A sisterhood instituted in the twelfth century, founded by
Lambert Bégue or Lambert le Bègue. The members of the male society were
called Beghards (q.v. ). The Béguins were at liberty to quit the
cloister, if they chose, and marry. The cap called a beguin was
named from this sisterhood.
“Secta quædam pestifera illorum qui Beguini vulgariter appellantur,
qui se Fratres Pauperes de tertia ordine S. Francisci communiter
nominabant, ex quibus plures fuerunt tanquam hæretici condemnati et
combusti.” —Bernard Guido: Life of John, xxii.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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