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LEOFRIC (d. 1057)

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 442 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LEOFRIC (d. 1057), earl of Mercia, was a son of Leofwine, earl of Mercia, and became earl at some date previous to 1032. Henceforth, being one of the three great earls of the realm, he took a leading part in public affairs. On the death of King Canute in 1035 he supported the claim of his son Harold to the throne against that of Hardicanute; and during the quarrel between Edward the Confessor and Earl Godwine in 1051 he played the part of a mediator. Through his efforts civil war was averted, and in accordance with his advice the settlement of the dispute was referred to the Witan. When he became earl of Mercia his direct rule seems to have been confined to Cheshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and the borders of north Wales, but afterwards he extended the area of his earldom. As Chester was his principal residence and the seat of his government, he is sometimes called earl of Chester. Leofric died at Bromley in Staffordshire on the 31st of August 1057. His wife was Godgifu, famous in legend as Lady Godiva. Both husband and wife were noted as liberal benefactors to the church, among their foundations being the famous Benedictine monastery at Coventry. Leofric's son, JElfgar, succeeded him as earl of Mercia. See E. A. Freeman, The Norman Conquest, vols. i. and ii. (1877).
End of Article: LEOFRIC (d. 1057)
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