Thus there arose in the Netherlands the Beguines and Beghards,.
The lay societies of the Beghards and the Beguines (for men and women respectively) date from the end of the 12th century, and soon became extremely popular both in the Low Countries and on the Rhine.
A peculiarly fruitful soil for mysticism, and, in connexion either with the Beguines or the Church organization, a number of women appear about this time, combining a spirit of mystical piety and asceticism with sturdy reformatory zeal directed against the abuses of the time.
In the 15th century a legend arose that both name and organization were traceable to St Begga, daughter of Pippin of Landen, who consequently in 1630 was chosen by the Beguines as the patron saint of their association.
In 1630 a professor of Louvain, Erycius Puteanus (van Putte), published a treatise, De Begginarum apud Belgas instituto et nomine suiragium, in which he produced three documents purporting to date from the i ith and 12th centuries, which seemed conclusively to prove that the Beguines existed long before Lambert le Begue.