THERE is ‘overwhelming’ evidence Manx families can trace their ancestry to Lady Godiva – who, according to legend, rode naked on horseback through Coventry in protest against high taxes.
That’s according to professional writer and historian Robert Hendry, who has published an eBook The Search for Godiva after examining early accounts of the legendary figure.
‘It may surprise you, but unlike the fictitious King Arthur and Robin Hood, Lady Godiva really did exist,’ he said.
‘She was born c1004 and died in 1067, and in her day was renowned for her piety and her beauty.’
Families that ran the Isle of Man from the 1400s to the 1900s included the Stanleys, the Christians of Milntown and Lewaigue, the Corletts of Lezayre, the Stephensons of Balladoole and the Tyldesleys of the Friary.
‘They and the families they intermarried with, which included Norris, Parr, Corrin, Moore, etc, can all trace their ancestry by diverse routes to one common ancestor.
‘Her name was Godgifu. She was born around 1004, or just over 1,000 years ago, and she was phenomenally wealthy as she owned 49 manors spread across England from the Welsh borders to Lincolnshire.’
He said: ‘Her granddaughter Ealdgyth (or Edith) was successively Queen of North Wales, and, after Edith’s husband died in battle, she became Queen of England until her second husband got in the way of an arrow in 1066.
‘She seems to have been unlucky when it came to husbands, did Edith!
‘She had a daughter from her first marriage and she became the wife of one of the Marcher Lords and her descendants included the Braose, de Bohun, FitzAlan, Mortimer, de Ferrers, Lathom, Neville, Percy and Stanley families and the families they married into.
‘Godgifu, her name being a lovely Anglo-Saxon combined name meaning “Gods Gift” and her epitaph was written by a poet laureate, Alfred Lord Tennyson hundreds of years after her death. The name he used is the one we all call her today, Godiva, Countess of Mercia.’
Mr Hendry, who believes he is one of Godiva’s descendents, said he had ploughed his way through ancient records tracing back his family from an initial 17 ancestors. He now has details of every ancestor for 200 years, and in a few cases for 1,000 years.
The Isle of Man had no Anglo-Saxon occupation. From 798AD to 1265AD it was under Viking rule.
The eBook is available at www.smashwords.com.
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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