The first mention of the Godiva legend comes from the aforementioned Roger of Wendover, in his chronicle for 1057. According to Wendover's telling, Godiva pleaded with Leofric to ease the burden of taxes, and he, weary with her persistence, agreed...with the caveat that she ride naked through the streets.
As you do!
Why he did this is anyone's guess. I can only assume he felt certain she wouldn't do go through with it and he, therefore, would shut her up without the need to capitulate.
Anyway, that's where Wendover leaves the tale. We don't know whether she did it or not, or, indeed, whether Leofric was jesting and lowered taxes regardless.
But as the story continued to be told, Lady Godiva shook off her embarrassment and horror (bear in mind, she was a very religious woman), and, so great was her compassion for her people, that she agreed.
Telling all of the townspeople to stay in their homes, keeping doors and windows shuttered, she stripped off and mounted her waiting horse.
Of course, there was just one fly in the ointment. Tom: the man who couldn't help himself. Temptation too great, 'peeping Tom' unbarred his window in the hopes of getting an eyeful. However, as the legend goes, he was struck blind before Godiva came into view.
Her side of the bargain complete, she returned to her husband, who agreed to ease the town's burden by ending all tolls except those on horses.
What we do know is accurate is that a subsequent inquiry showed that, during that time, sure enough, there were no tolls...except on horses.
Did Lady Godiva really ride naked through Coventry? My hunch is that she didn't. Was there really a man named Tom who went blind as he tried to catch a glimpse? I doubt it. He was only added to the story in the 17th century.
What is true is that the Godiva legend is still enthralling, and is kept alive and well in Coventry with their annual Godiva Procession, which began in 1678 and continues to this day.