Large landlords are usually represented by ministri, or factors, who direct agricultural operations and manage the estates, but the estate is often let to a middleman, or mercante di campagna.
It consisted, in addition to the king, his sons and other relatives, of the bishops and later some abbots, of some under-kings and the ealdormen of the shires or provinces, and of a number of ministri, or king's thegns.
These ministri were nominees of the king; they included the important members of his household, and their number gradually increased until it outstripped that of all the other members.
966 contained the king's mother, two archbishops, seven bishops, five ealdormen and fifteen ministri; and this is a fair specimen of the usual proportion" (Stubbs, Const.
The terms used for the two classes by Bede are milites (ministri) and comites, for which the Anglo-Saxon version has Pegnas and gesi 5as respectively.