Lady Godiva by John Collier, c. 1897
Lady Godiva's Unclothed Ride
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"Then she rode forth, clothed on with chastity:
The deep air listen'd round her as she rode ..."
~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Godiva, 1840
The saying 'in the buff' originated from the buff coloured coats worn by English soldiers up until the 17th century. It's more recent meaning, a metaphor for "in the nude," references the buff color of skin tones. July 10th marks the alleged day of Lady Godiva's historic nude ride through Coventry, England, in 1040. Lady Godiva is said to have ridden through the streets of Coventry, covered only in her long hair, in order to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband on his tenants. Although historians have not deemed the story plausible, Lady Godiva, Countess of Mercia and her husband were real personages of the 11th century, and by the 13th century, the famous story, with many embellishments, had entered regional folklore. The term "Peeping Tom" (for a voyeur) also originates from later versions of this legend, in which a tailor named Thomas, against the strict orders to avoid watching, issued in an advance pronouncement, cannot resist temptation and is struck blind or dead after viewing her passing though a chink in a window. Since the 17th century, a pageant has been held annually in Coventry to re-enact Lady Godiva's original route through the town. Today, this tradition has transformed into a three day music festival.
In the Buff
The saying 'In The Buff', originated from the buff coloured coats which were worn by English soldiers up until the 17th century. The later meaning of the saying, to mean naked, is an allusion to the colour of the skin, which is somewhat like the colour buff.
July 10th marks the day of Lady Godiva's historic ride in Coventry, England, 1040.
Lady Godiva, an 11th-century Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who, according to a legend dating back at least to the 13th century, rode naked, covered only in her long hair, through the streets of Coventry in order to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband on his tenants.
The name "Peeping Tom" to refer to a voyeur originates from later versions of the legend in which a man named Tom watches her ride, against a proclamation for all townspeople to stay indoors and close their shutters, and was struck blind or dead.
Godiva Chocolatier is named after Lady Godiva, and features a stylised rendition of her ride as its logo.
For a companion recipe, the "Naked Lady" cocktail is made from rum, sweet vermouth, brandy, and grenadine.
And for more Lady Godiva art, click the painting of Lady Godiva entreating her husband, Leofric of Mercia to lower the taxes by Edmund Blair Leighton, 1892.