“Apud Lotharingos Altus et Doctus”: Leofric of Exeter, 1050-1072
Corradini, Erika (University of Leicester)
The Proceedings of the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies Postgraduate Conference (2005)
The life and activities of Leofric, bishop of Exeter, 1050−1072, have recently been the focus of a substantial amount of critical study that has highlighted the bishop’s importance in the crucial period spanning the Norman Conquest. Leofric’s role in the eleventh-century English Church has too often been obscured by exiguous historical evidence that has caused the reconstruction of his episcopacy to be a difficult task. Unlike his peer and colleague Wulfstan II, bishop of Worcester 1062−1095, whose ‘vita’ has glorified his position within the English church, Leofric does not seem to have been much celebrated after his death.2 This is quite possibly due to the complete absence of a hagiographic ‘vita’ dedicated to him. That Leofric was a positive pastoral figure for his Cathedral may however be deduced from a list written shortly after his death in 1072 that records the goods that Leofric accumulated during his office and that he eventually donated to Exeter Cathedral. This document enumerates the fortune that Leofric acquired during his pontificate in order to restore the resources of a poorly endowed episcopal seat like Exeter that had suffered the plundering of Viking raids in the early years of the century.