Marie Durand: hell in Constance tower

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Constance tower - ©Ad Meskens / CC-BY-SA Constance tower - ©Ad Meskens / CC-BY-SA
Aigues-Mortes medieval city Medieval city Imprisonment Tragic destiny Marie Durand Wars of Religion

Marie Durand: hell in tower Constance


King of France saint Louis raised the tower Constance, adding it to the city ramparts. Then it became a State jail: they locked here especially Protestants between the 17th c. and the end of the 18th c. Besides, in the 18th century, the tower became a sinister women jail: among the prisoners, we had Marie Durand, a Protestant who spend 38 years locked here…

Because since the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, France forbade Protestantism. Some Protestants all the same still practise their religion in secret, at great risk for their lives… Marie’s mum was arrested after she made a gathering in their house in Ardèche, and her brother Pierre, a pastor, was tracked. In 1730, Marie was 18: she was arrested. Her crime? To be a pastor’s sister. Pierre was hang in Montpellier...

Look at that: Marie engraved this sentence on the stone: Au ciel. Résistez. (″To Heaven. Resist″) Because she never gave up, never abandoned her faith, she was a real support for her companions, despite the cold, the hunger, the seclusion. Finally in 1767 prince of Beauvau, governor of Languedoc, set her free, 8 years before she died...