250mc – Peeping Tom

(The Gentlemans Magazine P22 1826)
(The gentleman’s Magazine P22 1826)

Coventry is home of arguably the most famous Voyeur in the country. The Peeping Tom is a character which grew out of the Lady Godiva legend.

Lady Godiva was the wife of an 11th century wealthy landowner Leorific who imposed a series exorbitant taxes on the people. He established a monastery around 1044 in an area later to become known as Coventry. The people living under Leorifics rule would appeal to Godiva to plead with her husband to lower the taxes. Leorific initially dismissed her pleas but eventually her constant badgering of him caused him to offer up a challenge he believed she would never accept. Leorific offered to lower the taxes if his wife would ride a horse, naked through the town. However he had underestimated his wife resolve and she accepted his challenge. Godiva who was a popular figure in the town told the people of the plan and they agreed that during the ride they would all go into their homes and close all doors and windows until she had passed, this way no one would see her. On the day of the ride everyone complied with one exception, Tom the Tailor. It is rumoured that when she rode past curiosity got the better of him and he peeked out. It is said that he was instantly struck blind and some reports even suggest dead.

Historical records show us tha Lady Godiva was a genuine person although there is no information about a naked ride through the town and nothing has ever been found to prove the existence of a person known as Tom the Tailor, however it is a story that has endured and become part of Coventry folklore.

 

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