The earliest Anabaptists of Zurich allowed that the Picardi or Waldensians had, in contrast with Rome and the Reformers, truth on their side, yet did not claim to be in their succession; nor can it be shown that their adult baptism derived from any of the older Baptist sects, which undoubtedly lingered in parts of Europe.
Later on Hermann Schyn claimed descent for the peaceful Baptists from the Waldensians, who certainly, as the records of the Flemish inquisition, collected by P. Fredericq, prove, were wide-spread during the 15th century over north France and Flanders.
Pope Alexander III., who had approved of the poverty of the Waldensians, prohibited them from preaching without the permission of the bishops (1179).
The earliest known document proceeding from the Waldensians is an account of a conference held at Bergamo in 1218 between the Ultramontane and the Lombard divisions, in which the Lombards showed a greater opposition to the recognized priesthood than did their northern brethren.2 As these opinions became more pronounced persecution became more severe, and the breach between the Waldenses and the church widened.
There, in the recesses of Piedmont, where the streams of the Pelice, the Angrogne, the Clusone and others cleave the sides of the Alps into valleys which converge at Susa, a settlement of the Waldensians was made who gave their name to these valleys of the Vaudois.