA Soldier 
his father →  John Hancock 1785 
his father →  Benjamin Hancock 1759 
his father →  unknown 
his parent →  Benjamin Hancock 
his/her father → John Hancock 
his father →  William Hancock, III 
his father →  Elizabeth Hancock 
his mother →  William Nicholas Spencer, Sr 
her father →  Mary Spencer 
his mother → Thomas Elmes, Sir 
her father →  Alice St. John 
his mother →  Sir John St. John, Kt. 
her father →  Lady Sybil Verch St John 
his mother → Margred (Margaret) or Jane or Jonnet Mathew 
her mother →  Gwenllian verch Dafydd 
her mother →  Dafydd ap Gwilym 
her father →  Gwilym ap Jenken 
his father → Jenkin ap Adam 
his father →  Adam ap Cynhaethwy 
his father →  Sir Reginald FitzPiers, Lord of Brecnoc 
his father → Piers FitzHerbert, Lord of Brecknock, (signatory of the Magna Carta) 
his father →  Lucy FitzMiles de Gloucester and Hereford, Lady of Blaen 
his mother → Sybil de Neufmarché 
her mother →  Agnes (Nesta) FitzOsbern 
her mother →  Nesta verch Gruffydd 
her mother →  Ealdgyth of Mercia 
her mother → Ælfgar, Earl of Mercia 
her father →  Lady Godiva 
his mother


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