The Vaudois area of the Alps was a hotbed of Catholic heresy in the 12th century. The Valdenses (Waldenses) were followers of Peter Valdo (Waldo): early Protestants against Catholic ritual and for the purity of the biblical gospel. Both the Dominican order of friars and the Inquisition had been organized to root out this supposed abomination. Inquisitors believed that the heresy was accompanied by the practice of witchcraft, making the religious crime one against both God and nature.
By the 15th century, the Valdenses were no longer a theological threat, having been eliminated, but the connection with witchcraft remained: in the Alps, in the Lyonnais region and in Flanders, witches are called Waudenses and their gatherings are known as Valdesias or Vauderye.