In the late Middle Ages, the diocese of Cambrai was large. It extended from the county of Cambrai in the southwest, across a large swath in the central part of modern Belgium, to Antwerp in the northeast. It thus included, in addition to Cambrai itself, the towns of Valenciennes (Nord), Mons, the part of Tournai on the right bank of the Scheldt, and Brussels. A survey in the fifteenth century counted 1,029 parishes, divided into 18 deaneries and 6 archdeaconries. The official, who held court at Cambrai, was assisted by a delegate at Brussels. In 1448, the official at Brussels became an official principal, equal in rank to that at Cambrai. The jurisdiction of the official at Brussels covered the three northern archdeaconries, that of Antwerp, Brussels, and Brabant, roughly corresponding to the Flemish-speaking areas, while the official in Cambrai retained jurisdiction over the three southern archdeaconries, Cambrai, Valenciennes, and Hainault, roughly corresponding to the French-speaking areas.
These officialities have left a collection of registers of sentences, dating from the middle of the fifteenth century. Those from the city of Cambrai bear dates from 1438 to 1453, though there are gaps, while that from Brussels bears dates from 1448 to 1459 and seems to be complete. The sentences thus allow us to see the activity of the officials of Cambrai both before and after the division of the diocese and that of the officials of Brussels just after the division of the diocese.