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According to the popular story, the beautiful Lady Godiva took pity on the people of
Coventry, who were suffering grievously under her husband's oppressive taxation.
Lady Godiva appealed again and again to her husband, who obstinately refused to
remit the tolls. At last, weary of her entreaties, he said he would grant her request if
she would ride naked through the streets of the town. Lady Godiva took him at his
word and, after issuing a proclamation that all persons should keep within doors or
shut their windows, she rode through, clothed only in her long hair. Only one person
in the town, a tailor ever afterwards known as Peeping Tom, disobeyed her
proclamation in the first famous instance of voyeurism.[11] In the story, Tom bores a
hole in his shutters so that he might see Godiva pass, and is struck blind.[12] In the
end, Godiva's husband keeps his word and abolishes the onerous taxes.
The oldest form of the legend has Godiva passing through Coventry market from one
end to the other while the people were assembled, attended only by two knights.[13]
This version is given in Flores Historiarum by Roger of Wendover (died 1236), a
somewhat gullible collector of anecdotes, who quoted from an earlier writer. The later
story, with its episode of "Peeping Tom", appeared first among 17th century
chroniclers

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  • 1. According to the popular story, the beautiful Lady Godiva took pity on the people of Coventry, who were suffering grievously under her husband's oppressive taxation. Lady Godiva appealed again and again to her husband, who obstinately refused to remit the tolls. At last, weary of her entreaties, he said he would grant her request if she would ride naked through the streets of the town. Lady Godiva took him at his word and, after issuing a proclamation that all persons should keep within doors or shut their windows, she rode through, clothed only in her long hair. Only one person in the town, a tailor ever afterwards known as Peeping Tom, disobeyed her proclamation in the first famous instance of voyeurism.[11] In the story, Tom bores a hole in his shutters so that he might see Godiva pass, and is struck blind.[12] In the end, Godiva's husband keeps his word and abolishes the onerous taxes. The oldest form of the legend has Godiva passing through Coventry market from one end to the other while the people were assembled, attended only by two knights.[13] This version is given in Flores Historiarum by Roger of Wendover (died 1236), a somewhat gullible collector of anecdotes, who quoted from an earlier writer. The later story, with its episode of "Peeping Tom", appeared first among 17th century chroniclers