Written by Ellis Ian Fields
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Thursday, 28 June 2012

image for Peeping Tom 'Not Such A Bad Guy' Say Academics
A medieval thing yesterday.

History boffins are calling for the rehabilitation of a legendary pervert who research suggests wasn't such a bad guy after all.

Peeping Tom has been the nickname for pervert voyeurs ever since the middle ages when, according to legend, he looked at Lady Godiva as she rode naked on horseback through the streets of Coventry.

Godiva is said to have undertaken her nude stunt when her husband, Leofric, said he would lower the taxes on the townsfolk if she did. At the time appointed for the ride, all the townsfolk were told to stay in their homes and shut their doors and windows. Tom decided to watch from his window and was - so the legend goes - struck blind, even though Godiva's luxurious hair was covering her modesty.

But now historians at Hounslow University have uncovered papers that suggest Tom has had rather a bad press down the centuries.

Professor Nefertiti Rewind, head of Medieval Studies, explains: "Poor old Tom - he was just doing what he was told to do by his colleagues. According to papers recently discovered in the back of a pub in Coventry, Tom Peeping was a member of a proto-Marxist sect called Ye Loyal Coventry Brethren And Sisteren Seeking, In Ye Name Of Ye King, Ye Betterment Of Ye Downtrodden Townsfolk And Ye Toiling Peasantry.

"They reckoned that unless someone was there to verify events, Lady Godiva could just say she'd done the ride and no-one would be any the wiser. Tom was chosen because his house was on the route and had an upstairs.

"Furthermore, according to other eyewitness accounts, some drinkers at a local ale house got well-oiled and spilled onto the street for 'a glimpse of ye aristocratic knockers.'"

The whole event was rather a rowdy affair, Prof Rewind says, and quite a few folk watched her ladyship's ride.

"Perhaps we should refer to Peeping Ethelbergs or Peeping Ranulfs - but it's time to mend poor old Tom's reputation."

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