July 10 and 11
Parade of Godiva
Up until the 1960s, the appearance of Lady Godiva, astride her white steed, was part of the procession held during the eight-day day Midsummer Corpus Christi festival. Unfortunately, the rowdy behavior and vulgar humor of the occasion drew Victorian disapproval. The parade was reinstated in 1969 but toned down considerably.
Godiva, Lady of Coventry, was the wife of Earl Leofric and a devout and generous patron of the church. She was considered to be saintly and blessed of God. Godiva begged her husband to free Coventry from tax until, angry at her persistence, he told her that if she rode naked across the crowded marketplace he would grant her request. She agreed but allowed lowed her hair to hang loose so that her whole body was veiled and only her legs exposed. Her husband considered this to be a miracle and lifted the tax.