Godiva (Lincolnshire) of Mercia

Godgifu (Lincolnshire) of Mercia (abt. 0985 - aft. 1066)

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Godgifu (Godiva) of Mercia formerly Lincolnshire
Born about in Mercia, Englandmap
Daughter of [uncertain] and [mother unknown]
Wife of — married before [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died after in Coventry, Warwickshire, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 4 Jun 2012
This page has been accessed 7,913 times.
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Godifu (Godiva) ( d. after 1054/7 or 1066)[1][2]



Godifu occurs in charters and the Domesday survey.[3] Nothing is certain about her origins.

The parents listed for this individual are speculative and may not be based on sound genealogical research. Sources to prove or disprove this ancestry are needed. Please contact the Profile Manager or leave information on the bulletin board.


  • (unproven) Thorold[4]

Her signature is on a charter ... "given by Thorold of Bucknall, sheriff of Lincolnshire, to the Benedictine monastery of Spalding," but it's, "considered spurious by many historians." Some, however, believe it's possible that she's Thorold's sister.[5]


m. (ante 1010) Leofric, Earl of Mercia.[6][2] Issue: 1 [7]

  • (unproven) Aelfgar (d. 1062), Earl of the East Angles and Earl of Mercia (d.1062).[8]
m.1 Aelfgifu[9]
m.2 (abt. 1058) UNKNOWN of Gwyneed


"The distribution of Godgifu's known lands suggests that her family background lay in northwest Mercia, rather than the northeast midlands. Her substantial estates in Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, and Shropshire, some 60 hides of land or the equivalent, may have been her own inheritance, for John of Worcester says that Coventry Abbey, founded by Godgifu and her husband, was endowed out of their respective patrimonies."[10]


  • 1043: Leofric founded and endowed a Benedictine monastery at Coventry.[11][12]


According to Florence of Worcester, Godifu died after 1054/57,[1] but was widowed in 1057 ... and died some time after the 1066 Conquest but before 1086.[13] [2]

"According to the Chronicon Abbatiae de Evesham, or Evesham Chronicle, she was buried at the Church of the Blessed Trinity at Evesham," but ODNB believes she's likely, "buried with her husband at Coventry." [2]

Legend of Lady Godiva

"The legend of the nude ride is first recorded in the 13th century, in the Flores Historiarum and the adaptation of it by Roger of Wendover. ... The ballad "Leoffricus" in the Percy Folio (ca. 1650) conforms to Grafton's version..."[2]


  • Kingsbury family claims descent.[14][3]


Primary Sources

  • Annals of Peterborough.[12]
  • Florence of Worcester.[13]
  • Orderic Vitalis.[14]

Secondary Sources

  • "An Anglo-Saxon tale: Lady Godiva," (n.d.). BBC. Web.[15]
  • Cawley, C. (2006). "Godifu (after 1054/7)." Medieval Lands v.4. Fmg.ac. Web.[16]
  • Haydn, J. (1841). "Coventry, peeping Tom," in Haydn's Dictionary of Dates and Universal Information, 1st ed, pp. 155. London: Edward Moxon and Co. Google Books.[17][15]

Inline Citations and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Florence of Worcester
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Wikipedia: Lady Godiva v. April 5, 2017.[1]
  3. 3.0 3.1 Wikipedia: Lady Godiva v. April 5, 2017,[2] citing: Cross, 1991; Williams, 2004 (DNB).
  4. Cawley, (2006). "Leofric, son of Leofwine." fmg.ac.[3] citing Florence of Worcester; and Annals of Peterborough.
  5. Wikipedia: Lady Godiva v. April 5, 2017.[4] citing: S 1230. Anglo-saxons.net.
  6. steve16907, (2008, September 20). Ancestry.com[5]
  7. Wikipedia: Lady Godiva v. April 5, 2017.[6] citing: Montague-Smith, 1983
  8. Orderic Vitalis records that “Elfgarus comes” had founded “Coventrense cœnobium” and that “Godiova...comitissa” donated “omnem thesaurum suum” to the church, (Cawley, 2006).[7]
  9. Issue: 3
  10. ODNB[citation needed]
  11. Wikipedia: Lady Godiva v. April 5, 2017,[8] citing: S 1226. Anglo-saxons.net. 13 April 1981.
  12. Wikipedia: Lady Godiva v. April 5, 2017,[9] citing: S 1232 & S 1478. Anglo-saxons.net.
    • In the Stow charter, she is called "Godgife" (Thorpe, 1865, p. 320.)
    She and her husband are commemorated as benefactors of other monasteries at Leominster, Chester, Much Wenlock, and Evesham, (Wikipedia citing McGurk & Bray, 1985, p. 582-583),
  13. Wikipedia: Lady Godiva v. April 5, 2017.[10] citign Keats-Roham, 1999, 1, p. 218
  14. Wikipedia: Lady Godiva v. April 5, 2017 citing:[11] KIngsbury, 2005; Timmins, 1889; Smith, 1820; Fox, 2000
  15. see also: Space:Haydn's Dictionary of Dates and Universal Information

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Memories: 2

On 27 Oct 2011 Roger Wehr wrote:


According to the popular story, 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 strip naked and ride through the streets of the town. Lady Godiva took him at his word and, after issuing a proclamation that all persons should stay indoors and shut their windows, she rode through the town, clothed only in her long hair. Just one person in the town, a tailor ever afterwards known as "Peeping Tom," disobeyed her proclamation in one of the most famous instances of voyeurism. In the story, Tom bores a hole in his shutters so that he might see Godiva pass, and is struck blind. In the end, Godiva's husband keeps his word and abolishes the onerous taxes.

On 27 Oct 2011 Roger Wehr wrote:

Lady Godiva was the wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia. They had one proved son Aelfgar, Earl of Mercia. Lady Godiva's name occurs in charters and the Domesday survey, though the spelling varies. The Old English name Godgifu or Godgyfu meant "gift of God"; Godiva was the Latinised version. Since the name was a popular one, there are contemporaries of the same name. If she was the same Godiva who appears in the history of Ely Abbey, the Liber Eliensis, written at the end of 12th century, then she was a widow when Leofric married her.

Both Leofric and Godiva were generous benefactors to religious houses. In 1043 Leofric founded and endowed a Benedictine monastery at Coventry. On the site of a nunnery destroyed by the Danes in 1016. Writing in the 12th century, Roger of Wendover credits Godiva as the persuasive force behind this act. In the 1050s, her name is coupled with that of her husband on a grant of land to the monastery of St. Mary, Worcester and the endowment of the minster at Stow St Mary, Lincolnshire. She and her husband are commemorated as benefactors of other monasteries at Leominster, Chester, Much Wenlock and Evesham. She gave Coventry a number of works in precious metal made for the purpose by the famous goldsmith Mannig, and bequeathed a necklace valued at 100 marks of silver. Another necklace went to Evesham, to be hung around the figure of the Virgin accompanying the life-size gold and silver rood she and her husband gave, and St Paul's Cathedral, London received a gold-fringed chasuble. She and her husband were among the most munificent of the several large Anglo-Saxon donors of the last decades before the Conquest; the early Norman bishops made short work of their gifts, carrying them off to Normandy or melting them down for bullion. The manor of Woolhope in Herefordshire, along with four others, was given to the cathedral at Hereford before the Norman Conquest by the benefactresses Wulviva and Godiva – usually held to be this Godiva and her sister. The church there has a 20th century stained glass window representing them. Her mark, di Ego Godiva Comitissa diu istud desideravi, appears on a charter purportedly given by Thorold of Bucknall to the Benedictine monastery of Spalding. However, this charter is considered spurious by many historians. Even so it is possible that Thorold, who appears in the Domesday Book as sheriff of Lincolnshire, was her brother. After Leofric's death in 1057, his widow lived on until sometime between the Norman Conquest of 1066 and 1086. She is mentioned in the Domesday survey as one of the few Anglo-Saxons and the only woman to remain a major landholder shortly after the conquest. By the time of this great survey in 1086, Godiva had died, but her former lands are listed, although now held by others. Thus, Godiva apparently died between 1066 and 1086.

The place where Godiva was buried has been a matter of debate. According to the Chronicon Abbatiae de Evesham, or Evesham Chronicle, she was buried at the Church of the Blessed Trinity at Evesham, which is no longer standing. According to the account in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, "There is no reason to doubt that she was buried with her husband at Coventry, despite the assertion of the Evesham chronicle that she lay in Holy Trinity, Evesham." Dugdale (1656) says that a window with representations of Leofric and Godiva was placed in Trinity Church, Coventry, about the time of Richard II.

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Images: 2
Lady Godiva - the Legend
Lady Godiva - the Legend

Chart of Paternal Royal and Noble Ancestors
Chart of Paternal Royal and Noble Ancestors

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On 16 Sep 2018 at 21:40 GMT Andrew Lancaster wrote:

On 15 Sep 2018 at 16:22 GMT Andrew Lancaster wrote:

Keats-Rohan makes no mention of a connection Thorold. Should we disconnect from the parents?

On 3 Jul 2017 at 08:50 GMT C. Mackinnon wrote:

ODNB says her parentage is unknown. [1]. Should she be disconnected until something is forthcoming?

On 23 Jun 2017 at 02:46 GMT Steve Selbrede wrote:

So which is it? The disambiguation says she is not the Legend Godiva. But the "Legend" section, her nickname and the image suggest otherwise?

If she is not the famous Lady Godiva, the disambiguation section should carefully explain it all. She may well be the lady of the legend without the legend itself being true.

On 2 Jul 2016 at 07:33 GMT John Atkinson wrote:

Mercia-251 and Lincolnshire-6 appear to represent the same person because: Same person, Lincolnshire is the preferred LNAB, Mercia was her 'married' name

On 16 Nov 2015 at 01:30 GMT Darrell Parker wrote:

De Bucenhall-2 and Lincolnshire-6 appear to represent the same person because: Appears to be the same person

On 27 Jul 2015 at 11:11 GMT John Atkinson wrote:

De Bucenhall-2 and Lincolnshire-6 are not ready to be merged because: Mother of this profile needs to be merged first

On 27 Jun 2015 at 09:12 GMT Darrell Parker wrote:

De Bucenhall-2 and Lincolnshire-6 appear to represent the same person because: Appears to be the same person

On 9 Nov 2014 at 21:24 GMT Brother Phil Culmer wrote:

I agree - I notice that there are also differences in dates of birth and death, which need to be investigated.

On 9 Nov 2014 at 06:38 GMT John Atkinson wrote:

Lincolnshire-6 and De Bucenhall-2 are not ready to be merged because: I think it would be better to investigate her parents and grandparents (particularly maternal) and merge them before this profile can be merged

Godiva is 34 degrees from Rosa Parks, 30 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 24 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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