Leofric was born in Cornwall but was raised in Lotharingia. He returned to England with Edward the Confessor in 1041. When Edward became king in 1042 he became an important government minister.

In 1046 Leofric was appointed as Bishop of Exeter. He therefore had responsibility for the vast area of Devon and Cornwall. During this period he developed a reputation as a man of good character. He was also a avid book collector and by the time he died in 1072 had acquired a library of over sixty volumes.