On Valentine’s evening, yet, another surprise awaited me on my front porch: neighbors had left a card with a lavender box of Godiva Chocolate Domes—double dark chocolate, at that. It prompted my researching Lady Godiva to separate out fact and legend and to learn why these Brussels chocolatiers named their company after her in 1926. The facts are sparse; the legend, long.

Lady Godiva (1010-1067), a gentlewoman from Anglo-Saxon origins, lived with her husband Leofric III, Earl of Mercia and Lord of Coventry, on their estates with their nine children and numerous servants. The couple, known for their piety and generosity, established and endowed churches and Benedictine monasteries in Coventry, Stow St. Mary, and at five other locations. Jewelers and goldsmiths adorned statues in these places of worship.

The legend of Lady Godiva’s nude horseback ride through Coventry first appeared in the thirteenth century, an adaptation by Roger of Wendover, but later discredited by historians. From then on, wandering storytellers enlarged this scandal until settled into its present form, the poem Godiva, by Alfred Lloyd Tennyson composed in 1842.

What intrigues me is how the nugget of this legend began—perhaps some disgruntled land owner—and took on momentum. Fast-forward to 1926, it caught the imagination of Pierre Draps and he named his business after Lady Godiva’s virtues: boldness, standing up for what is right, and her engaging spirit, qualities to be manifested in his business throughout the world.

Whoever Lady Godiva was, her name reflects the latinized form of the Old English God’s gift, she was someone to be reckoned with. Many still relish Godiva chocolates today. I certainly do, thanks to my neighbors.