The Carmelites have been present in Bruges ever since the thirteenth century: the Calced Carmelites had a convent in the Carmersstraat. At the prompting of the Spanish Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), however, the reformed order of the Discalced Carmelites was founded, and it was the mystic and religious poet John of the Cross who proposed, as a sign of a more rigorous convent life, that shoes no longer be worn. In 1593 the Discalced Carmelites became an autonomous order and foundations in the (Spanish) Southern Netherlands quickly followed in the early seventeenth century. In Bruges the women´s order was founded in 1626 and the men’s order in 1630. In 1633 the Discalced Carmelites took up residence in a building on the Ezelstraat. The courtyard of Uytkerke, which dates from the fifteenth century, is still integrated into the present-day convent. The Discalced (meaning "unshod") subsequently purchased several adjacent properties and initially renovated the existing buildings there.