Scarce have I known of any place or house that was begun in so great poverty, and yet came, in despite of divers hindrances, to so great an increase of prosperity; but Jesus our Saviour Himself began in the deepest poverty, and His lack did make rich Holy Church. This house therefore, poor at first, unknown and hidden, did deserve in process of time to be more widely increased through the blessing of our Father in Heaven, Who doth ever turn His Face toward lowly things, but doth look from afar upon the lofty. For as wealthier persons came and brought their goods into the common stock, the place whose beginning was so poor, and its outward appearance so lowly, grew to be a yet fairer vineyard of the Lord of Sabaoth. For the tillers of the farm and the country folk of the land of Bercem and Nemel, seeing that an house was now builded on the mountain and that devout men had come together there to serve God in humility and simplicity, gave and assigned to them and their successors the aforesaid place in honour of Holy Religion, and that prayers might be offered for them and their friends; which grant they did also confirm in writing to any others whom God Almighty should see fit to associate with them. In regard to this holy gift and this pious request made by consent of the owners of the place, there was but one deed executed relating to the first and original foundation. This is attested by the seals of many honest men, and in it is given a short description of the manner of the Common Life and of the wholesome rule so far as this same was applicable to the conditions of the Brotherhood in the early days. These things were done and finished in the year of the Lord 1386 on the Friday before Palm Sunday, and a year and a half after the death of the aforesaid Master Gerard.
Concerning the names of the first Brothers and their labours.