Godiva, Countess of Mercia in Old English Godgifu, was an English noblewoman who, according to a legend dating at least to the 13th century, rode naked. Shocking scene as lady rides naked in city! So this is not fresh news, but the impact of Lady Godiva's horse riding antics still captures the imagination. The original Lady Godiva was an 11th century noblewoman married to Leofric, the powerful Earl of Mercia and Lord of Coventry. As the story.