The ealdormen of Mercia, Northumbria and, at a later date, Wessex enjoyed considerable administrative authority in the territories which they controlled.
In the cases of Mercia and Northumbria, the primary sources suggest that the local ealdorman acted as the king's regent.
It chronicles what Catholic artists, educators, poets, scientists and men of action have achieved in their several provinces.
In this respect it differs from most other Catholic encyclopedias.
Charters from the Anglo-Saxon period include many names, particularly in witness lists, but rarely specify relationships.